A September Kentucky Derby Party! Part 2

HOW TO IMPRESS WITH YOUR VISUAL DISPLAY

Decor wise, I love the idea of finding old trophies and putting roses in them. Filling julep cups with flowers is always a good idea too. I did that for my July wedding.  You can order Derby party supplies from many companies. Party City has some fun items.    https://www.partycity.com/kentucky-derby-party-supplies

Set up your display a few days ahead of time. That way, you can add more if you need to.  

PARTY FAVORS

This is perfect if you are hosting a Derby themed baby, bridal, wedding or birthday party.  You can get julep cups, purchase mini Woodford Reserve bottles, make a bit of simple syrup (it’s SO easy), paper straws and ribbon. Creative and festive.

Mint Julep Favors

Billie Light Tan Fedora

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HAT

Hat wise, you can go in many directions. Want something casual, wear Billie. This ivory fedora has a white band and gold bridle bit. This handmade hat is classic Kentucky and will go with most everything in your closet. Billie is from our Great Women and Great Hats line.  Named after Jazz legend, Billie Holiday, born Eleanora Fagan in 1915.

 Billie

Mary Navy Hepburn Brim With Green Hydrangeas and White Feathers

Want to be more dressy and go all out? Wear Mary from our Great Women and Great Hats line.  Handmade in our classic Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffanys shape, this hat is a winner. Named after Mary Kies, the first female to get a patent.  She wove silk with straw to make hats.

 Mary

Serena Pink Fascinator with Feathers

Loving the idea of a fascinator? We have many options. Serena is new and from our Great Women and Great Hats line.  We named this handmade one of a kind stunner after the legendary tennis player Serena Williams.  Serena was the former world No. 1 in women’s single tennis. The Women’s Tennis Association ranked Serena Williams world No. 1 eight different times between 2002 and 2017. In total, Williams has been No. 1 for 319 weeks. Serena has also won 23 Grand Slam singles titles, 14 women’s doubles, and 2 in mixed doubles, which is the most by anyone in the Open Era. Williams also represented the United States in the Olympics, and brought home 4 gold medals. 

Serena

 

TRY A HAT CONTEST!

Select an impartial attendee to pick his or her favorite!  Nothing spurs people to dress up more than a contest.  Encourage people to have fun with this. Some people have a hat parade. Awards can be for Most Original, Best Couple, Most Winner’s Circle Worthy, etc.  You get the idea.  While this trophy may be a little over the top, you get the idea!  

The most important thing with any party is how your guests feel.  Make them feel:

1. At home

2. Treasured

3. Important

Do those three things and they will remember your party for years. 

Also, take LOTS of pictures!

 

 
     

A September Derby Party? Why not! Part 1

 

Never in a million years would I have thought I would be writing about a Kentucky Derby in September! But the world is full of surprises and things like our present situation force us to think outside the hatbox! 🙂

The Kentucky Derby this year will be run on September 5th, which is Labor Weekend, with limited attendance. What I would suggest is host a blow out Kentucky Derby party at home! We still have many things to celebrate. Getting good friends together is always a win/win. The past year has been extremely challenging for most. Let’s do what we can to lift spirits and make people smile!  

I love to pull out the silver mint julep cups, whether it’s for mint juleps or floral arrangements.  Always a classic!  You can do something simple or go all out.

 

REASONS FOR A KENTUCKY DERBY PARTY

Over the years, many have decided to do bridal showers, birthday parties, galas, teas, baby showers and even weddings with a Kentucky Derby party theme. What’s not to love? Roses, silver, friends, horses and more.  There are endless ways to celebrate.  You can request that your guests dress up or dress down.  You can have a simple spread or do something more lavish.   I love the idea of the gold frame (shown on the left) with a chalk board background.  

 

WANTING TO RAISE MONEY FOR A GOOD CAUSE WHILE YOU CELEBRATE?

Feeling charitable? Maybe do a fundraiser for a charity. Each person who bets can put $10 in the hat.  Instead of the betting pool going to one person, donate the proceeds to charity.  If 15 horses run, that’s a quick way to raise $150 for your favorite charity. Most non-profits have been unable to host events this year and many are struggling.  I like Central Kentucky Riding for Hope.  https://www.ckrh.org/

Another good non profit is Kentucky Equine Adoption Center.  They rescue, rehabilitate and adopt out all breeds. https://www.kyeac.org/

THE GOOD STUFF…WHAT TO SERVE

Food wise, I would stick with Derby favorites. Hot Browns are a must as well as pimento cheese sandwiches, Derby pie, a delicious cheese platter and cheddar chive biscuits with ham is always a favorite.  I came across a recipe for Pimento Cheese Grits, which combine two very Southern foods into one creamy dish.  It’s a Bobby Flay recipe as well.  https://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/pimento-cheese-grits

Drink wise, there is the classic mint julep. However, many people that I know do not prefer them. The Oaks Lilly is a popular alternative. https://www.southernkitchen.com/recipes/drink/oaks-lily-cocktail

You can do wine or prosecco. Of course, sweet tea with Kentucky mint is a must!

