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.  




When in doubt, give a Polly Singer Gift Card!


We all like to feel special.  And we are.  Each of us is one of a kind….so why not have a custom hat or fascinator made for you or someone you love?  Give a Polly Singer Gift Card that can be redeemed for a hat or fascinator. 

Polly Singer Gift Cards never expire.  The beauty of a Gift Card is that you can also let the recipient help design their own hat.  We work closely with each client to design the perfect hat or fascinator.  It’s a fun process and our clients end up with a custom work of art.

Our gift cards can be shipped in one of our stylish hat boxes, shown here.

Polly Singer Gift Cards can be done in any dollar amount. This also makes is perfectly easy for your husband or boyfriend to surprise you in a special way.

Call us at (859) 533-1426 or email

2016 Fashion Trends and Kentucky Derby Hat Ideas

The Kentucky Derby is every woman’s chance to express her inner Southern belle.  A standout Kentucky Derby Hat is the crowning glory of a Southern Belle. The age-old question is “what comes first, the dress or the hat?”  They go together like hugs and kisses.  You generally don’t have one without the other, and there’s a good reason for that. The Kentucky Derby annual horse race’s website provides guidelines and gentle suggestions for women’s attire. You guessed it – hats are included!

For the 2016 Kentucky Derby, we pulled together some fashion suggestions based on current trends, and hats that look fabulous with them.  All dresses are available at


Michael Kors Poppy Print Sheath Dress
Michael Kors Poppy Print Sheath Dress


Red and black always mesh together well. Since they are such strong colors, I would avoid adding many other colors.  Red is strength, so be proud and work it! The “Ellie” fascinator hat looks fantastic with black, and adds a beautiful accent.

You can find this and all the hats below in our Kentucky Derby Hat section.


Herve Leger "Eliana"
Herve Leger “Eliana”


This Herve Leger “Eliana” is a very sexy dress.  I love the draping and the lines.   In fact, it is probably one of the best dresses I have seen in a very long time.  (Hide the credit card!)  Megan, a fashionable fascinator,  would be perfect, fun, and adds flirtatious flare to this gorgeous dress.


Etro Floral Print V Neck Dress
Etro Floral Print V Neck Dress
Holly 2016
Holly 2016






I love this Etro dress, and the bright colors, it is perfect for spring and summer.  With that said, it is a challenge to pick a hat for it.  In this case. go simple; our “Holly” which can be found in our Kentucky Derby section, is an ivory hat with black trim that would look fantastic with this dress.  The big bow is romantic and does not take away from the drama of this dress, but rather enhances it.


Armani Godet Wool Dress
Armani Godet Wool Dress


Next is a confession. I absolutely covet this Armani Godet dress.  It flows well, and has beautiful movement. It’s current with the trends while being classic.  This Armani dress would work with almost any hat or fascinator.  For this dress, I chose “Constance” since the floral pattern of Constance would work with the solid, and give the dress a bit of a kick. Do you love it?


Michael Kors Double Face Stretch Silk Fit and Flare Dress
Michael Kors Double Face Stretch Silk Fit and Flare Dress



I love the idea of this romantic Kentucky Derby hat with this gorgeous Michael Kors dress. It would be stunning at the Derby!  This style of dress is easy to coordinate a hat with, and honestly, almost any hat on my website would work.  This hat is “Karenna“.

I hope these ideas have helped, and given you some idea of how to match a hat with this year’s fashion trends, especially as we near one of my favorite events, and I will bet you can guess what that is.  Any questions, please contact me and we will help you pick out your special hat, or create a gorgeous custom hat exclusively for you.

But hurry! The Derby is just around the corner! 

Contact us now to design a beautiful Kentucky Derby Hat for you. 





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
Image courtesy of


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
Image courtesy of


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









Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of


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
Image courtesy of


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
Image Courtesy of


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

Belmont Hats?

Yes, I do many ladies hats for the Belmont.  More and more, ladies are wearing hats to the Belmont.  The fact that there is the chance of American Pharoah winning the Triple Crown ratchets up the stakes even more!

In the past, ladies have sent me a photo of their dress and then I have designed the hat around that.  It’s always fun to see them in their hats on t.v. 

I don’t know why, but I have tended to Belmont hats in blue.  Having been a former New York, it’s odd that Belmont is the one track that I have not been to.  I’ve attended the Derby and Preakness. 

This year, I am working on a fascinator and saucer hat for the Belmont.  It will prove to be an exciting race to watch, to say the least.


Christina Olivares at the Belmont
Christina Olivares at the Belmont

Sierra Exif JPEG


The Belmont Stakes is traditionally called “The Test of the Champion” or “The Run for the Carnations” because the winning horse is draped with a blanket of white carnations after the race, in similar fashion to the blanket of roses and black-eyed susans for the Derby and Preakness, respectively. The winning owner is ceremonially presented with the silver winner’s trophy, designed by Paulding Farnham for Tiffany and Co. It was first presented to August Belmont, Jr. in 1896 and donated by the Belmont family for annual presentation in 1926.

