Friday, April 1, 2016

Talking Derby Hats with the Hat Designers

By Jessica Alyea

Part 1 – Dee’s & Jan Wutkowski

Adrienne Poole is wearing: Hat by Dee’s, $469; Earrings available at Clater Jewelers
Necklace available at Clater Jewelers. Photos by Melissa Donald


Hat designers from near and far send us their best creations for our Derby issue. We asked these experts the hat questions you need to know to put your best brim forward this Derby season.


The designers:
Louisville staple Dee’s offers unadorned hats and materials to craft your own creation as well as ready-made hats and fascinators. Or, you can bring in your outfit and Dee’s will custom-design a hat or fascinator for you. Last Derby season, Dee’s sold more than 1,200 hats.

Jan Wutkowski founded aMuse Artisanal Studio in 2005 in Wilmington, North Carolina, but she also sets up shop in Louisville each year at Derby time. She teaches the millinery arts throughout the United States, England, and Australia.

What is your best advice concerning wearing or buying a hat?
Dees: Comfort! Pick something that looks great on you but more importantly feels good on your head and you can wear for the entire day.

Jan: My biggest advice is ‘wear the hat, don’t let the hat wear you.’ In other words, if it makes you feel great and you can pull off the attitude, do it! Oh, and make sure it fits and stays on your head, which is an advantage of working with a qualified milliner.

Hat by Jan Wutkowski, $395; Earrings available at Davis Jewelers, $1,195; 
Necklace available at Davis Jewelers, $1,995.

Do you have any hair suggestions for certain hats?
Jan: With few exceptions, hair should be pulled back from the face. Try a low messy bun or a chic ponytail or braid. Hair should at least be tucked behind the ears. With hair, jewelry, and your hat, it can become too much around the face. Keep the look clean above the shoulders so that your face and your hat are the focal points.


Top available at Colonial Designs, 3712 Lexington Rd, 502.896.4461, $37; Shorts available at Colonial Designs, $33; Hat by Jan Wutkowski, $450.

What trends are hot this year?
Dees: Bright colors are always a great way to go for Derby. Try pairing bright colors that you wouldn’t ordinarily think to put together. Think turquoise with apple!

Hat by Dee's, $259.


Does face shape matter?
Jan: I think it does to a certain point. For instance, someone with a heart-shaped face (with a pointed chin) would probably not want a hat with a crown that is very narrow at the top. Nor would a woman with a round face look her best in a hat with a round crown and a downturned brim, as it draws more attention to the roundness of everything above the shoulders. If you have a prominent nose, you probably don’t want to have the embellishment of your hat center-front but preferably off to the side. Someone with a square face would certainly want to keep away from a straight-across brim. Cocking the hat to one side, so that there is a nice diagonal angle to the brim, would remedy the square, straight lines of the face and hat.

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