The Art of Hat Making

Derby Hat Sale….

Let this off Kentucky Derby year be your win.  I am featuring a selection of the hats we pre made for this year’s derby at crazy steals.  I never like to see them hang around for too long (or I won’t have room for new ideas) and would rather seem them on your heads than packed away in storage boxes.  If you always wanted one of our couture hats or are planning to go to the derby in a future year, don’t sleep on this one!  The sale hats do not come with boxes (unfortunately) and there will be minimal shipping added onto the larger hats.  Porch pick up is free as always!

 

House of MacGregor 3.0

After closing the Bishop Art’s location last month I took a few weeks to regroup and came to the conclusion that the best move in our current climate for the house of hats is in my own backyard. We are converting a detached garage into the new HOM and have I got a deal for you I am selling tickets to the hottest post corona brunch in town with Rob’s famous homemade bagels, oodles of mimosas, and @elliott_munoz photography on hand to capture your chic ness in the greenery of our backyard setting while you get the first peak at the new HOM. I will also be doing a drawing for a free men’s and women’s hat so even if you can’t make the party, you can still win a hat. All proceeds will go to the building of the new hat shop. Info and tickets are available on our Shopify page, link below. My new motto is “the house that friends built.”

Barn Raiser for the New HOM

Adaptation

I am so sad to say that we are closing the Bishop St. location and moving the hat shop into an at home studio for the time being.  We packed up all the hats over the 4th of July weekend and had a chance to reflect on how stunning that space has been!  The pride I feel when looking at Haylee Ryan’s beautiful mural in the courtyard, the way Stash Designs interior elevated the hats in a way they had deserved for years, and the sunlight pouring in from the sky light on the desk in the round is so hard to walk away from.  I had so many hopes for this next incarnation of the HOM and the memories I wanted to make with our clients and friends there.  It felt like I had just gotten everything up on the walls in mid February and then quarantine arrived in March.

I have a small business that really depends on the big horse racing events and weddings in the spring/summer to stay afloat.  Having those canceled has been devastating to the financials and the addition of 3 young kids at home for the foreseeable future has put a huge limitation on my time.  I know that so many other women around the world are feeling that pinch right now too.  The good news is that I am still in business.  The on line sales have been growing and I have been meeting a sweet group of clients in the sweltering heat (but safety) of our front yard.  I love my clients so much and have desperately missed meeting with you guys face to face.  I feed off the energy of collaborating with you all for your special occasions and that is part of the magic of making custom hats.

The social responsibility I have to be safe and not spread this virus more has weighed heavily on me.  My space is TINY at Bishop and the science has been consistent that enclosed air in tight quarters is not a good idea.  I don’t think we needed to be in such a bad spot four months in and I am pretty angry at people in positions of influence who turned mask wearing into a political act and not a public safety one.  I am watching my counterparts in other parts of the world return to some sort of normalcy and Texas seems to be moving in the opposite direction.  For the sake of our health and the economy, please wear a damn mask!  I want my kids to go back to school and my business to come back to life again.

If you haven’t checked out our Shopify site yet, please do!  It’s a great way to see what hats are available and the new styles that are out.  If you are a derby hat person, I am putting this entire current season at 30-50% off.  Tell a friend! I’ve NEVER done a discount like that and it is a great chance to pick up something fabulous while we are regrouping for a new year.  I will be posting new pictures for the rest of this month of inventory hats that are available.  I am still taking custom hat orders, making new summer hats, and working on the “hat home” studio.  Life demanded a pivot and I think making this move now is going to keep the HOM stronger and help me be more creative with the hats in the years to come.

If you live in the neighborhood and want to do a porch pick up, remember to enter PORCHPICKUP as a discount code in Shopify to remove the shipping.  I am available anytime to answer questions and give recommendations.  If you would like to try somethings on in person, we can make an appointment for a picnic table fitting!  Thank you all for your support during this crazy time, every sale is appreciated and you are helping to keep me in business.  Stay safe and stay in touch!  As you can see, we are still making people smile…even from home.

https://the-house-of-macgregor.myshopify.com

 

An interesting few months….

