Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Millinery: Now a "Top Ten" Item!

I am SO delighted to read in this month's Harper's Bazaar that the hat has made the top ten of "Must Have" fashion accessories for Fall 2007.

Anyone who followed even one fashion show, (or even just got a glance at one) couldn't help but notice that HUGE hats and TINY cocktail hats topped all the triangular shaped garments displayed on the catwalks.

Very cool!

Then, as I was longing for a touch of autumn, the September 2007 Nordstrom catalogue arrived in the mail. I sighed with pleasure to see this fabulous hat gracing the cover:

The magazine was very glossy, so it was hard to get a great picture (I really need to learn how to operate our scanner...) but you can see it is a wonderful grey fedora, with a sporty collection of autumnal feathers trimming the temple.

Love it, love it, LOVE IT!

I flipped through the catalog, desperate to learn who had created this millinery masterpiece, and how much it might cost.

And....I found zero information.
That's right, the most eye catching feature of the cover was given no additional data.

So I went to the online catalog.

Again....nada. Zip. Zero information.

Now as an Information Science professional, that got my dander up, so I grabbed the phone and called their toll free number.
After being warned that my conversation might be being recorded, I was connected to a pleasant sounding woman.
I asked her about the cover story hat.

She had no information.
She put me on hold with that seductive nightclub scene type music while she went to try to find something out.

She came back, saying it was "Fedora"

I told her I knew it was a fedora, I wanted to know who made it and how much it cost.

She put me back on the sleazy music while she went to try to find out more information.
Eventually (it was a while) she returned, telling me that the brand was "Fedora."
And that only a few stores carried it, and if I wanted one, I would have to order it.

I said I was actually interested in seeing it, and was there one in the Houston store.

Apparently the stores that do have it, have only one, and other stores who do not have the hat (which included all of Texas...) will have to request those stores with the hat share their one hat.

AND....I would need to go to my local Nordstroms here in Houston and make that request in person.

I said that was all well and good, but before I would drive down to our Nordstroms (an hour drive, by the way) I would want to know the price of the hat.


Now that was impressive. That is a really reasonable amount of money for this hat, as far as I am concerned.

Just to be sure, I said "So, if I want this hat, I have to drive down to my local Nordstroms, and request "Fedora" at $148, and they will ship the hat to me, right?"


I would need to drive down to my Nordstroms and ask them to look up which stores HAVE the hat, and they will need to know the UPC code.

(wait for it...)

And the UPC code is?

Number 429395941833

Now my husband managed to spend enough money on himself at Nordstrom to earn himself a personal shopper, a woman who makes it possible for him to breeze into a store, and have shirts, suits, ties, jackets, pants, and anything else he wants all ready pulled and in a dressing room awaiting his approval. She brings him coffee, and makes phone calls to find the items he wants in different colors or sizes. The items arrive in our home a few days later, or after the tailor fits the items to his body.

He loves this. I think it is amazing.

He wanted me to experience the same time saving service last November.
It was really interesting to have a woman I did not know racing around pulling outfits for me and grabbing various sizes and suggesting accessories for me while I sipped coffee in a private dressing room.
(Her taste ran to a much bigger dollar amount per item than mine does, but ultimately selling is her job. My job is to demand that the overpriced garment fits me. Three fitting trips later, I finally got what I wanted in pants.)

I think I will order this hat. I'll give the PS a chance to shine, and I'll probably have to return it because I wear a size 22 1/2.

I'll bet you anything that the hat is only available in size 22.

It won't fit, but I still want to see it.

And I know once I return it to our Houston store, it will stay in our Houston store, and maybe I get to see someone here wearing that hat on a fine autumn day.

And according to the lady on the phone, "Fedora" was a Nordstrom brand.
Why don't I believe that?

A few pages later in the same catalog was yet another cute hat.
It kind of reminds me of the vintage navy felt hat that one of my friends owns.
(Maybe she will post a picture of that hat one of theses days, after she sews up a coat to match...navy patent leather is going to be in this spring by the way.)

