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.

 

 

 

   

Polly’s Derby Party Tips…Part 1

 

 

 

The Kentucky Derby this year will be run on May 1st 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 few years have been extremely challenging for all. 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

 

 

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

Headley-Whitney Stitching Art Exhibit

stitching art

I was excited to be selected to have my work in the Stitching Art exhibit at the Lexington’s Headley-Whitney Museum. The show opens on March 23rd. Featured in the above photo is Simone, a sculpted fur felt fascinator with curved peacock feathers.

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The hat above is called Matisse. I designed Matisse in 1996, while studying at F.I.T. in New York. I was given the subject Matisse and asked to design a hat around that theme. In 2003, the hat won best of show at the T.L.D. Design Center in Chicago. I absolutely adore the outfit the hat is paired with. The dress is a very intricate design by Monica Magdangal. All photography by Anna Esposito.

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Hats, Horses and Hope….Hats that benefit the Kentucky Equine Humane Center

I have always been an “animal” person. Growing up in Kentucky, I always loved seeing the horses in their fields as I drove along the road. After spending five years volunteering in animal rescue for a local humane society, I wanted to help unwanted and abused horses in some way.

Not long after that, I received a letter from the Kentucky Equine Humane Center. Having worked with them a few years ago, I thought about working with them again. I designed a hat for the Breeders Cup, which did quite well in a silent auction. I drove down to their farm just outside of Nicholasville and fell in love.

Executive Director Karen Gustin showed me around the facility. Immediately, I fell in love with the horses at KYEHC and wanted to help. Karen and I discussed ways to help. What was born of that discussion was the Hats, Horses and Hope line that will benefit the KYECH. 15% of the sale price goes directly to KYEHC.

The Joey hat
The Joey hat

The first hat of the series that sold was Joey. Oddly enough, Joey was the horse at KYEHC that immediately stole my heart. The victim of abuse, he had a severe case of rain rot, more parasites than the vets had ever seen, two puncture wounds and a right eye that had to be removed. Joey is a strong 2 year old and making progress daily.

Joey on arrival to KYEHC
Joey on arrival to KYEHC
Joey After
Joey After