Well, it’s been an interesting few months but we are still making hats and incredibly grateful to all our wonderful clients that are keeping us in business right now.  Every sale counts, not just to keep the lights on but for the creative outlet that hat’s has always given me.  It’s become even more important and every hat I’ve made lately has a little “extra” in there because, there is no time like the present.  In adapting to this new world, our Shopify site has grown and been a really convenient source to purchase hats.  My actual studio space is so small it is currently remaining closed while we figure out the safest way to have people back in there.  I have derby hats up, headbands, summer hats, etc. ready to be sent to your heads.  Speaking of the derby, the rescheduled one is getting closer by the day.  Feel free too reach out via email or text with outfit ideas and I can send back hat ideas.  Contact info:

info@thehouseofmacgregor.com

214-942-1966

the-house-of-macgregor.myshopify.com

Documentation of the last few months from home!

A Re-Scheduled Kentucky Derby, a Pandemic, and Home Schooling Kids

I hope that everyone is staying home, staying safe, and washing their hands.  The hat shop is still making hats and I am sorting through what my home studio situation looks like with kids in tow.  On the plus side, maybe they will learn to sew and can put all my labels in!  If you ordered a Kentucky Derby hat, the race has been rescheduled to September 5th, which is great news.  The outfit you intended to wear in May will look perfect then too.  I worked diligently all through March to make sure we had everyone’s supplies in the studio for custom hats so no need to worry about materials not arriving, production will just be a little slower on my end.

We are re-imagining hat shop 2.0 in this age of social distancing.  Keep an eye out for a Shopify site in the next week to make on line ordering go smoother and perhaps a virtual hat class or two.  The easiest way to get updates is to follow us on Facebook or Instagram (the_house_of_macgregor) and you can always text me at 214-942-1966.  I am so grateful for your support!  Please stay safe-

Cassie

How far out are we cancelling events???

Is the derby happening? Welcome to the elephant in my room…I am concerned and taking the same health precautions as the rest of y’all right now and, like all small business owners, am judging the financial risks too. Hat makers across the country are really kept afloat by one big event, the Kentucky Derby. While we can’t predict the state of affairs by May, I am taking the approach to get those custom hat orders in ASAP so we can get all the supplies into the studio in Dallas and I can get you in your dream hat. If worse comes to worse, you already have your look for next year…

I will be by appointment the week of March 16th while my kids are off for spring break and we have a week to see where this is headed.  I am completely available to email pictures back and forth and send videos of our current stock.  A little retail therapy might cheer us all up!  Please email me any questions or text me at 214-942-1966.

Thank you and wash your hands!

Cassie

Custom Derby Hat Orders!

March has started off with a bang on custom derby hat orders, which is always welcome.  If you are planning on a custom hat for this May’s race, might I recommend ordering it in the next week or two.  Let’s be on the safe side and get all those supplies in the studio this month while the market’s are a little in flux.  Collaborating with clients on the right hat for their outfits is so invigorating and one of the best parts of this season.  Make an appointment to bring your dress by the studio!  You can pick the hat style you like and I will make it to match your dress.  I am available Tuesday- Saturday for appointments.

I am stocking our shelves with derby and luncheon hats as fast as my hands will sew and creative ideas come to mind!  Sketching, daydreaming, museum visits, and collaborating with clients is the fountain all my ideas come from.  If you are headed to the derby, we stop taking custom orders on April 1st but after that I will have plenty of in stock hats available too.  I am in Tuesday- Saturday’s but appointments are best so we will be relatively uninterrupted.  Here are some pictures of this months creative process including a trip to Crystal Bridges in Arkansas.

Kentucky Derby 101: What To Wear, When to Wear It, and All About Hats!

After sending people to the Kentucky Derby for over 20 years, there is so much that my clients have taught me! So, as the weather warms up and we start to daydream about ice cold mint juleps, fancy fascinators, and Derby fashion, I wanted to share a little Kentucky Derby 101 for all of my friends who want to look the part on that special day at the track.

The History of Kentucky Derby Hats

Dating back to the famous Royal Ascot in 1711, it was ordered that guests in the Royal Enclosure follow a strict dress code including hats for women during the English horse races. When Col. Meriweather Lewis Clark traveled to the Grand Prix de Paris in 1872, he came back to America determined to establish a similar high-profile horse race. Clark and his wife enlisted the ladies of Louisville to attend the races to picnic with friends. According to Time Magazine, they knew part of creating the allure for the event would be positioning it as a fashion event so the dress code required “full morning dress” for men and women from the start. Today, patrons of the Kentucky Derby, taking place on the first Saturday in May each year, have been putting their fashion sense on parade since 1875.

