When daffodils begin to sprout and azaleas begin to bloom, spring is close. Another sign is the arrival of wholesale dress hats for spring. Actually, this is far more exciting to fashion retailers than the flowers blooming because new spring hats in their shops create a buying frenzy that rings the cash register. This year won’t disappoint with a fabulous lineup of new styles in spring dress hats.
Number one in popularity is organza hats. This is our third year of carrying organza in dress hats and the first two years they were the first to sell out, so when budgeting for millinery include organzas first. They may be new to many retailers so the question arise—what exactly is organza?
Originally organza was silk product. The weave used silk yarn with a high luster, producing fabric with a sheen that was almost iridescent. Today it is produced with nylon at a more affordable price while still retaining the high luster. Hats in organza normally have wired brims to help hold the shape.
Organza headwear offered a new medium for dress hats that immediately attracted women shopping for dress hats. This season organza hats borrow new shapes already proving successful in polypropylene dress hats—shapes with squared crowns that angle down as well as the forever popular widebrim that turns down. Retailers should consider organza hats first when stocking because they sell out quick. Then they can depth to their selection with polypropylenes and sinamays on their following purchases.
POLYPROPYLENE DRESS HATS
Polypropylene dress hats are the traditional look for church hats. The material has narrow braided strips that are sewn together in a continuous fashion to create the hat shape. Straws use the same procedure and are referred to as sewn-and-braid.
Most renowned for this process were hats from Milan Italy called Milan straws. Actually, the word for milliner derives from Milan. The wonderful feature about polypropylenes is not only a host of shapes, but endless colors.
This season new shapes include high crowns with short downturned brims. The top of the crown is squared and angles down to one side. It has a telescope crease like men’s fedoras and lavish trim completes the look. Polypropylenes are a must in a dress hat line geared towards church ladies.
In addition to trimmed hats, milliners can also buy untrimmed polypropylene hats to craft their own creations. The number of styles available to milliners has really expanded in the last few years so now they can be very original in pleasing all the different personalities in their customer base.
Perhaps the most elegant of the untrimmed hats offered is the widebrim hat with alternating rows of polypropylene and horsehair in the brim. This is the utmost classy hat for outdoor weddings, teas, and luncheons.
To make the milliner’s job easier, many pre-sewn hat trims are available to mix and match with hat shapes for endless combinations. Most are satin decorations that also include the band. The band and decoration hot glue to the hat for custom headwear that goes together very easily.
Sinamay dress hats have a sophistication that shows up at royal weddings and classic events like the Kentucky Derby. This headwear is a favorite as church hats as well.
What is sinamay? The fabric that makes the hat is an open weave using fiber that was originally obtained from a species of banana trees found in the Philippines. How did it become a medium for milliners? HATalk gives a possible answer that they say is unsubstantiated. A woman passing a flower display everyday noticed the sinamay ribbon tying flowers together. She obtained some and had good luck with blocking the material, possibly opening the way to sinamay hats. Regardless, the introduction of sinamay hats seems to date around the late 1980s.
Today sinamays rank with the most elegant summer hats—a favorite even of Queen Elizabeth. Innovation this year includes widebrims with a gentle wave to the brim, providing design that is somewhat unconventional.
In addition, the high crown shape that is growing in popularity in all dress hats regardless of material, can be found in sinamay also. This style is straight-sided with a flat crown that angles to one side and has a short rolled down brim—a hit in sinamay as it is in all materials for dress hats.
SATIN BRAID DRESS HATS
Satin braids are the Cadillac of dressy hats. They have a silky appearance with ribbed texture. Satin cord-like material is continuously sewed to create the hat styles. While the finished product is gorgeous, but they are not the fastest selling dress hats because they are also the most expensive.
Easter is the biggest day of the year for dress hats. Actually, Easter hats and church hats are synonymous because, for the most part, church is where these dressy hats are worn on Easter morning.
It’s an obvious fact for anyone in the dress hat business that church hats are the number one demand for dressy headwear. These are the hats that have continued the market for dressy millinery after the 1960s when hats were no longer a required item when dressing up.
The second largest day for ladies dress hats is Mother’s Day. After that summer dress hats are hard to find so if you have some inventory to get through the summer, you may have no competition.
OTHER DEMANDS FOR DRESS HATS
Spring is the best time of the year for dress hats because Easter and Mother’s Day are accompanied by a number of other major events that call for dressy headwear. High on the list is derbies, especially The Kentucky Derby. Outdoor weddings and private weddings with few attendees call for dress hats. Hats are very appropriate for teas and luncheons—sometimes they are required. Many formal balls and fundraisers call for dressy headwear. Black hats are often worn for funerals, white hats for weddings, and red hats by those ladies that believe you are never too old to enjoy life. We are in the peak season for dress has so make room in your shop and take advantage of the buying frenzy.