Polly’s Kentucky Derby Party Tips, 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!

 

 
     

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

 

 

Amalfi Coast Inspired Hats

The Amalfi Coast was a destination I was fortunate enough to be able to go to a few years ago. It is found in the south-eastern part of Italy, just below Naples. It is a gorgeous place to visit and somewhere I would recommend for anyone to check out if they ever visit Italy. I was dumbfounded by the beauty found here and became inspired to create my Amalfi Coast-inspired Spring Collection. I want to share a taste of what the Amalfi Coast holds in this post with you. 

Amalfi Coast
Amalfi Coast

Traveling to Italy

If you are planning on visiting the Amalfi Coast, as well as some other beautiful destinations in Italy. I highly recommend seeing the following cities too: 

  • Rome (Colosseum, Sistine Chapel, Roman Forum, Pantheon, St. Peter’s Basilica, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps & more), 
  • Florence (Piazza del Duomo, Uffizi Gallery, Ponte Vecchio, David of Michelangelo & more), 
  • Milan (Duomo di Milano, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II & more), 
  • Venice (Doge’s Palace, St. Mark’s Square, Saint Mark’s Basilica, & of course ride on a gondola). 

The Amalfi Coast has Sirenuses (small islands), Path of Gods, Arienzo Beach, Lido One Fire Beach, and I also recommend renting a boat ride for the afternoon! Nothing like seeing the beautiful coast from the sea’s perspective. There are so many more sites to see it’s hard to name them all!

The best way to travel around Italy is by car rental, bus or train – we traveled by train mostly. We did rent a car to drive from Florence to Tuscany. Italy drivers do drive as scary as they do in the movies and there aren’t always going to be lines on the roads (there are cobblestone streets), therefore, be prepared if you choose to rent as well. People walking around in the cities (like crossing the streets) do get hit by cars quite often, so if you travel here please be careful and aware of your surroundings at all times!

Italy Stock Photo

The Amalfi Coast

Stretching over the course of 25 miles, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Italy. This coast holds 13 municipalities (which is a town or city that has its own government basically) and each having its own attractions for tourists to check out, according to Wikipedia. 

As you can see from my photos, this beautiful place is full of inspiration – the water, sky, buildings, people, and the overall culture. 

 

My Amalfi Coast Spring Hat Collection

As you can see the Amalfi Coast is full of artistic inspiration, furthermore, it is hard to visit the Amalfi Coast and not feel inspired at all. My spring hat collection “Amalfi Coast” was made to stand out in the crowd but provide a nice feminine charm. These handcrafted hats are very beautiful and would be a great addition to any outfit for many different occasions. 

If you would like to purchase one of these hats today, here are the links below to check them out more closely! Just click on the picture below to be redirected.  

Aurora Light Pink Hat Mia Cream Light Pink Fascinator Bianca Yellow White and Blue Fasinator Elena Tan Audrey Hat Sirena Tan Sculpted Fascinator

Throwing an Easter Tea Party for Little Ones…

I don’t know about you but Easter has always been my favorite time.  It’s all about family, rebirth and renewal.  The world is waking up after a cold winter (at least where I lived in Central Kentucky).  I loved dyeing Easter eggs, decorating and making Bunny cakes.  However, I never partook of an Easter Tea Party!  We were too busy shopping for our Easter outfits, dyeing eggs and playing outside.  

 

 

I was interviewed by Christine Chagaris for Motherly about tea parties for little ones.  I must admit while I have many tea parties for adults, this was my first time planning a tea party for children.  The ideas came fast and furious because there are so many options.  I know many children who love to help cook and create.  As a child, I loved to bake and still do.  To read Christine’s article, visit the link below.  https://www.mother.ly/nourish/easter-tea-party-menu 

There are endless themes one can use. Teas can be outdoor (weather permitting) or indoor.  I love the use of herbal teas for kids since they are often fruity, don’t have caffeine and are bright/colorful.  Celestial Seasonings teas such Red Zinger, Raspberry Zinger, and Herbal Peach are good choices and can be purchased at most grocery stores.  

 

I love the use of Peter Rabbit decor in this photo.  So much can be easily ordered online.  The important thing is to have fun, create memories and take lots of photos.  Read the article for more information https://www.mother.ly/nourish/easter-tea-party-menu

I was recently certified as an Afternoon Tea Expert by the Southern California School of Etiquette.   This will be an exciting addition to the programs that I already offer.  Since November, I have done an online event called “Tea With Polly”.  