 

Isabelle’s Fascinator

Catherine Red Crinoline Black Base Fascinator

Hello! My name is Isabelle Finley. I am an intern with Polly Singer Couture Hats, and have been since January. I am a Senior in the Apparel Design and Merchandising major at Eastern Kentucky University. My internship has been a wonderful experience, and I have truly learned so much about merchandising, marketing, and most recently, hat design! Polly Singer, the owner and designer for Polly Singer Couture Hats gave me the opportunity to not only design but create a fascinator. I was so excited about this opportunity, and quickly began planning out my design. Polly gave me the option between using crinoline or felt for the fascinator. While I liked the look of felt, it had more of a Fall feel to it, so I chose red crinoline.

I had watched Polly work with hats countless times, and I always admired how skillfully she was able to manipulate materials to achieve her desired design. Someone who is as skilled and talented as Polly makes the art of millinery look easy. I am here to tell you that it is not! It requires a great deal of time and patience to create hats and fascinators. I had such a difficult time trying to bend and play with the crinoline. I quickly learned why some hats are one-of-a-kind. It is impossible to accurately replicate a design no matter how much one tries.

 

I chose Catherine the Great as my inspiration. Catherine the Great was the Empress of Russia from 1762 to 1796. Catherine the Great is the longest ruling female in Russian history. I chose red for the fascinator because it represented power, and Catherine the Great was very powerful. 

First off, I gathered all my materials. I got my pins, thread, scissors, and everything I knew I would be needing. After cutting the amount of crinoline that I needed, I pinned my base to the mannequin head that I was using to drape my materials. Then, I wrapped the ends of my crinoline with matching red thread so that it would not fray. Crinoline has a tendency to fray, so I tried to minimize this issue as much as possible. I then began to drape the crinoline on my black sinamay base. I went into this project thinking that I would be able to come up with a design in my head in the moment and create an absolute masterpiece. Little did I know that this was not how it would go at all. Sometimes inspiration is not flowing. I took some time away from my fascinator to see if I would get any ideas. When I came back, I turned some music on, and inspiration struck! I was completely in the design zone, and I had such a fun time draping the materials. I pulled the thread on the side of the crinoline and gathered it to achieve a cloud like look. I pinned this piece on top of the base. Then, I began looping and folding a separate piece of crinoline to create a fun, whimsical design on the top. I would pin each loop to make sure that nothing moved until I was able to sew everything. Perhaps I am guilty of over-pinning, but one can never be too safe. I put a vintage looking button on the fascinator to add some extra glamor and sparkle to the hat. It completely changed the look for the better. After hours and hours of work, I was finally finished. I wanted my fascinator to be a fun statement, but to also appear soft and wearable.

I was thrilled with my design, and I was looking so forward to showing Polly what I came up with. The night before I was supposed to bring my fascinator to Georgetown, I saw a little section of the fascinator that needed fixing. When I went to go fix the fascinator, the crinoline messed up, and I had to completely redo everything. It was around 11:00 pm at this point. One can imagine the type of stress that I was under, but pressure makes diamonds, right? I stayed up far too late that night to get everything fixed, and woke up early the next morning. I live very far from Georgetown, so it is a long drive every week. I sewed the fascinator and made sure that it was sturdy and well put together. Polly was there for guidance and assistance when needed, and I really appreciated this. After I got everything sewn, I chose a black headband for the fascinator to go on.

Catherine Red Crinoline Black Base Fascinator   Catherine Red Crinoline Black Sinamay Base

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.

 

 

 

   

Sustainability in the Hat World – Being A Good Corporate Citizen

Sustainability is the new buzzword.  Everywhere I turn, I read about sustainable practices in business, fashion, etc.   

I am proud to announce that Polly Singer Couture Hats has always used ethical practices in our business dealings.  Lessening the environment impact where we can has long been our goal.  In 2014, I decided to run for City Council in order to implement curbside recycling in my community.  Georgetown is the fastest growing city in the state of Kentucky, yet we do not have curbside recycling. Most recyclable materials such as glass, paper, metal, and plastic ends up in the landfill. Having lived in other communities such as New York City where recycling is practically a religion, this really bothered me.  Being an elected official is a sacrifice because you lose time with your family, it takes focus away from your business and quite often, you make people mad who don’t agree with you.  It’s no fun to have people turn their heads the other way when you walk by!  Curbside recycling is around the corner for Georgetown, so it will be worth it in the end.  I am in my third term on the Georgetown City Council. We run for re-election every two years.

