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Best Hat Milliners

Updated on September 4, 2012

Haute Couture Hats

Look at this scrumptious hat confection.
Look at this scrumptious hat confection. | Source
Exterior of shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
Exterior of shop in the French Quarter of New Orleans. | Source

Haute Couture Hats

It's a once in a lifetime trip to see the Kentucky Derby and you need a hat. Your English cousin has invited you to Ascot. This is not the time to buy something cheap from an area department store. You may think you got a great deal and it looks fine, but it doesn't. You need a milliner, a good one. If you have a great hat, it can be worn again with another outfit. A good milliner can help you find a great starting piece. You may find yourself amassing quite a collection over time. A hat is one of the few affordable haute couture items you can still get today. Did you know that Coco Chanel got her start designing chapeaus? They are a piece of art; they can be displayed even after the event is over.

Christine A. Moore Getting Ready for the Kentucky Derby

Milliner Cities

Obviously, the first place to start would be in Kentucky, home of the Derby Hat. These hats feature, usually, a larger brim.

There are other areas that still wear hats on Sunday, the South. You want to look for the old, Southern port cities; these cities were once the style-setters for the whole nation as they were the top ports in the mid 1800s. Some things never change. Ladies from this region are known for their classic sense of style with added elegance. Some of these cities are Savannah, Charleston, Baltimore, New Orleans, Atlanta, and Mobile.

Finally, New York City is where milliners trek to find their dwindling supplies. There are several places to go here.

Tips from Milliner Polly Singer on Coordinating Hats with Clothing

Favorite Milliners

The following are milliners that I have personally used and that I am familiar with. Of course, there are many others that I may not be familiar with. One thing to consider as well- what is your style of hat? Some today are very "blingy" and not my cup of tea. If you are looking for something classic that perfectly coordinates with your outfit, look no further.

Polly Singer(Lexington, Kentucky)- Polly has been featured in many magazines. I really love the classic look of her hats and she has a lovely hatbox. If you need a larger hat( if you are taller or a larger clothing size, you will need a larger hat), she can do one for you and it will be more reasonable. She is very responsive to long-distance ordering. I would probably order from her more if she were closer to my city as I really love all of her hats.

Christine A. Moore (New York, New York) - She is sold in boutiques across the country as well as several online locations. I like the pricing as you can get a fairly large brim for under $300. In addition, she adds large, sewn, silk bows to the hats, which is a style I like that gives a lush,expensive look.

Fleur de Paris(New Orleans, Louisiana)- This lovely shop in the French Quarter is known for their fabulous hat boxes in pink and black. It's my favorite. The milliner, Kimberly Benn, will work with you to create a custom hat, but it is easy to find a beautiful confection that you will love. It is very expensive, though, due to the vintage ribbon they use. Large hats are $1,000; smaller hats are $500 range although I have seen some in the $300 range. Don't be afraid to tell Kimberly you need a less-expensive alternative. They also have vintage-looking clothing. Make an appointment with friends and go champagne shopping.

Yvonne LeFleur (New Orleans, Louisiana)- Yvonne and her precious daughter are beautiful ladies who will tirelessly work with you to find your perfect ensemble. They also have lovely silk suiting options, too. Prices are less expensive, around $300 to $500 for very large hats. Being a descendant of the French of New Orleans, her shop is like walking into one in Paris. She has created her own fragrance, too. It would be a great souvenir of New Orleans.

Jessica Price (Mobile, Alabama)- Her fascinators are divine and I am really interested to see where her career goes as she is fairly new to the scene. There are several videos on YouTube besides this one I show here.

Fabulous Fascinators

Give Yourself the Gift of a Hat

Hats seem to be making somewhat of a comeback. Louis Vuitton's Fall of 2012 featured hats. You owe it to yourself to wear a fabulous chapeau. If you feel you cannot spend that much and you are crafty, check out the Amazon books with tips and tricks. If you can't sew a lick, do patronize these ladies of haute couture millinery.


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    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi I love hats! I never have a chance to wear one though, so this really was interesting, I love the first hat at the top! maybe one of these days! lol! I don't live far from ascot so there you go, voted up! cheers nell

    • DemiMonde profile image

      Demi 4 years ago from Mobile, Alabama

      Thanks, Nell! That's a hat from Fleur de Paris in New Orleans. They are all amazing and you cannot resist them! If you go to their website, you can see more pics under hats.

    • profile image

      Polly Singer 4 years ago

      Thanks for your comments on my hats. I really work hard to make and deliver a quality, classic hat. I always try to channel my inner "Audrey Hepburn" when designing. Thanks again! Polly Singer

    • profile image

      J-Lorraine 2 years ago

      Is there a difference in quality between Fleur de Paris and Yvonne LeFleur. I am discussing a custom piece with both milliners and trying to choose who to work with? Has anyone worked with them directly?

    • DemiMonde profile image

      Demi 2 years ago from Mobile, Alabama

      I've worked with both. To be honest, each milliner has their own style. Quality is great for both. Just make sure you truly understand what design you are going for... don't just describe it. find a concrete picture for it if you can.

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