I think this has been the hardest page to write! So naturally I haven't! One client asked me why this page was blank when I was such an interesting lady (isn't she sweet!). So here goes:
Unlike many millinery designers, I actually began because women were ASKING me to make hats. I was in the floral business making wreaths and home decorations from dried flowers. I lived in Ocean City, MD but traveled to Virginia and DC/Northern Virginia areas to sell by creations. First were the ladies of Richmond VA requesting me to make hats for them to wear to the local Horse Races and Easter Parade. Naturally, I explained dried flowers would not hold up when worn. Do you know a Richmond Lady? I always say, "Richmond ladies have grit." They know what they want, and they know how to get it. Trust me, no one ever told them "no one else is wearing hats." When a Richmond woman plans her outfit, it includes a HAT. They have not forgotten the art of being a lady! I was inspired! It seemed I had a market for my passion...Hats!
I was already wearing hats. Not as a fashion statement but to cover my overwhelming life of "bad hair days." In my search of hats, I encountered two major obstacles: Hats were always too big in head size: I would turn my head and the hat was still pointing in the other direction. Second issue was there are some really, REALLY poorly trimmed (decorated) hats out there...downright ugly and not fashion friendly.
Since I am still not getting this page written, I am going to reprint a local newspaper article a friend (and one of my "Angels" who assists during Derby Season), Anne-Marie wrote last year:
In our neighborhood lives a milliner (makes and trims ladies hats) in a charming 1925 Craftsman bungalow. You have probably seen her walking, biking or at a neighborhood event and almost always in a hat. Kathi is the milliner and owner of her exclusive online ladies hat shop, HAT-A-TUDE.com. She has built her business on the philosophy “It’s more than a Hat, it’s an Attitude!”
January of every year Kathi does not allow sleet or snow of New York City to deter her from her annual buying trip to find the latest hats and millinery trims for her designs. Hats for every season or reason are part of her limitless creations: Hats for Spring and Fall, for the Kentucky Derby and other horse races, weddings, churches, synagogues, Mother’s Day, graduation ceremonies, garden parties, cruises or just “I want to look fabulous” moments!
The months of March and April were a whirlwind for Kathi and her neighborhood “angels” who help in the office and shipping department. Over 550 hat orders were received online or by telephone for the annual Oaks and Kentucky Derby racing events held the first weekend in May. Kathi personally answered all questions and gave advice to her clients before each beautiful custom hat was made and shipped across the USA for this one weekend a year. Oh, not all of her hat ladies attend the actual races, but they see no reason not to have elaborate parties! This year the Royal Wedding added to the excitement.
Where does Kathi work her magic? She works from a studio behind her home in the Historic Old Northeast neighborhood in St. Petersburg, FL. There one sees stacks of hats and walls lined with ribbons, flowers and feathers! Ribbons of every width and imaginable color, flowers from cabbage roses to exotic blooms and feathers that delight the eye are within reach of her nimble fingers. As she turns the mannequin head that holds each hat, she creates a custom hat to be shipped in less than a week.
People often ask how this unique profession began for Kathi. Combine her floral design business, love of fashion, one Richmond lady named Joan asking her to design a hat followed by all Joan’s friends wanting hats and Hat-a-Tude was born! When Kathi moved from Ocean City MD to St. Petersburg in 2005, she began marketing her hat designs solely through the website. The biggest challenge for her is never seeing her customer and making the hat flatter the lady, her dress and the occasion. It is her belief,” If you don’t look good, I don’t look good!”
Kathi shares her passion: “Hats just make everyone smile. And doesn’t that just make the world a better place!”
Do you want a personal Hat consultation? I am YOUR Hat Designer! I live in St. Petersburg, Florida in the beautiful USA. If you live nearby you may visit my studio by appointment. Be warned, it is a working studio so frequently not very neat…creative mind at work! However, if you do not live in the area you may email me your picture and/or your dress and I will do my best to help you select the best hat for you. I want you to look fabulous as you attend the Kentucky Derby, Party or Horse Race. A hat is not complete without a smile coming from beneath it. After all, if you don’t look good, HAT-A-TUDE doesn’t look good. My clients are my inspiration. The fact that I care so much about providing personal service sets me apart from the “big box” online hat sellers. As one lovely client wrote: “I'm overwhelmed with this gorgeous hat. One thing for sure and I know A**** is competitive but there's a difference between class and cash….May be cheaper but your hats are quality!” Makes my heart sing!