Why did I go into that story? It is tell you that I practice what I preach and about my passion for environmental causes.  

Other ethical practices include:

  • Fabrics – We source local fabrics when at all possible.  This is done to help local businesses as well as lessen the impact of shipping and burning carbon fuels.
  • Wool felt – We have switched to using wool felt only for our new winter hats.  Wool is hard wearing and suitable for every day wear. It is made from sheep’s wool without harm to the animals.  Wool is a natural and biodegradable fiber.
  • Straw – We buy most of our straw from American companies.  Our panama straw, parisisal and sinamay are made by small producers paid living wages. 
  • Recyclable materials – Our hat boxes are made from paper and our ribbon from cotton.  Our flowers are made from natural fabrics.
  • Biodegradable – Everything on our hats breaks down naturally over time.  There is nothing synthetic used in the production of our hats.
  • Feathers – We use only feathers from game birds, water birds and do not use exotic feathers. 
  • Stock – We do not produce huge quantities of stock.  This is done in order to minimize waste.  We have been known to take apart hats that did not sell, re-trim them and give them second lives.  Nothing goes to a landfill.
  • Hat Boxes – Our hat boxes are custom made by a company in Massachusetts.  The boxes are recyclable, re-usable and biodegradable. 
  • Packaging – Our shipping boxes are made from recycled materials and we use brown packing paper instead of peanuts or plastic bubbles.  

 

 

 

Pantone’s 2019 Living Coral

Emily Coral Feather Fascinator

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is always the time of year that I love, designing for the spring.   The hardest thing for me is not coming with new ideas, but having to edit my designs.  And of course, I love working with new colors.  I thought this chart was interesting in that it highlights the various feelings that color invokes.

 

Psychology of Color

Psychology of Color

 

I love working with color.  Anyone who has visited my house will tell you that it is filled with color.  Each room has a distinct color, whether it is a warm creamy yellow, warm terra cotta to soft ameythst upstairs.  I always enjoy the psychology of color too.  My design room went to from a blue/gray to Sherwin Williams Youthful Coral.

 

Youthful Coral
Youthful Coral

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have so much more energy now.  Color is so important with our feelings.  Can’t wait to finish the new hats!

 

A Look Back at the Fashion on Show at the Grand National 2015

The Grand National at Liverpool’s Aintree Racecourse is one of the greatest and most highly anticipated sporting events in Britain. It’s the biggest horse racing event in the world, garnering millions of viewers every year in the UK according to Oye! Times. The races are thrilling, but what truly makes the event a spectacle is the fashion statements showcased by the guests lucky enough to score tickets to the live action.

This year, Many Clouds won the race which was jockey Leighton Aspell’s second consecutive win as reported by Betfair, although eyes weren’t only on the horses during the proceedings. Many people photographed fashion-conscious women donning some of the boldest hats the event has ever seen. The race is always a good excuse to get dressed up, and for some, it’s the only opportunity they get to wear their bright, striking accessories each year.

During Ladies Day, women really brought their A-game and arrived in classy outfits topped off with their most impressionable head pieces, from retro glam hats to the more unconventional headwear. The hats were unique, with some being flirty and feminine, while others, quite daring.

Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable hats from the event.

Image courtesy of express.co.uk
Image courtesy of express.co.uk

 

A female race-goer opts for a complete rainbow getup as she accessorizes her colorful mesh-hemmed dress with mismatching shoes, gloves, a green clutch, blue scarf, and a rainbow mesh head-piece in the shape of a pompom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of mirror.co.uk
Image courtesy of mirror.co.uk

 

A group of friends take a selfie to capture the different designs on their floral hats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of mirror.co.uk
Image courtesy of mirror.co.uk

 

A woman stuns fellow race-goers with her brightly colored hat composed of real flowers, embellished with feathers and embroidered fabrics and materials.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image courtesy of liverpoolecho.co.uk
Image courtesy of liverpoolecho.co.uk

 

Floral was definitely a recurring motif at the event as one of the ladies wore a hat that had a playful take on a bouquet of flowers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Courtesy of http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk
Image Courtesy of http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk

 

Despite the popularity of flowers on women’s headgear at this year’s event, some guests believed feathers were the classier choice.

Pantone 2015

2015 Spring Pantone Colors
2015 Spring Pantone Colors

Each season, Pantone releases colors that will appear in clothing designs and accessories.  The colors shown above are for Spring 2015. 

My personal favorites are the Glacier Gray and Tangerine.  We have seen the classic blue for awhile.

How does this all relate to picking your hat? 

A safe general bet is to choose a neutral base color and then add the pops of color.  As many of you know, everything is sewn on by hand, so hats can be retrimmed later on.

Below are some hats that would work well with the Spring 2015 color palette.

Estee
Estee
Samantha's Tropicana
Samantha’s Tropicana
Isabel
Isabel