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Hats in Mardi Gras Mobile

Updated on February 10, 2013

Easy Black & White Hat

This is a great first hat to try to make.  Find the black base at any large department store.  Remember that many ready-made hats can be "torn down" to the base.
This is a great first hat to try to make. Find the black base at any large department store. Remember that many ready-made hats can be "torn down" to the base. | Source

Hat Events in Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is not just about the parades and balls. Certain daytime events demand the wearing of hats. For one thing, it's the sunny South in Mobile, Alabama. Typically, these parties are in the afternoon and feature the men in suits, the ladies in afternoon suits with elaborate hats, many times custom-made by a milliner. Some of these events are the Knights of Revelry Afternoon Reception on Fat Tuesday, the Order of Myths on the Sunday of the last weekend before Fat Tuesday, and the Queen's Luncheon on Lundi Gras (the Monday before Fat Tuesday). You need to know that most ladies are now not wearing hats to Order of Myths, which is a shame. Must all good things go to the wayside?

Types of Hats You don't have to wear a hat. Some won't wear one at all, some will wear an updo with fresh flowers, and fascinators have been making quite a comeback. Although it may be absolutely freezing and the rest of world elsewhere is wearing a felted wool hat, the women of Mobile are breaking out their straw pastel hats and dupioni silk suits.

Where to Buy Hats Many ladies will spend vast sums of money on straw hats from Fleur de Paris or Yvonne LeFleur, both in New Orleans. Although I was told by both milliners that in New Orleans, felted wool is popular, as is proper since it is winter, while the Mobilians go for the straw. You can also order some online from Hat-A-Tude or Polly Singer's beautiful site out of Kentucky's Derby Country. Some ladies will make their own and/or just buy some stock hat from Dillards or even Burlington Coat Factory and spruce it up a bit with flowers from Michael's Craft Store. Avoid "bling". Since it is straw, you can even spraypaint stock hats. Betmar hats has a great basic line that is carried in most department stores.

An Easy Hat Idea would be to find a great black hat with a large brim and put some black with white polka dotted ribbon on it. Sew it or glue it on. If you can do some basic sewing, sew a wide silk dupioni bow on the top and match the flowers to the bow. I've found that fake hydrangeas always look great. Keep the colors simple and classic.


Make Your Own Millinery

Hat Sizing on Body Types

First rule of thumb, match your hat brim's edge to your shoulder width. It helps with proportions. Larger ladies will need large brims; small brimmed hats will look "off" and actually make you look larger. If you are small shouldered, you are in luck! You can probably carry off both types. While the smaller brims will look best on you, try the larger brimmed ones to see how they look. However, the odds are that small ladies may look overwhelmed with a big brimmed hat.

Hats at the Queen's Luncheon

2010 Mardi Gras
2010 Mardi Gras
2011 Mardi Gras
2011 Mardi Gras

Everyone Can Wear A Hat: Hairstyles

Some ladies think they can't wear a hat because they have a head full of beautiful curls. A perfect hat for you will be the fascinator. Fascinators more often than not are less expensive than hats; they can be easy to make as well. You'll just need a comb or even a headband, a large silk flower, and feathers. This style of hat is the only one you can wear at night. After all, the whole point of the hat is to keep the sun out of your eyes.

Other hairstyles that look great are bob styles and long hair pulled back into low ponytails. Many women put their hair up in a bun. I have long hair and mine simply looks better down, framing my face.

Final Considerations

As we said, Mobilians wear straw, Spring-style hats in the depths of the cold winter. In most cases, elsewhere in the United States, felt wool hats are worn in the winter months and straw is worn in the spring summer months. Hats are NOT worn at night,with the exception of fascinators. Although they are not worn as much as in the past, custom hats can be pricey. Millinery is an art form. I've seen fabulous hats for $1000 to about $200, depending on the milliner. Typically, the larger the brim, the more it costs. Layaway plans are necessary and expected, so don't be afraid to ask if it's the hat you must have. If cost is a worry, start with a great black hat as you are sure to get much more cost per wear. Many milliners will repurpose the hat if you bought the original with them, allowing their regular customers to save. If you are crafty and have a great eye, design your own hat or fascinator using some of the books listed from Amazon.

Also, be prepared for attention from the men. I think many of them find themselves strangely attracted to the mysterious allure of a lady in a hat. This is Mardi Gras, an additional alcoholic danger of men's suppressed desires running rampant. Proceed with caution!

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    • profile image

      Polly Singer 4 years ago

      Thanks for your kind words about my hats. I always enjoy designing for Mardi Gras!

    • DemiMonde profile image
      Author

      Demi 5 years ago from Mobile, Alabama

      I'll try to get some pictures from this year's Queen's Luncheon and also from the Knights of Revelry Reception. I never really wore hats until we moved here to Mobile! Thanks for the read!

    • mpoche4 profile image

      Michal 5 years ago from Baton Rouge, LA

      I always love reading your Mardi Gras perspective! Very interesting about the hats for Mardi Gras. Women in Louisiana wear them for all sorts of events, but I have not heard about them being specifically worn for Mardi Gras. Voted up!