The Joy of Hats

In my career as a custom milliner of MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®, I have found that anyone can wear a hat. I think it’s all about each person finding the courage to explore the world of hats, find which styles suit them best, and in the process discover that the joy of hat-wearing is even more fun when it is shared.

Brenda and Kevin at the 2009 Kentucky Derby
Brenda in her “Liza” Derby Hat by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®

Not so long ago women would rarely be seen in public without a hat and gloves. But in recent years that has all changed. Whatever the reason, the thought of wearing a hat today makes many women feel intimidated.

Still, it doesn’t take much to ignite a new fashion trend. Kate Middleton’s fascinators have inspired many American women to start wearing hats, often for the first time. And who can forget the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, in that stunning rhinestone-and-bow-trimmed gray felt cloche at the 2009 Inauguration ceremony singing, “America the Beautiful” and single-handedly catapulting South Korean-born hat maker Luke Song’s millinery career? A recent resurgence for all things Retro has also renewed a new interest in hats as has the television series, Downton Abbey. Hats are back!

Doris and Custom Elizabeth Fascinator
Doris wearing her Custom “Elizabeth” Fascinator by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®

There is something about hats that connects people. Hats have a way of starting conversations between strangers. Before they know it, they are sharing family hat stories about Aunt Clara’s old floppy garden hat and Cousin Sylvie’s penchant for scandalous red cocktail hats. There’s just something about a hat that makes you feel like you already know the person who’s wearing it. Or, would like to.

Juliette HOLMM54-021 Cocktail Hat by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®
Juliette HOLMM54-021 Cocktail Hat by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®

But it still takes a certain amount of courage to actually wear a hat if you never have worn one before. My suggestion is to take small steps. Don’t go for the 2-foot wide Derby hat right away. Instead try wearing a baseball cap, a beret, or a cowboy hat. Visit a thrift shop or a department store. Try on hats in different shapes and colors to find out what looks best on you and what feels comfortable. Once you are feeling a bit braver, start actively seeking out special occasions where hats are encouraged – the Kentucky Derby, weddings, garden parties – or throw a hat tea party of your own. Chances are you’ll find other women there who are equally new at hat-wearing and looking for a friend – and for the details on that fabulous wide brimmed chapeau you’re wearing!

Lovely ladies in their MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® chapeaux!
Lovely ladies in their MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS® chapeaux!

If you are one of those women who has always believed you don’t look good in hats, don’t be discouraged. It may just be that you’ve never found the right hat for you. But once you start looking you may just find yourself having so much fun that you’ll wonder what took you so long. And your newly discovered passion may just inspire others to start exploring the joy of hats too!

Melissa and the "Valerie" Derby Hat
Melissa and her “Valerie” Derby Hat by MAGGIE MAE DESIGNS®

For some great ideas for where to try out your new chapeaux, please check out my Where to Wear a Hat page at

Do you wear hats? Or are you new to the world of hats? Please write and let me know how your hat exploring is going!

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