Objects of Desire: Hats

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From the December 15, 2011 edition

Before this spring’s British royal nuptials shot the world’s fashion followers on a mad dash for classy chapeaus, Granville milliner Amy Hamilton was admittedly a little worried.

“I went through months before the wedding where I was really discouraged because of the economy,” she said. “I had been doing it for so long and I began to wonder, ‘Is this really what I should be doing?’ My hats are a luxury item. I was a little frustrated. After the royal wedding there was all this interest in fascinators. I’ve been trying to sell those for years. Thank goodness.”

Fascinators are more decorative headpieces than hats, but Hamilton’s been selling more of those since the wedding, too. There’s been so much interest, in fact, that she opened a pop-up shop in Bexley last weekend.

The shop is called Skipping Rock Farm, named after the property where Hamilton crafts hats for Granville Millinery Company, a business she founded 11 years ago.

In addition to Hamilton’s hats, which range in style from silk turbans to pillboxes, Skipping Rock Farm features a well-edited selection of classic Americana, cool preppy clothing and accessories from Mighty Hand Vintage, a local line run by textile designer Molly Lancaster.

What you won’t find here are hats that are too, shall we say, Princess Beatrice.

“I’m pretty conservative. My hats are pretty tame compared to others,” Hamilton said. “A well-made hat appears as if it’s blown together. Some hats, if you look at them, you can tell if someone really struggled with it. It will look like it’s overdone.”

Hamilton recommended trying on a variety of styles to find which one suits your bone structure the best. The hat should fit comfortably on your head, not too loose but not too tight (hers have bands that let the wearer adjust the size accordingly).

And, of course, follow that adage as old as the Queen—make sure you wear the hat and that it doesn’t wear you. You’ll know what you try it on and move around in it, Hamilton said.

“Hats are such a powerful fashion accessory,” she said. “When looking at hats and trying them on, shoppers should find something that represents their personality and the mood they want to convey.”

Objects of Desire is a bi-weekly column that explores the items Columbus shoppers crave. Follow Jackie Mantey on Twitter at @Jackie_Mantey.