Hats are curious things. They have been deeply unfashionable for men and women since the mid 1960’s. Now they are relegated to the role of bridal tribal flying saucers or little sticky outey feather fascinators which often seem to have something of the muppet puppet about them. Of course at the high end of fashion they have never departed from the catwalk and have always had a small but passionate fan base; the late Isabella Blow comes to mind.
Wearing a hat versus not wearing a hat is the difference between looking adequate and looking your best. (Martha Sliter)
Hat detractors point to the awkwardness of carrying them around and the difficulty of finding somewhere to put them. It is a chicken and egg situation, when hats disappeared so did hat stands and hooks. If hats were popular again these would reappear, they never went away in truly stylish bars and restaurants. As for the awkwardness, these claims come from the same fashion forward people who drag massive stupid bags around and totter on gladiator heels. I am passionate about hats and in the winter make an effort to wear one, even if it is only a beret. If our inner-city yout can slope about in over-priced baseball caps quite happily all year round it is hard to understand the reluctance elsewhere to don headgear.
If a woman rebels against high heeled shoes, she should take care to do it in a very smart hat. (George Bernard Shaw)
In my opinion hats have wonderful advantages, although they need to suit your face and character they do not rely on diets or the vagaries of fashion and its innate body fascism. Few things will make you look as good, or as different as simply putting on a good hat. Stored they last for decades, they also keep your head dry, warm and hide bad hair. Of course in vintage circles hats have never gone out of fashion but there is a paucity of places to buy them, especially new or bespoke. I have mentioned Lynette in Islington for vintage titfers and Orizu for repro but a new resource for those interested in millinery has appeared in
Lots of lovely hats.
The shop is small and reminds me of a sewing box, large antique display cases hold a variety of trimmings, ribbons and veiling, some of which are vintage (such as ostrich feathers in a range of shades) and/or sourced from abroad. This is particularly useful as new trimmings often don’t match old hats, and vintage hats often need to be repaired or pepped up. Of note to forties buffs are the poppies and pansies made of antique ribbon. A make do and mend staple when old Edwardian dresses were often denuded of their trimmings to produce hat decorations during the war. Atelier offer classes in making these flowers which make equally charming brooches and hair decorations.
Ribbons and hat pins.
It is difficult to learn millinery in
From the vintage point of view the range has plenty of possibilities; I saw a charming small hat in a silvery gold fabric with a fluff of feathers. A million miles away from cheap high street fascinators, it reeked of thirties Jean Harlow in a silky bias dress and
Like any other hand crafted or bespoke item the hats are not particularly cheap but they are good value. Hats are pricey items, but remember they can be re-trimmed and they really are one of those things where cheapness is actually noticeable. Atelier’s hats are comparatively inexpensive. For the vintage-minded Atelier Millinery could be a useful resource, run in a co-operative way by people enthusiastic about their product and therefore deserveing of custom. I suspect they will do well with the Summer wedding/Race going crowd who can get their Treacy quality hats at a snip. However I would encourage vintage types, steampunkesses and others to have a look. It can be a nightmare to match hats to vintage clothes but a well placed hat band and trimming can make all the difference and there are very few places with informed staff who can advise you. If you don’t believe me just try Debenhams!
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