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Shannon’s Top 5 Favorite Summer Hats

May 31st, 2011 | 2 Comments | Posted in Fashion & Style, Spring & Summer Hats

Today’s post is my personal top pick list of this season’s hats. Think of it as the “Employee Favorite” section in our virtual store. There are so many amazing styles this summer that it is tricky to narrow them down, especially if you are new to wearing hats. I am a lover of all styles, so today I decided to put together a listing my favorite hats of this season, in no particular, in order to help anyone who doesn’t know where to begin when picking out the perfect hat.

It is important to have a hat in your wardrobe that serves both fashion and function. For me, the Belfry Brasil is a perfect example of this. It is a stylish snap brim fedora that can be worn by both men and women and literally goes with any outfit. You can wear this hat with a business suit or a bathing suit. It is also really light weight, so it is a perfect sun blocking hat that will keep you cool on those 100 degree days.

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For us girls who like to make a statement with their hat fashions, the Makins Roslyn is the perfect style for summer events. I’ve mentioned this hat in a previous post and have since been told by more than one Hats in the Belfry employee, that this is their favorite hat to wear in the shop. It goes with any summer dress, from basic black to hot pink sundress. And it is just plain gorgeous.

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*I know this is not a hat, but I am also in love with this paisley scarf.

The Belfry Law was a hat I wore on a regular basis when I was working in the Annapolis shop last summer. Usually I wear the biggest and most elaborate hats we carry because I like to pretend that I’m rich and famous when I am working, but the Belfry Law was my go-to hat when I couldn’t find anything extravagant that fit my fancy for the day. And I always ended up selling the hat off my head when I wore it. It is still one of my favorite hats in the store. I just love the tobacco colored straw and the green band. I can see this hat being a favorite for many summers to come.

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When it comes to Cloche styles, there are so many to choose from. I chose the Belfry Meridian as my favorite this season because I love the shiny Milan straw and the delicate floral accent. It reminds me of the hat that Marissa Miller wore to the Kentucky Derby (which I adored and critics hated). It is a very feminine hat that is a classic 1920’s cloche style, but it goes perfectly with modern fashions.

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My final pick for my top 5 hats this season is the Christy’s Crown Lafayette pub cap. Full disclosure, I personally do not wear pub caps. For some reason, they are just not flattering for me. But my BFF and Manager of the Annapolis shop, Jen, looks great in them.

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When I am picking out a pub cap for a customer, I am thinking of what would look good on her. Jen, if you are reading this, I think this hat would look really cute on you.

I would love to hear from you. What is your favorite hat this season? - Shannon

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Preakness Hats - For Every Budget

Being a Maryland based business we have a serious soft spot for the Preakness race in Baltimore. This year we are gearing up for Preakness with designer hat fittings by the amazing Christine A. Moore in our Annapolis and Baltimore shop locations. She makes some unbelievable one-of-a-kind pieces that are sure to be noticed on race day. Understandably, not everyone has the budget for a designer, custom fit, one of a kind masterpiece, but that is no reason to go hat-less on the Preakness lawn. Here are some amazing options at price points we all can work with.

Under $50

You shouldn’t have to mortgage your home just to look amazing on race day. Never fear, there are some great options for under $50 that are sure to be photo-worthy pieces. The Kira Ribbon Sun Hat for only $38 is a big brim that is stylish with or without embellishment. Pin on the oversized flower $9 and you have yourself a designer look for less.

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If the big brim is not your style, go fascinator! If it is good enough for Kate Middleton, it is good enough for Preakness. The Isbel, Sinamay Straw Hair Clip is a great option with a stylish up-do hairstyle.

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Under $100

If you are ready to splurge a little why not go for a classic? The Belfry Mena $78 in a Natural Straw is a classic style with black grosgrain band. This garden style hat is elevated with the lime green and black floral accent making it a style perfect to pair with a sundress.

