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Fall is here with new fashion statements and color palettes.  In apparel, this can be dramatic, but in dress hats changes are subtle.  Yes, you can look at dress hats from ten years ago and see big changes, but from season to season, developments fly under the radar. 



winter cloche hat

One reason is ladies dress hats are often reinventing vintage looks and that happens again for the fall of 2012.  Most of the felt hats this fall are inspirations from earlier eras.  The cloche from the 1920s is perhaps the most obvious.  The twenties were a real break from styles that preceded it.  World War I was over and fashion became more practical reflecting a new independence experienced by women. 


The hat that defined the era was the cloche, a bell shaped hat with little or no brim that was worn at eyebrow level.  The name actually comes from the French word for bell.  Almost anyone that sees a cloche automatically thinks “Roaring Twenties”. 

 New developments for the fall of 2012 have cloches in wool felt with a large diagonal bows on one side, shimmering with sequin fabric.  Others use decoration of wool felt flower arrangements.  This is not the first season to see the revival of the cloche, but the trend continues because of innovation.


One of the major markets for fall dress hats is Homecoming.  The cloche is ideal for filling this need because smaller hats are popular for the occasion. Also, since the cloche first appeared in the 1920s, it always had appeal to younger consumers.



 ladies fall wide brim dress hatCount on felt wide brims to be included in ladies dress hats every fall.  This style also works well for homecoming, but is even more popular as church hats.  This fall asymmetrical brims are adding a new look to headwear.  Where do we find these in hat history?  First impression is the silver screen of the 1940s—leading ladies with those sassy wide brims that dipped over one eye in a debonair fashion. 


But the look is rooted further back in millinery history as TV enthusiasts will note that watch Boardwalk Empire.  Costumers for these period shows know their stuff and the asymmetrical wide brim pops up in that show. 

 The reinvention of these felt hats makes a striking appearance that will grab the attention of church ladies that want elegance in styles that are different. 


satin braid church hat


Satin braid hats seem to be something new to the headwear industry.  In reality, they have been around for more that 100 years.  A search reveals print advertisements for stain braids from 1870 and later.  The hats use narrow ribbons of satin continuously sewn to create different shapes in headwear. 


Today’s market for satin braids is almost exclusively church hats.   Designs are fabulous with high rounded crowns combining with narrow down turned brims and lavishly trimmed.  Colors can be metallic gold and silver as well as any color we find in satin.  Even wide brims are available today in satin braid. 




The palette is unusually bright for fall and winter seasons this year.  Pantone’s fashion color report includes hues of lime, tangerine, bright fuchsia, and a mustard gold color.  The bright colors are a slightly subdued version of the spring and summer palettes and we will see more brights in the next summer palette.  Apparel is using these vibrant colors and expect them in the spring hat line, but fall hats are more traditional and stick mainly with conservative fall colors. 


These traditional fall hat colors include gray, black, brown, taupe, camel, navy, and winter white.  But there are also some color you can call edgy in a conservative palette for fall—colors like rust, red, mustard, and burnt orange.   




Fall hats seem to be in short supply this season, most likely because we are experiencing a challenging economy.  The retailers we are in contact with report brisker than normal sales, no doubt because consumers can find fresh supply in their shops while many other retailers are being cautious.  This can be an opportunity for you if you have the customer base for winter dress hats.  So here is a chance to make hay while the sun shines.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

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