The Simply Devine hat and special occasion wear shop has been dressing mothers of the bride and groom, and race goers for almost 19 years from its base in Tadcaster.
Ladies have travelled from far and wide to visit the shop – even camping outside in the local pub car park. The reason being that all of the merchandise at Simply Devine is high quality.
Our prices are not at the lower end of the market, neither are they at the top end, but somewhere in the middle.
We are always happy to help our customers, whatever their budget, but quality comes at a price. You can certainly find cheap hats and fascinators on the high street and in department stores. At Simply Devine, however, we create our designs with three layers of sinamay – the material used in the making of most occasion hats and fascinators. Sinamay is a natural straw product derived from the leaves of the abaca tree.
The quality comes from how the fabric is woven. A loose weave is much cheaper, but the tighter the weave, the stronger and more durable the hat or fascinator will be. Simply Devine hats and fascinators are not only tightly woven, but owner Liz Devine-Wright insists on using three layers of sinamay, which allows the hat or hatinator to keep its shape.
All the hatinator or fascinator pieces she designs also have a small translucent comb stitched underneath to ensure a snug fit and that the piece will stay on the customer’s head during a windy day. And those which have an Alice band are often hand padded and then covered with silk or satin.
While sinamay is quite durable, it still needs careful handling, and should not be worn in the rain. Crin, on the other hand is the shiny man-made fabric which is much more durable and shimmers in the sunlight.
Feather decoration tends to be quite expensive, as these are also natural and come from a variety of birds – coque feathers are the tail feathers of roosters, while guinea fowl, ostrich and peacock feathers speak for themselves. These are humanly sourced from the birds, which should suffer no cruelty if they are collected naturally.
Quills are made from either geese or swans and are the same fibre – keratin – as nails and hair, so are quite easy to shape using warm water and a hair dryer, then hand-painted to match. Many of those beautiful accessories such as pearls and diamantes are added by hand.
Contrast these with small mass-produced fascinators made from ribbon and nylon, and it’s easy to see where the cost goes.
And if you’re looking at bespoke designs – such as the headwear made by the royal milliners to match each outfit, you can be looking at several thousand pounds.
So before you decide a hat or fascinator is too expensive, spare a thought for the milliner who has had the creative thoughts and brought them to fruition. After all, if you’re spending £1000 on a mother of the bride or groom outfit, would you want to spoil the effect by wearing a cheap hat?