Want to look fabulous in your Hat on Kentucky Derby Day? It is very important your hat FIT properly! Your Hat should not be sitting down over your ears (well, maybe a little if it is being worn at a jaunt) or up on the tip top of your head. Poor fit is one of my pet peeves. It is the reason I provide instruction on the HAT-A-TUDE website on HOW to measure your head and WHY I sell hats by head size in inches. A hat that is too big will slide all over your head and a hat that is too tight will make your head hurt. Your hat should be a pleasure, not a distraction. After all you will be walking, eating, drinking and cheering on your horse…in other words on the move! So please measure your head before ordering! Of course Fascinators and Profile Hatinators are mounted on a headband and allow for more flexibility in size. If you have questions, I am just a phone call or email away. For more info go to What’s My Hat Size Page.
The Kentucky Oaks is run the Friday before the Kentucky Derby. The first running of the Kentucky Oaks (and the Kentucky Derby) was on May 19, 1875. The race was founded by Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr. and has been held continuously at the same race track location in Louisville, Kentucky. The Oaks is to celebrate the Ladies. Three year old fillies (female thoroughbred horses) run in the Oaks race. It is frequently called The Run for the Lilies since the official flower is the pink stargazer lily and the flower garland that covers the winning horse. Since 2008, the Oaks has also been the “Pink Out”! To honor breast and ovarian cancer survivors, PINK is worn by attendees at the Oaks. So if you are going to the Kentucky Oaks you will need a hat with pink trim or a pink hat. I have a lot of Pink in my Derby Hat Catalog! All shades and combinations and can “Pink Out” out your hat selection.
**FYI: To answer your question: If you are attending both the Oaks and Kentucky Derby, YES you will need 2 Hats!
How Big of a Brim Hat should I wear to the Kentucky Derby? This depends on a number of choices: How tall you are and how much “drama” do you want to carry on your head all day. A hat with a 5 inch brim looks proportionate on a 5’ tall lady and small on a 6’ tall lady. Also if you are petite you will be bending your head back all day to look at people in a XL large brim…ouch! Usually 6 inches is a good dramatic size brim on all women for the Kentucky Derby or Kentucky Oaks. To truly be over the top, go for an 8 inch brim hat! Many of my clients choose this option. Consider the Derby is a long day and you will be colliding with doorways and others! For any hat proper FIT is very important. Read more on this subject on my page What's my Head Size. One way to get the spectacular big hat look is to choose a profile fascinator or hatinator. This style is mounted on a headband (also fits more head sizes!) and more vertical than horizontal. Profiles have become very popular in England. I heard one reason is more people could be packed into Ascot. Purely hearsay, but sounds logical to me. Your outfit and your Derby Hat has to fulfill YOUR vision! Let Kathi @ Hat-A-Tude help you.
Each year I ask my Hat-a-Tude clients to send me pictures of themselves and their Hats to post on the website. I feel it is important for ladies to see what outfits and hats are actually worn to the Kentucky Derby and Derby parties. One thing I notice is they are all smiling under those Hats! It has been my intention to be sure you are wearing the best hat for you...your height, head size and color of outfit. I love seeing those smiles and know others are smiling back at you and telling you how great you look. If you don't look good, Hat-a-Tude doesn't look good! Women wearing hats are at once sophisticated and whimsical....Their faces are younger and softer.
A piece of magic is a hat! May your Hat keep you cool and bring you luck at the Kentucky Derby.
The Kentucky Derby is not only the most famous thoroughbred horse race in the US, but also a celebration of fashion, Hats, southern culture and tradition.
The Derby is all about the Ladies HATS! I feel national television shows as much coverage of the Hats as the Horses on Derby Day! In addition to the Kentucky Derby, ladies also enjoy wearing their Hats to Derby parties, polo races and other horse racing events.
What is a "Derby Hat"? A hat with a bigger brim and some "personality"....from the silly to the sophisticated. Hat-a-Tude designs reflect a sophisticated style with quality ribbon, flower and feather trims customized to compliment your outfit. I am a boutique Hat Shop available to work with you in creating your special outfit for the Kentucky Derby.
For the hours a woman wears a hat, it brings out a different dimension in her personality. Hats are to be stylish in, glow under, flirt beneath, make all others seem jealous over, and make all men feel masculine about. A piece of magic is a hat! May your Hat keep you cool and bring you luck at the Kentucky Derby.