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Surely the snow has to be nearly over for  2013.  And with trees budding and blossoms sprouting, everyone will be thinking spring.  Easter comes early in 2013, falling on March 31.  This is the biggest day of the year for ladies dress hats, so there is little time to waste in getting ready.

If we say that new arrivals this year include a mix of innovation, tradition, and vintage inspiration, you would most likely reply—that’s not news.  That’s true every year.  And you would be right so we need to focus on the specifics.


innovative church hat

The most innovative ladies dress hat this season has a super wide brim of layered horsehair.  This is a fabulous look, but very hard to capture with photography so hope you get the idea.  Created in shimmering polypropylene, the material blends tinsel in the weave for a shimmering effect.  Both gold and silver are available and this material makes up the crown.


But the brim is what is so innovative—layers or horsehair create a sheer super wide brim that has a balance of bounce and body.  We introduced a hat created entirely in horsehair, DH199, about seven years ago and it is still a popular hat today.  Milliners often buy that hat to trim.  It is especially popular with milliners doing Kentucky Derby Hats.

Ladies Dress Hat

But the metallic ladies dress hat that is so innovative this year with layers of horsehair creating the brim requires no trimming.  It is already a finished work of millinery art.   The horsehair lacks the firmness of DH199, providing more sassy bounce.




Manufacturers are emphasizing metallic dress hats with eye-appealing shimmer this spring.  This in not new in church hats and dress hats, but some of the shapes are innovative.  Vintage inspiration is delivering stunning new styles.

Ladies Cavalier dress hat

The Cavalier generates the most attention.  This style in ladies hats reaches back to 1920 with the publishing of the novel, The Three Musketeers.  The milliners immediately incorporated the dashing design into ladies hats and since then it has been reinvented several times.


This year’s interpretation uses the metallic material described above to create a body with one side of the brim flipped up and the opposite side flipped down.  The crown has a C crown indention and angles down towards the side with brim down.  Horsehair loops form a ruffle to decorate one side.  The finished product—STUNNING!

Wide Brim Church Hat

Another shape in metallic dress hats finds inspiration in wide brim styles from the sixties.  The era called the hats cartwheels or picture hats.  The wide brim was the defining feature of the hat.  Crowns could be very shallow or deeper.  The most stunning dress hats this season using this style is a metallic body with a wide brim the flips at the edge in the front half of the body while the back continues to angle down.  That little flip at the edge of the brim raises this dress hat from ordinary to fabulous.  The picture hat is reinvented in wholesale dress hats that will capture the attention of ladies shopping for a church hat.



Is there any more traditional look in ladies dress hats than polypropylene hats with the fine weave that captures the look of quality possessed by Milan straws?  These hats return every season with elegance and traditional shapes.  Like Milan straws, they have a fine weave made in long strips that are continuously sewn to create the hat.  The name of the process is sewn-and-weave or sewn-and braid and the finished product has vibrant colors as well as the quality of fine weave.

Traditional Ladies Dress Hat

Short brims like the hat with a rolled down brim shown create a more conservative look.  Popular as both church hats and Derby hats, this look has wide appeal.  The style shown with short rolled down brim and high squared crown returns every year.    A choice of vibrant color adds to its timeless popularity.


Elegant Ladies Church HatDress hats using wide brims in the same material deliver superb elegance.  The style shown with wide brim rolled down brings Audrey Hepburn and the silver screen of the sixties to mind.  This is also an icon in dress hats for Easter, church, derby days, and Mothers Day.




Perhaps the greatest surprise in ladies dress hats in the last few years has been the sudden surge of popularity in organza hats.  They are back in a big way for spring of 2013.  Organza was originally a silk product—a sheer fabric, semi-transparent, with a natural sheen. Today organza is more often a synthetic using polyester or nylon.

Organza hats are lightweight with a natural sheen that catches the eye.  Wired brims help them hold their shape and give them a shapeable quality.  Colors are endless.

So what’s new in organza hats?  This year, organza hats don’t disappoint with spectacular styles like the wide brim shown.  The dress hat combines a shapeable wide brim with high crown squared at the top in solid color.  This makes wonderful church hats for a range of personalities from conservative to more daring.

Two-toning is big this year.  Organza hats combine a crown in one color with a brim in another.  Surging the trim in a contrasting color also creates a two-tone effect.  This is not the first year for this look, but its success last year makes it more predominant this spring.

High crowns with short downturned brims are also popular in both solid colors and two-tone.  The narrow brim organza  hat shown also let you see the tow-tone effect popular this spring.


Pillbox Hat

With all the pillboxes available in dress hats this spring, the mind has to wander back to the early 1960s when Jackie Kennedy quietly set the tone of the era with classy fashion as First Lady.  The pillbox hat is back this spring offered in sinamay, polypropylene, and satin braid.  No millinery selection is complete this spring without the pillbox.



For the third season in a row, brights dominate the fashion palette.  While Pantone gives a palette of bright colors like yellow, nectarine, violet, poppy red, and a lime called tender shoots, they are secondary colors rather than hit you in the face primaries.  The dominant color is blue in four different hues occupying nearly half the palette.

But millinery marches to its own drummer and hat colors always include white, ivory, black, and shades of brown no matter what the palette is.  In choosing colors, be aware of the palette and include some of these colors especially if you are seeing them in ladies suits, but also include the traditional colors of millinery.

Soft colors like baby blue, baby pink, lavender, and yellow are Easter colors that never change and are good up to Easter, but slow afterwards.  Variety is the safe bet that satisfies everyone.


Soon to follow is a blog on prom jewelry and accessories—another of the three most important categories for this time of the year.

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