March 2016

Story of the Ruby Hat

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I am very honoured to be featured (along with my “Ruby” Hat) on the fabulous blog “Ruby’s Musing.

Ruby is a lovely lady who describes herself as “Just a retro housewife living in a modern world.”

But Ruby is much more than that; her interactions on social media show her to be kind and supportive, and very passionate about vintage and retro fashion and pursuits.

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A little hat restoration…

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After my recent fabulous feather workshop with Lindsay Whitehead I’m ready to start gentling tackling a little hat restoration.  This is to say restoration of a little hat, as there is quite a lot to do!

This beautiful little 1940s hat has definitely seen better days. There are one or two small bare patches where the feathers have moved, the fine veiling has needs mending or replacement and sadly the feather flower is beyond repair.

The hat band is pretty much dead, and I’m not a big fan of them anyway (they show up too much against my blue hair), so I think I’ll remove it all together and add wire inside instead. I’m hoping I can save the petersham which will need to be removed as part of the feather restoration process, but will have to wait and see on that one.

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Hats and the Harsh Summer Sun

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With the harsh Aussie summer well and truly here, it’s time to think about protecting ourselves from sunburn and overheating. But slip, slop, slap, doesn’t mean you can’t look your best whilst looking after yourself.

Staying out of the sun isn’t always possible, so just what are your options? A decent summer hat or parasol are your two best choices.

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Straw hats are very popular in Summer because they are light weight, easy to wear and come in many styles and colours, so there is sure to be one to suit you, and look fabulous with your favourite outfit!

Depending on the type of straw and construction, the less expensive straw hats can lose their shape if they get wet, so something to keep in mind.

If you have found that elusive perfect hat but it’s just that little bit too tight, don’t despair! You don’t have to spend your Summer suffering for fashion!

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Kitessa (above), is wearing my favourite Summer hat that I managed to find at a recycle store. Although the hat looked very different when I bought it! Covered in a large, cheap and nasty feather boa it was definitely not my style. But with some patience and a bit of TLC, it could definitely be given a second chance.

Removing the feather boa was not difficult, but removing the residue dried glue was another story! For the record, nail polish remover applied gently softened the glue enough to be scraped off. But it did take a while!

My next challenge was the hat size. The hat was a tight fit and whilst I thought that just meant it wouldn’t blow off in the wind, after a while it started to give me a headache. Packing it with newspaper and other attempts had no effect so I took it to a millinery store where they were able to stretch it for me. Stretching a hat depends on the material and how much bigger it needs to be, but worth looking into if you need it.

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Sometimes a larger brimmed hat isn’t always practical, or maybe it just doesn’t go with your new outfit.  A parasol or umbrella is a great alternative, and can be teamed up with a small hat.

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I’m a big tartan fan so I tend to use mine all year round, but there are some really lovely parasols around, in many styles, from Victorian Gothic to fun 1950s and pin-up styles.So next time you’re planning your outfit for that special day in the sun, don’t forget to think about sun protection and how you can incorporate it in your own fabulous personal style!

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(This article was first published in January 2016 issue of “Kustom Kulture Life“).

Crazy about Hats!

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Let me say this right up front. I’m crazy about vintage style hats. Late 1940s to early 1950s (even one or two very early 1960s). Pillboxes, and little caps, structured and stylish, there’s a lot to love about them.

A lot of my girlfriends also love vintage style hats but unlike me, rarely if ever wear a hat because they believe hats don’t suit them. I am here to say, there is a hat for everyone!

When choosing a hat there are several things to take into consideration; personally I think the most important thing is how does the hat make you feel?

For instance, I’ve been told I look really good in a large brimmed hat but it usually makes me feel completely swamped. I’m a lot more comfortable in a smaller more contained hat.

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My girlfriend on the other hand, with a larger than life personality and appetite for life is definitely more at at home in a larger brimmed hat that really makes a statement.  So how do you begin to work out what style works best for you? Start with a little research to see what styles appeal to you. 

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A close fitting little headpiece with flowers or perhaps even a little tartan fabric?  A soft gentle shell shape or a more bold red number that sits proudly on the back of your head? Which shape makes you smile?

Where will you be wearing your hat? For special occasions or more on a daily basis?  How practical do you need it to be? What does your wardrobe look like? I know it’s starting to sound a bit complicated, but it’s not really.

For example, I wear a lot of black during the day; it’s practical when I’m shooting or creating hats. I do, however, splash out with colour now and then.  I’m the kind of of person that likes my hats to be practical, which is to say well fitting (so I don’t have to worry about them blowing off) and of a strong construction because I know I’m tough on my wardrobe.

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My girlfriend is all about colour, is less concerned about how well it will stay on her head because she has gorgeous long hair that will take a hat pin or comb to hold her hats in place. Her personal style is bright, bold and eye-catching.  Our styles are very different, yet there are definitely 1950s style hats that allow us each to shine.

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I am not a fashionista by any stretch of the imagination, so it’s a little funny to find myself here writing this; but what I am is totally addicted to the beauty and the fun of vintage style hats. I might not have an individual outfit for every occasion, but a fabulous vintage style hat can lift any outfit, and your spirits in the process.

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(This article was first published in December 2015 issue of “Kustom Kulture Life“).