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  • Writer's pictureJulie Diana

How to Embellish Hats with Millinery Flowers & Hat Bands

wide brim straw hat with millinery flower

Hat: Betmar / Pink satin flowers: Petershams / Ring: Swarovski

wide brim straw hat with gold millinery flower

Gold flower: Petershams, similar here / Earrings: Etsy/ Necklace: J.Crew, similar here

wide brim straw hat with puggaree hat band

Hat: Scala, similar here / Dress: Soft Surroundings, similar here and here

Millinery Flowers and Hat Bands

When you're in the mood for easy elegance, pull your favorite color from your outfit. Then pin it to your hat in the form of a millinery flower or hat band. A head-to-toe color scheme says put-together, every time.

I love this technique for all my untrimmed hats, be they straw or felt. These embellishments are easy to reposition, and can be moved from one hat to another. Traditionally, ladies' hat trimmings were worn on the wearer's right side. You can follow this convention, or position the trim wherever is most flattering on you.

The straw hats

In the first two photos, I'm wearing Betmar's classic roll-up hat. I prefer to flip the brim downward for a lampshade silhouette, like Holly Golightly's oversized black hat in Breakfast at Tiffany's. The extra sun protection (and air of mystery) are marvellous.

The second, cream-colored chapeau is a men's Scala panama hat (similar here). The men's department is my favorite source for hats with a roomier fit. Adding silky florals in soft colors is a quick, no-sew strategy to give such hats a more feminine look.

The flowers

A fabulous bold floral on a hat says confidence! Think silk, straw, and even leather. Position it above one ear, or just in front. How about a mix-and-match trio, all in a row? I'm currentlly coveting this metallic gold flower from Zoria Millinery's Etsy shop.

Click any millinery flower below to shop. Some have a pin mechanism attached, others can be secured with a safety pin.

millinery flowers

"I was never one to flatter, Miss Shirley, but that chip hat of your with the blue flower kind of sets you."

-Pauline, Anne of Windy Poplars

The hat bands

Hat bands, aka puggarees, are a time-honored way to embellish a hat without altering its silhouette. These pleated strips of fabric or straw can be secured with specially sized and shaped metal puggaree hooks. The hat band in the photo below was hand-stitched pour moi using bias-cut mercerized cotton.

straw panama hat with puggaree hat band

You can find ready-made hat bands from Sun Yorkos, a millinery supplier based in Cranford, NJ. They carry printed and solid-colored fabric puggarees, and hooks in both black and silver. There is a helpful video tutorial on inserting the hooks at the bottom of this page.

For a larger selection of solid-colored fabric and pleated sinamay straw puggarees, plus silver hooks, browse Petershams on Etsy. The shop is based in the UK, with higher shipping fees to the US. However, I've ordered from them several times and am impressed with their high-end materials.

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