 

Fall in Love with Fall Hats

By: Shelby Parrott

The leaves are changing, the pumpkin spice coffee is being poured, and the Halloween decoration are being put up. Which can only mean one thing…it’s Fall! Autumn is my favorite season. Everything just feels so cozy and the weather is just the right amount of cool before the true cold of winter hits. Another reason Fall is the best time of the year is, of course, the fashion! Fall fashion is cute, soft, and warm with beautiful colors. So, here are some lovely Polly Singer originals that will be perfect to add to your fall wardrobe! 

Clare Red Wool Cloche

This is the Clare Red Wool Cloche. Adding a cloche style hat to your wardrobe is essential for any vintage fashion lover. Popularized in the 1920s, the cloche sits close to the head and nicely frames the face. (Not to mention will cover your ears to help keep them warm on colder days!) 

The black band makes it go perfectly with any black outfit (because any all black outfit will never go out of style!) and with this pop of red to add to it will surly help you stand out amongst the crowd! 

This hat will also look stunning with a number of fall outfits which makes it perfect for your wardrobe! 

 

Fina Fall Cheetah Print cloche

This is the Fina Cheetah Print Cloche. According to Vogue, cheetah print is IN this fall season! I’ve been seeing cheetah print everywhere in stores so adding something cheetah printed to your wardrobe is a must for this season! 

Fina would look lovely paired with navy, brown, or black. Just like Clare is a fine pop of color, Fina is a fun yet not too bold print to add to your collection. 

Edith Maroon Fedora with Feathers

This is the Edith Maroon Fedora with Feathers. Inspired by famous engineer Edith Clark, this hat is for sure to be a crowd pleaser wherever you go! The rich maroon colors with the pops of green and blue in the peacock feathers will make anyone shine while wearing this hat! 

Edith is the perfect fall look to pair with any black, brown or mustard yellow outfit. Would look lovely dressed up or down! 

 

IMG_7130

This is the lovely Autumn Brown Wool Fedora. This honey brown flexible brim fedora is perfect for any look. It can be dressed up with a nice dress and coat, or dressed down with jeans and boots. That’s what makes this hat so perfect because it can go with so many different outfits. 

Not to mention this Autumn style of hat also comes in five other colors. Cornflower blue, red, light pink, navy, and a lighter tan brown. Which means even more outfits to chose from with the Autumn hat! Meaning this hat is the ultimate must have for any hat lover. 

Christy Blue Upturned Hat

This is the Christy Blue Upturned Hat from Polly’s Downton Abby inspired collection. When most people think of traditional fall colors they think of oranges, browns, maroons, browns, and blacks. While all of those colors are classics and beautiful, why not stand out from the crowd with a lovely pop of this royal blue? 

Sometimes it is fun to mix it up with some fun colors and this hat will definitely help you do that! This hat would look lovely with any black, brown, or white outfit. 

   

How to Choose a Hat for Your Face Shape

Intern Shelby Parrott here! Shopping can feel intimidating, especially when shopping online.”Will this look good on me? Will it flatter me and my face shape? What even IS my face shape?” Well, no worries! We got you, girl! While, obviously, you can wear whatever hat style you want, sometimes when you’re shopping online for a hat for the first time, it can be nice to have some directions before you go off driving on your own. So, here are ways to determine your face shape and what hats will suit you the best before you hit the “add to my cart” button on a Polly Singer Couture Hat! 😉 

The best way to figure out your face shape it to either take a photo of your face or look in the mirror and with your finger outline the shape of your face. To get the full look it is best to tie your hair back to get your full face in view. You could also whip out the measuring tape if you feel like it, but it is best to just examine your face and facial features. Determining your forehead, cheeks, jaw, and face lengths are the keys to figuring out facial shape. 

And what better way to learn about what hats to wear than from the best hat wearers out there? The Royals!

 
Kate Middleton | POPSUGAR Celebrity   Billie Light Tan Fedora With Bridal Bits
Kate Middleton: Oval Face Shape
 
Lucky you, oval face shapes work with pretty much anything! It is best to not go with anything too round or narrow to the face because sometimes that can make the face look smaller and rounder. Our best suggestion would be a fedora. It’s the perfect in between like the oval face shape! It’s not too wide or too close to the face, not to mention a classic that you can wear season after season. Some things just never go out of style! 
 
