What are hats made from?

Black wedding/raceday Hatinator

Our beautiful quality hats, hatinators and fascinators come in all shapes, sizes and colours, while most of our headwear is basically made from two different materials.

Sea Green wedding hatinator
Sea Green wedding hatinator

Our more traditional mother of the bride or groom hats and fascinators are made from sinamay – a natural product made from the stalks of the abaca tree, which is a relative of the banana palm.  These grow naturally in the Philippines and, in their natural state, can be any shade from white, through brown, purple, red or black, depending on the variety.

Mother of the Bride or Groom
Dyed sinamay – ready to be made into hats and fascinators

Once dried and dyed, the stalks can be moulded into shape and are the most popular material used in hat making today. Our lovely Simply Devine mother of the bride or groom creations are exceptional quality, often with two or three layers of sinamay to ensure a deeper shade which also makes it less flimsy.

It has a straw-like feel and can be easily knocked out of shape, so it’s always best to keep it in a hat box when not in use, and NEVER get it wet.

Hot pink Mother of the Bride/Groom hatinator
Gorgeous mother of the bride/groom crin fascinator with quills and feather flowers

The second most used fabric is crin.  Originally made from horsehair from the animal’s mane or tail, it is now man-made from polyester.

Crin is very versatile and often shimmers in sunlight so your fascinator can completely change colour in different lights. It is also much more durable and can spring back into shape more easily.

Women's fascinators
Royal Ascot Hatinator

It is the decoration which finishes off a hat or fascinator perfectly.  Feathers are always popular, but they do tend to increase the price since they can be very expensive.  Quills and sticks dyed to match will complete the look but are easily bent or broken, so need careful handling.

Metallo Blue crin mother of the bride/groom hatinator lavishly trimmed with feather flowers
A stunning hatinator in Metallo (a beautiful pale sky blue)

Flowers in silk or even crin add a feminine touch, while curled sinamay or bows are always popular.  Personally, I love those with diamante, beads or pearls and veiling which, if you look back to movies from the 30s and 40s, created an air of mystery! I love to hear customers when they voice what they like and what they don’t want.  Some ladies tell us they don’t like flowers, others don’t want feathers, some love bows and silks, while some want plain and simple and others want to make a statement. We are all different, so want a different look for a special day.

Ladies hats and fascinators
Pretty as a picture, this little diamante fascinator has it all

Old-fashioned straw hats epitomise lazy summer days – remember straw boaters? These tend to be lightweight, damage easily, but are great for keeping the UV rays off your face during the hot months.

Full hats sit comfortably on the head, but can come in different sizes, while fascinators tend to sit on a thin band, with lighter decoration.  Heavier hatinators are a cross between a hat and a fascinator, sitting on a wider band – rather like an Alice band which most of us wore in our childhood.  The bands are usually plastic, covered and often padded for extra comfort.  Most of our hatinators come complete with a comb attached to ensure they stay perfectly in place on your head.

Ladies navy winter hats and fascinators
Navy Felt Fascinator on a slim band

Of course, hats and fascinators can be made from other materials, silk, cotton, fur, wool and felt. 

Men's top Hat
Ascot top hats for men

Men’s top hats were traditionally made from beaver fur until silk became more fashionable.  Unfortunately, the silk to make these is no longer available unless you can find one which is vintage, most are now made from felt or wool. Real fur of course is not popular in the UK but it is surprising how many fur coats, hats and embellishments are still for sale in Europe.

Faux fur lynx huff
Perfect for those chilly days – a faux fur huff to keep your ears toasty!

Simply Devine has a small collection of winter hats, from felt fedoras to berets, bobble hats and faux fur.  Our fun huffs – a thick faux fur band to keep your ears toasty – come in a variety of colours and are lightweight and easy to wear.

Versatile silk and wool pashminas, worn over the shoulder or as a summer wrap, double up as a scarf for the winter months. Simply Devine has a collection of beautiful pashminas in every colour. Match your pashmina to your coat or add a splash of vibrant colour to your dark winter clothing.