You can still be over the top under $100 with the Plaza Suite Lanna. This spring blue with white accent is a hat that will be noticed. The downturned brim will give you shade and mystery.

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Under $200

If you are ready to bring out the big guns, this hot pink raffia number, Makins Sadie $188, is a perfect piece to get you noticed. The oversized floral is on trend this year and the color is hot hot hot.

If hot pink is not your cup of tea, perhaps the classic black is more your style. Even though we are right under the $200 mark, this is a steal for a hat of this quality and grandeur by Christine A. Moore. The Boca Big Brim $198 is a beautifully woven straw hat that will provide lots of shade and double the style factor.

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No Budget

If you are planning to win big at the races this year, go for the gusto with Christine A. Moore’s Stargazer Upturned Brim $528. This hat is more than elegant, it is divine. The floral is large and over the top, yet tasteful. The color is fantastic and it is an all-around beautiful hat perfect for race day. It also happens to be my favorite design this season.

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Have fun at the races! - Shannon

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Kentucky Derby Hats 2011

May 9th, 2011 | No Comments | Posted in Hats in the News, Trend Watch

Today’s post is simply a collection of some of the hats worn at the Kentucky Derby this weekend. With hats like these, who needs much else?

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Kate Gosselin in feather and a lacy black little number.

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Jordan Sparks.  I love the hat and love the outfit, but I’m not sure that I love the hat and the outfit together…

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Maria Menounos looking super cute in a flashy fascinator and a frilly dress.  Were Maria and Jordan at the same party?

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I love this fascinator on Vanessa Minnilo.  I just wish that she would have chosen a pop of color to go with her black ensemble.

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Paula Patton.  I love this look!  A beautiful big flash of a hat with a tight white mini dress that looks fantastic on her.

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Salt and Pepa don’t dissapoint in these over the top designs.

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Sometimes bigger isn’t better.  Let’s get serious here people.

Most of these pictures were posted on necolebitchie.com. Check out her site for even more shots from the Derby this weekend.

If you are interested in some of the more extreme hats from the Derby check out this site.

-Shannon

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Biltmore Hats are Back!

There is so much to be said about a hat that is made with a level of quality reminiscent of days when your hat was a required piece of attire to remain of a certain social stature. The saying “they don’t make them like they used to” does not apply when it comes to hats made under the Biltmore brand. They make them just like they used to. We at Hats in the Belfry are honored to have been a supporter of the Biltmore Hats even through their recent financial struggles and couldn’t be more pleased that THEY ARE BACK!

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Biltmore Hats was founded in 1917 and moved to Guelph, Canada in 1919. In the 1950’s they employed over 350 people producing hats with hand sewn details and a quality that made them one of the most popular brands of the time. Sadly, in recent years Biltmore fell on financial troubles and were in search of additional investors. Biltmore’s owner, Eric Lynes, was adamant that they were going to keep Biltmore producing from their facility in Guelph, they were not going to file for bankruptcy and they would continue to produce quality hats for their loyal customers.

The doors did close in 2010 and the twenty remaining employees were laid off.

“It was a dark period and there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. We kept believing we were going to open this place again and we weren’t going to be pushed around or file for bankruptcy.” said Lynes. And open again, they did. Seven months after closing, the American company Dorfman Pacific agreed to purchase the company, keep Lynes on to manage the business and keep production in Guelph. Sixteen employees that were laid off were back to work and the demand for iconic Biltmore hats was on the rise.

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It is an amazing thing to see a company stand their ground and just know in the bottom of their hearts that what they are creating is meaningful. This is such a great story of never giving up and working towards a future with the same ideals that made them successful in the past. Welcome back, Biltmore hats!

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“Biltmore is a legacy brand to us.  There are so few brands out there anymore that still make hats the same way they did 50 years ago.  Biltmore is one of them, and we are so happy to carry their line again“ -Ryan Seth owner of Hats in the Belfry and President of The Headwear Association.

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