 
 
www.gstatic.com/tv/thumb/persons/291403/291403_...   Virginia black cloche
Meghan Markle: Heart Face Shape
 
The heart face shape usually consists of a wider forehead and a pointy chin making the perfect heart-like shape! Heart shape faces also go with many different styles but it is best to stay away from wider brims and floppier hats as they can make the forehead look larger and not flatter the face shape as much. The best would be a hat that is closer to the face or a medium to smaller brim to perfect fit your face. 
 
Our suggestion would be the Virginia Black Cloche Hat.  Perfect for this face shape plus not to mention a lovely vintage inspired look. 
Princess Beatrice celebrates 27th birthday: 10 facts | HELLO!

 

 

 

Sally Honey Brown Profile Wool Hat

Princess Beatrice: Round Face Shape

With round face shapes, it is best to stick with hats that are not close to the face. If the hat sits too close to the forehead or the rest of your face it can just emphasis the roundness. It is best to go with a wider brim and, even better, something that is upturned from the face to give your face height. Or wear your hat slanted back for the same look.

Are suggestion would be the Sally Tan Upturned Hat. It’s wide and upturned brim is perfect for rounder face shapes! Plus it’s a great Fall essential for your wardrobe! 

 

Diana, Princess of Wales - Wikipedia   Isabelle Huge Panama Ladies Sun Hat
Princess Diana: Square Face Shape
 
Square face shapes usually consist of a strong jawline, great high cheekbones and a longer face. With square face shapes, go with a wide floppy style hat. This way it softens the look and contrast greatly with the square jaw line. 
 
We suggest our Isabelle Oversized Sun Hat. Perfect with its wide and floppy brim. Plus not to mention making a fun fashion statement! 
 
 
 

Don’t forget though, wear whatever makes YOU feel good! These are just some guidelines you can follow if you’re feeling unsure. But, of course, how you feel is the most important. 

Happy Shopping! 

Hats Suggestions for Derby 2020

I never thought we would have the Kentucky Derby in September.  We certainly do live in unusual times!

Polly and Husband Keith at Derby Party

What are my suggestions for Derby fashions?  

Well, as you any Kentuckian can tell you, it will be hot and humid.  Probably sunny.  In fact, when I first heard that they were moving the Kentucky Derby to September, my first thought was “Finally, a chance to escape the rain”. As you may know, it has rained on Derby Day in May for the past few years. A sunny day has been rare! When I went in 2009, I had three layers of clothing to stay warm!

There are many ways you can go style wise. 

Pink Feather Saucer Hat

Celebrate Summer’s Last Weekend

This means going all out and wearing your summer outfits for the last time.  Think vibrant pinks and striking blues.  Try Serena, Lucille, Ella, Julia or Simone. 

Serena

Lucille

 

Lucille Pink and White fascinator saucer
Gretchen Red Feather Statement Saucer

 

Don’t forget red.

Nothing says Derby more than stunning reds. After all, it is known as the Run for the Roses!  Red is everywhere!

Gretchen or Catherine are my recommendations if you decide to go the red route.  Simple to coordinate with if you wear a black dress. It even works well with emerald green and navy.

Gretchen

Catherine

Catherine Red Crinoline Black Sinamay Base
Shirley Temple Pink, white and black boater hat

 

Transition to Fall

I love soft pinks for fall.  Paired with navy, gray or ivory, they are so pretty. I have made many fascinators and saucer hats in soft pinks.  Try Serena, Lucille, Harper or even Temple.

Temple

Beryl is a great choice as well. Black and cream with soft pink ribbon trim. This is my patented paisley hatinator.

Beryl

 

 

Beryl Paisley Black and Pink Fascinator
Ada Navy Fascinator with Pink Flower

Navy is always a safe choice. 

Ada, from our Great Women and Great Hats line, is a great choice.  A hand sculpted, straw bespoke fascinator with vibrant pink flowers. 

Ada

Mary, from our GWGH line, has the classic Breakfast at Tiffany’s bell brim. Navy straw with bright green flowers, it is a great transition to fall.

Mary

Mary Kies navy Audrey Hepburn style hat
Suzanne Wine Feather Fascinator

 

 

 

Try a fascinator that will transition into fall

Another option is fall style fascinators like Suzanne, shown with wine hydragenas and pheasant feathers.  

Suzanne

Another option is going for the rich jewel tones of ruby, sapphire and emerald.  Stunning with a black, navy or emerald dress.

