Easter is the perfect time for me to test drive new hat styles since my entire family gets in the Easter bonnet spirit.  This year we continued the tradition and headed down to New York City just in time for the Easter Parade. My husband wore a bowler, my oldest daughter wore a fascinator, my youngest wore a percher hat, and I brandished a tricorn. Four different types of hats, each providing a wealth of learning.

Creating something beautiful is a wonderful feeling.  For a milliner however, the process doesn’t stop there.  It’s important to understand the wearer’s experience.  The best way to do this, I’ve found, is to take the prototype out for a “test drive.”  This way I can determine how comfortable the hat is, whether the trim necessitates gymnastics when getting out of a car, or anything else that I should be aware of.

On Saturday, I brought a fascinator for my oldest daughter to test drive. What I designed and how she wore it were two very different experiences.  It was designed to sit low in the center of the forehead.  The first bit of feedback was that this made her feel like a unicorn. She promptly proceeded to move her “Easter bonnet” up and to the side.  Fortunately the combination of elastic and comb allowed it to be moved but remain secure on the head.  Next, the quill was so long that it hit the roof of the car. Off it came until we arrived at our destination. This once again confirmed my theory that the automobile has contributed to the decline of hat wearing. Fortunately, the fascinator was very easy to put on and take off without a mirror.   My youngest daughter’s percher felt a little wobbly at first until I showed her how to secure it properly with the comb. The learning for me was that it will be important to show the purchaser of a percher hat how to properly anchor it.

Every hat is different and part of the service I provide is to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.  Fortunately, my family provides me with a different perspectives and a wealth of invaluable information.