What To Know Before You Go

There are a few simple rules to follow at the Derby:

  1. The most important characteristic of a Kentucky Derby hat is originality. Don’t be afraid to show off your personality with your hat!
  2. Let your hat be the star of the show by pairing it with a simple dress – and of course, make it sure matches. At HOM we always say, pick a dress to match your hat!
  3. If you are picking a hat before April 15th, I recommend finding your dress first. It helps narrow down your field of hat choices and makes deciding on a shape easier. We love it when people come in with 4 or 5 dresses as it gives us some latitude in what to wear it with. If you are coming in after April 15th, don’t panic. We still have lots of hats! However, there are way more dress options at that point than hats. Make life easier on yourself and pick a hat first, then find something to match.
  4. All of our hats come with boxes to make traveling easier. If it is under 22″, the box can be your airplane carry-on. Otherwise, you will need to check it with your luggage or ship it to your hotel in advance. I recommend mailing it priority 3-day, scheduled to arrive the Wednesday before so you have a few buffer days if something happens in transit.
  5.  Your hat should go down on the right, not the left, so nothing will be in your way as you watch the horses come around the track.
  6. Pick an outfit that you can wear all day and will pair well with a jacket, flats, and can handle rain. It’s not the time for flimsy fabric that might become inappropriate when wet.
  7. Again weather…it can be hot or humid or rainy or cold. Be prepared for any and all weather situations! Your outfit needs to be a bit of a chameleon.
  8. We see a lot of fascinators on Oaks Day and big hats on Derby Day. They can be packed in the same box and it gives you different looks for your photos. That being said, it is not hard a hard and fast rule. There are few occasions to wear these kinds of hats anymore (unless you are a British royal), so this is the chance to let your fantasies come out!
  9. Your hat style depends on your seats! In the seated area at Churchill Downs, known as Millionaires Row, you will see big brims and stylish fascinators. This is mostly because you don’t have to worry about rain or wind ruining your previous investment. These hats tend to be stylish and elegant, adorned with giant silk flowers, large bows, and beautiful ribbons. Whereas, in the infield, hats tend to be more eclectic and exotic. You will see more of a variety of shapes and sizes. Hats are not required in the Infield but trendsetters typically use hats to express their personalities here.
  10. There are rules on purse size BUT not hat size!

What is Oaks Day?

The Longines Kentucky Oaks is the race for 3-year-old fillies – female horses – held on the day before the Derby. The race was also established in 1875 and celebrates fashion and fundraising for critical women’s health issues. On Oaks Day you “pink out!” The historic race track is decorated in pink bunting and the more than 100,000 guests are asked to prominently incorporate pink into their attire in an effort to raise funds and drive national attention to the fight against breast and ovarian cancer. The event culminates in the Survivors Parade – a march of breast and ovarian cancer survivors that takes place on the racetrack.

Oaks Day Fashion

If you are planning to attend the Kentucky Oaks, you are encouraged to wear any color as long as it is PINK! From hats to handkerchiefs, suits to sundresses, sunglasses to stilettos! They even have the Oak Fashion Contest where you can show off your pink duds for an opportunity to win a Longines timepiece. Fashion is a key element of Oaks Day. It’s a day to get dressed in your finest, frilliest, most feminine attire and have a great time with the girls!

The HAT is the most traditional and important accessory on Oaks Day (headbands and fascinators are perfectly acceptable, too). So, start thinking now about your Kentucky Oaks ensemble – and extra points for wearing PINK!

Derby Tips

  1. Lather on the SPF – it’s nearly summertime in the Bluegrass State!
  2. Pick your horses the night before. You’ll want to head to the gambling line first thing!
  3. Ditch your heels! If you’re in the Infield, pack a pair of flats. Trust us.
  4. Practice: “Lou-a-vul” not “Lou-is-ville.” If you want to fit in with the locals.
  5. Don’t forget your bow tie, boys!
  6. Stop by the Brown Hotel for an Haute Brown. Arguably Kentucky’s most famous snack.
  7. Grab a piece of Derby Pie from Kern’s Kitchen.
  8. Enjoy a Mint Julep.
  9. Bring an umbrella with you to Kentucky. You can’t bring it inside the track, but if it is a gusher, you aren’t trying to buy one there with everyone else.
  10. If it is raining, carry your hats into the track in a plastic bag. Once inside, you can throw away the bag and don your topper.

Padded Headband Class

I am so excited to utilize my new space by offering millinery classes this year!  We are starting off with something cosy and fun.  Join me on Thursday, February 20th from 7-8:30 pm to bead, feather, and veil a padded headband.  I’ll provide some nibbles, drinks, and assistance..you bring creativity and conversation.  $85 per person and I have slots for 7 in the studio.  Message me for more info!  Walk away looking like your own Princess Kate or Megan.