By Jessica Alyea

Part 5 — June Bale & Gloriela Forsee

Shelby Stephens is wearing: Hat by June Bale at The Willow Tree, $599.

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:
Owner June Bale has been creating custom hat designs for The Willow Tree in Louisville for 15 years. She’s created Derby hats for Miss America, Miss India, and actress Diane Lane.

Gloriela Forsee of Gloriela’s Designs has been specializing in creating Derby hats and fascinators and wedding headpieces for 20 years. She lives in Bardstown and works in Louisville.

Fascinator by Gloriela’s Designs, $210.

What is your best advice for wearing or buying a hat?
June: Frequently, we hear the comment “I cannot wear a hat,” when in truth most ladies look striking in a hat if positioned correctly. Personality is a contributing factor. The question we ask is, “Do you want to blend in or be a Derby diva?”
Gloriela: Remember when choosing a hat that once you put on a wide-brim hat, you have to wear it all day and night. A fascinator can be removed.

Do you have any hair suggestions for certain hats?
Gloriela: Most hats are better worn with no hair showing. Let the hat do its thing.

Kentucky Derby Festival princess Millicent Cahoon is wearing: Hat by Gloriela’s Designs, $309.

What makes your hats different or special?
June: Each is individually designed onsite for selling in the Willow Tree or for an individual’s custom order. Throughout the year, I am on a continuing search for hat embellishments from California, Dallas, and New York.

Find more hat advice in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4 of this series.