Shelby’s Fascinator

Julia Pink and Blue Fascinator

Hello! My name is Shelby Parrott and I am one of Polly Singer’s interns. I have been since late May for the internship program that my major requires before graduation. I am a senior at Eastern Kentucky University and I major in Apparel Design and Merchandising. My time with Polly Singer Couture Hats has been wonderful and I have learned so much from her! I actually first heard of Polly when she came to a career day conference at our school. We listened to five people who had found success in the fashion industry and they came to give us advice as we approached our senior year. I am, ironically, not a big hat wearer so at first I wasn’t sure how well I would do interning for Polly. But she is so much more than her hats! She is an independent business woman and artist and I truly have learned so much more than I originally anticipated. 

When Polly first suggested the idea of us making our own fascinators I was nervous. The design and sewing aspect of fashion is not really my forte (I’m much more into styling/the marketing side of things) so I was worried that I would not do well. I can sew basic things but I am by no means a seamstress. My mother is incredible at sewing but I guess those skills didn’t pass down to me. I do think of myself as a creative person and an artist as I grew up loving art class and have done many theatre productions, but as anyone in creative field knows, the artist is the most critical of their own art. So I was nervous it would never look as good as anything Polly could make. I think the hardest thing about any sort of art form whether it be hat making, fashion design, painting, etc. is that nothing will ever be “perfect” as I think “perfect” does not exist. All art is art and it’s what you make of it! 

Pink Fascinator

My favorite color is pink so, of course, I went with the pink fascinator base and theme. Polly was kind enough to let us use her supplies. For the first two days that we went over to work on our hats I honestly just spent most of the time just staring at it hoping some vision would come to me. Watching Polly work with the crinoline looked so easy but let me tell you it is not! Obviously, she has been doing this for years and we had never used it before, but it is one tricky sucker. It takes a lot of patience to work with. My mother may not have passed down her incredible sewing skills but one thing she did pass down to me in having little to no patience. When it wouldn’t work the way that I wanted I would just get frustrated. Polly was able to help me get it into this “S” shape and I liked it but there was just something missing. I tired different type of feathers and lace but nothing looked right. 

My mother took me to Hobby Lobby to look for materials that might spark inspiration. My theme of the hat came from the movie Steel Magnolias. The main character, played by Julia Roberts, is named Shelby. She has a close relationship with her mother and as she says in the film, her “signature color” is pink. My mom named me Shelby after this movie and my favorite color is also pink! In the movie Shelby’s mom says that she, “could never leave her Shelby” and my mom always says that to me. So it’s a special movie to me and I wanted to pay homage to it.

At Hobby Lobby we found this beautiful Tiffany blue crinoline that I thought went well with the pink. They also have tons of fake flowers so we found pink magnolia flowers which were just perfect! I decide to make the crinoline into two big bows with the flowers in the middle. I was inspired by the wedding scene in the movie as everything at Shelby’s wedding was the over the top and flowers everywhere. I had to have my mom help me sew on the flowers as they were super hard to work with. I was so nervous in the beginning but once I got started and had my idea I was having so much fun! It really makes me appreciate even more than I did before about what Polly does because it is not as easy as it looks friends! I named the hat “Julia” after Julia Roberts as she played Shelby and I think she’s an incredible actress! 

Julia Pink and Blue FascinatorJulia Pink and Blue Fascinator

I also got to be apart of the photoshoot for our hats too which was amazing! Polly really let me have a say when it came to the photo styling of the hat which was really nice. And Ian, who took the pictures, did an amazing job and the model, Shannon, is beautiful! It’s an amazing feeling seeing something you created finished. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t do well or even like making the hats but it really was an amazing experience. Some time later, my fellow intern, Isabelle, and I went into a coffee shop in Georgetown and we talked with the woman who worked there about how we worked for Polly. She knew her and followed her on Instagram and said, “She just posted one that was pink and blue with flowers. I loved it!” and she was talking about my hat! It was so nice to hear someone say that, made me feel famous! 

It was truly a wonderful experience all around, and I thank Polly for letting us express our own creativity and lending us her tools, knowledge, and time. 

 

Polly’s Vintage Hats

Vintage clothes are always the best and hats are no exception! Here is some historical context behind these incredible vintage pieces! 

This small round cream colored hat is covered in tiny white flowers with flex of yellow-green and purple. This style of hat was called the “pork pie” (or also boater). The style was popular for men and women and is now considered a timeless look. It gets its name after the resemblance to the pork pie which is a traditional English meat pie.

The first known establishment of the pork pie style was sometime during the late 1800s. But it mainly became popular during the 1920s. Many hats of this time were also covered in flowers and flowers were a huge accessory to the hats. The hat style actually became popular in the United States due to silent film star Buster Keaton who worn many of them in his films! The hat went on to go in and out of style and during the 1940s for both men and women. The hat style then became popular in the 1940s within the African American culture usually styled along with the zoot suit! 

 

 

   
     
     
     
This light tan hat has a light pink ribbon tied around it with white Daisy flowers. This style is called a cartwheel hat. This style was popular throughout the 1930s into the 1950s. This style was largely associate with Christian Dior’s “New Look” style. The traditional style consisted of a tight fitting, frame-hugging top and a full skirt with the wide hat. Hats of the 1920s, for example, were smaller and much closer to the face, however, around the late 1930s early 1940s the style began to change to a round and wider shape. The hat size also got wider as women’s hairstyles got bigger.     

Now this style much more 1920s inspired. This cloche style hat can be seen in many different forms during the decades. Felt cloche hats were very common among the women of the 1920s. The cloche style was very popular during the 1920s as it complimented the short bob style haircut that was all the rage of the 1920s. 

 

 

This cute tan hat with a rounded top has a light pink ribbon tied around it. This hat gives an almost bonnet look from the front with the big rounded top. This cloche style hat continued to be popular all throughout the 20th century, but this bonnet inspired look was at its peak of fashion during the 1930s and 1940s.