Lady Rose

 

 

 

Lady Rose Wine Percher
Billie Light Tan Fedora

A More Casual Route

Not sure how to dress?  Afraid that the Derby won’t be as dressy this year with the restrictions?  Then, I would suggest one of our stylish fedoras trimmed with a gold bridle bit.  A hat like Billie, is a timeless classic. You can wear it many places besides the Kentucky Derby. 

Billie

If you prefer all white, try Helen, named after Helen Keller and part of our Great Women and Great Hats line.

Helen

Helen White Fedora
     

5 Iconic Hats from Films

Costumes make a film and, with the right costume designer, can convey so much about a character to the audience before they even utter a word. It’s not just the clothes on their back that make it either, it all comes from the accessories too, hats included! Every little detail of a character’s wardrobe can tell us so much about them and who they are. Here are 5 of the most iconic hats from movie history! 

One of the most fashionable characters in film history has got to be Holly Golightly from Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The image of Audrey Hepburn standing outside of Tiffany’s in a long black dress decked out in pearls is one of the most iconic scenes in film history and is the definition of the perfect “little black dress”. But nothing beats the wide brimmed black hat with a cream colored silk bow.

The costumes for the film were designed by French fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey looks beautiful in every one. Her elegant wardrobe throughout the film shows how Holly wants to escape her pervious county girl life for the upscale New York life. 

Another one of film’s most fashionable characters hands down has got to be Scarlett O’Hara. The film spans 12 years from 1861 to 1873 and sees Scarlett’s life go through many changes. From privileged young Southern belle, to struggling to feed herself and her family, to fabulously wealthy business woman. Her costumes through the film highlight her struggle and changes in life. From the fluffy white dress in beginning showing her childhood and innocence to her calico dress that she wears through a good course of the film because she has no money, and then the beautiful gowns she wears when she has money from the lumber mill and marriage to rich Rhett Butler. With many of her outfits she wears hats or head pieces that perfectly match with her dresses. 

There are so many to choose from but I have to go with the hat she wears with the iconic green curtain dress. While not necessarily the most outrages of her dresses, it is certainly the most memorable. It was even parodied by comedian Carol Burnett in the 90s on her show. She wears the dress to meet Rhett in jail in Atlanta to get money to save Tara showing how dedicated she is to saving her beloved Tara. 

Does Audrey Hepburn make two appearances on this list? Yes, yes she does. Because she is just that fabulous. But I mean look at this hat! How could it not make the list? The insane hat is from the film My Fair Lady. The movie came out in 1964 and had a budget of 17 million. It was the most expensive film made in the US at the time. Costume designer Cecil Beaton designed more than 1,000 costumes for the film and won the Academy Award for Costume Design. 

This hat is worn by Eliza when she attends the Royal Ascot after her makeover to become a high class society girl. The hat, along with the dress, were auctioned off for $3.7 million dollars! 

Time to show the fashionable men some love! While this is not the most crazy or interesting hat by any means, it certainly has left its mark. Once the first Indiana Jones movie came out many men wanted to sport this iconic brown fedora to be like star Harrison Ford. Indy wears a simple white button down with brown slacks, leather jacket and the hat just makes the look forever memorable. People just see the hat and his whip alone and they will know what character you are talking about even if they haven’t seen the movies. The hat adds to this rugged adventurer look (and it doesn’t hurt that a younger Harrison Ford looks amazing in it).

Designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis designed the costumes for the iconic Steven Spielberg franchise. Though Harrison himself wasn’t in love with the look as he once stated, “whoever decided that Indiana Jones should wear a felt hat and a leather jacket in the jungles should be shot,” While an exaggeration, it’s understandable that the outfit was more than likely not the most comfortable for the actor. But I think designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis knew what she was doing when she designed this iconic wardrobe.  

Last, but most certainly not least, is what I think is the most iconic hat in film history. It goes to the black pointy witch hat worn by the green Wicked Witch of the West in the most iconic film of all time The Wizard of Oz. Designed by Adrian Adolph Greenberg, the Wizard of Oz costumes are remember by people of all ages. While Dorothy’s blue and white checkered dress with the incredible red ruby heels might be the most iconic piece of movie history, the witch hat is a close second.  

The black pointy witch hat has become the staple for any Halloween witch costume. All you have to do is put on the hat and people atomically know what character you’re trying to be. That says so much about the iconic status of the hat! 

   

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!

 

 
     

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