Despite the fact that the Belmont Stakes is the oldest of the Triple Crown races, its traditions have been more subject to change. Until 1996, the post parade song was “The Sidewalks of New York“. From 1997 to 2009, the song was changed to broadcast a recording by Frank Sinatra of the “Theme from New York, New York” in an attempt to appeal to younger fans.[5] In 2010, the song was changed to Jay-Z‘s “Empire State of Mind[6] before reverting to “Theme from New York, New York” from 2011[7] through the present. This tradition is similar to the singing of the state song at the post parades of the first two Triple Crown races: “My Old Kentucky Home” at the Kentucky Derby and “Maryland, My Maryland” at the Preakness Stakes.[2] The change of song gave rise to “the myth of Mamie O’Rourke,” a reference to a character in the lyrics of “The Sidewalks of New York.” Some claim that changing the official Belmont song “cursed” the Triple Crown and was why no horse had won since Affirmed in 1978. Others note that there was no Triple Crown winner between 1979 and 1996, even though “Sidewalks” was still played.[8]

Along with the change of song in 1997, the official drink was also changed, from the “White Carnation” to the “Belmont Breeze.”[9] The New York Times reviewed both cocktails unfavorably, calling the Belmont Breeze “a significant improvement over the nigh undrinkable White Carnation” despite the fact that it “tastes like a refined trashcan punch.”[10]

While the origin of the white carnation as the official flower of the Belmont Stakes is unknown, traditionally, pure white carnations stand for love and luck. It takes approximately 700 “select” carnations imported from Colombia to create the 40-pound blanket draped over the winner of the Belmont Stakes. The NYRA has long used The Pennock Company, a wholesale florist based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to import the carnations used for the mantle.[11]

Feature Article in Hat Talk

Polly SingerPolly Singer2














Polly Singer3Polly Singer4











I was more than pleased and delighted to be featured in Hat Talk.  It is an international hat magazine that features milliners from all over the world.

The hats featured in this article were blocked on wooden hat blocks made from Guy Morse Brown Hat blocks.  The raw straw is stretched and sized over the blocks.  After drying, the material is steamed, pressed and then the hat is taken off the block with even more steps.



Hats vs. Fascinators – What is your pick?


Hats vs. Fascinators

Picking a hat vs. a fascinator

Fascinator Pros

1. They are smaller and some say easier to wear as they are worn on a headband or comb. Definitely easier to pack for an event.
2. If they get wet, generally fascinators don’t get ruined.
3. Generally less expensive to purchase.
4. Fun, flirty and a different alternative to hats.
5. No worry about the hat not fitting (too loose or too tight) as fascinators are mostly one size fits all.

Fascinator Cons

1. No sun protection.
2. Not as much privacy and personal space as a big brim allows.
3. Not as slimming as a wide brim hat.

Hat Pros
1. Obviously more sun protection.
2. The traditional style of millinery at events.
3. More drama generally, especially the bigger hats.
4. Since hats are wider, they can make us look thinner, thus balancing out the figure more.
5. A properly made hat can be retrimmed, thus giving you more options down the road.




Hat Cons
1. If a hat gets really wet, it’s ruined.
2. Generally more expensive than a fascinator since it takes longer to make and supplies are more expensive.
3. A bigger hat box needs more room in the closet.
4. Fit is key. A hat can be off by a 1/4 or 1/2 inch and be too small.

Even though I love fascinators, I think I look better in hats but that’s just my opinion. Perhaps I like being covered up and being a bit hidden from view. The most important thing is feeling confident. I have seen women go nuts over fascinators because they are just fun to wear, which is the most important thing. Many clients for the Oaks and Derby wore a fascinator one day and a huge hat the next. Mix it up and have fun.

Custom Ladies Hats for the Kentucky Derby

Custom Elegant hat to match dress in 2014
Hat was designed for this dress.

Custom ladies hats for the Kentucky Derby.  About 25% of the ladies hats that I do are custom.  Many Kentucky Derby clients will request this as they want that unique look for Derby Day.   A custom hat can range anywhere from changing out the trim (flower or feather) on one of the existing hats on the website to designing an entirely new hat.  Often times, the client will email or actually mail their dress to me.  I will then design two or three different versions of the hat or fascinator. I will email them the photos.  Depending on the direction that the custom design is going, a decision will be made and the hat/fascinator done. 

Hat for Derby 2014 to match necklace.
Hat for Derby 2014 to match necklace.
Custom Hat to complement dress
Hat was designed to pull in the colors on this dress.












As you can see, there is so much that can be done to pull the dress together with the hat.   I have designed hats around jewelry, shoes, almost anything.




Derby hat done to complement necklace.
Derby hat done to complement necklace.
Love the colors on this custom hat.
Love the colors on this custom hat.












The good thing about my hats is that everything is sewn on by hand.   Often times, I will take the existing trim off and sew on new flowers or feathers, creating an entirely different look.  Buying a hat is an investment, so I like to give my clients many options for later use.


February is Custom Hat month.  Customization fees are $50/hour but this month the fee is waived.