Nordstoms declined to tell anything about this hat in its catalog, but a few keystrokes later, I had accessed the Nordstrom's online catalog and discovered this cute cloche was actually velvet over felted rabbit fur, it was imported and was available in black or brown. No gray like in the catalog's picture.

Go figure.

At $118, it is a very do-able price.
At exactly 22 inches in size, only a few will be able to wear it, regardless of the price.
(Imagine selling only size 8 shoes...period. How quickly would most folks decide to no longer wear shoes? Pretty darn quickly!)

I think Nordstroms could be more "do-able" about their catalog, so I left them a comment, suggesting that the electronic catalog match the hard copy catalog.

What the catalog was really interested in informing us about was the fact that clunky lace up shoes like my grandmother wore will really look fabulous with scrunchy heavy socks AND heavy textured tights.
Personally, I like cable knit tights. I owned a pair for 30 years, and just ditched them last January.
I just can't quite picture cable knit socks with grey knitted wool scrunched socks and big ol' shoes on me.

Of course, if you can wear a hat, no one will be looking at your feet anyway, so this warm yet ugly style will be just perfect if Global Warming falls through and we have a cold winter after all.

But remember: Most body heat is loss through the head, not the feet.
If your feet are cold, just put on a hat!
You'll look cuter that way anyway, don't you think?


Ladygrande said...

Don't buy that hat!!!!! Nordstroms is quite close to my office - will go by after work and check it out. Let you know tomorrow.


Lovella said...

I smiled the whole way through this post. That is quite an accomplishment for the way I'm feeling today.
I thought the hat was quite exquisite myself. I did actually love the second one . .funny thing is it reminds me of a hat too.

Sara said...

This is a fascinating saga, and I look forward to the final hat solution....

And, hey, if us tall Amazon, or should I say Valkyrie? Viking? types wore those grandma shoes with the 4 inch heels, our heads would be so far up in the clouds that no one would see the fabulous hats on our heads!

I sometimes envy normal-heighted women who can wear the really high heels, cause they are, after all, very flattering. Maybe 40 years and 40 pounds ago I got away with it, but no longer! Simple and comfortable is my motto these days.

Thoughts on Life and Millinery. said...

Love the way high heels look...as what my grandmom called "sittin' shoes." Just clip into an event, cross your legs and let those darling shoes dangle!

Right now I am a Crocs girl, 24/7.
I'm at work, in a deep navy Jones New York pants suit, striped blue shirt and bright pink crocs.
Oh, and a pink cotton scarf knotted (wet) around my neck to stave off hot flashes until the air conditioning kicks into Artic Tundra level again later tonight.

Sara said...

Ah yes, hot flashes! Been there, done that, and now and then, still doing that. I discovered recently, cause it's been so hot at night, if I take a Colpac (CT uses them for his headaches) out of the freezer, wrap it in a clean dishtowel, and put it against the back of my neck, I sleep a lot better...

Becky said...

You make me smile! Loved the hats too, and the prices seemed to be quite the bargain! You should order both! At least then they will be both be in the Houston area. I would love a shopper! The idea of someone else hunting through the racks and finding something suitable for my migrating body parts would be divine! I could live without those shoes. Not practical enough for my life style, and bunched up socks, well I always am tugging trying to prevent that! Oh, I am so not fashion savy!

Julie said...

Loved how you didn't give up and hunted down the info until you got it !!
148.00 sounds like a good price for the gorgeous hat...I'll be waiting for the photo with it on YOUR head!

Kate said...

Good for you for pursuing Nordies! How else will they learn that there is a market out there to be tapped? Hats are lovely to look at in mags but not many buy (yet) which is why stores don't stock many hats - especially in Big Hair Land (Texas). Nordstrom is usually better than most with accessories -at least in the Northeast. You'll have to come visit me in Virginia and I'll take you to Landmark. Wow!

My friend Nicole M. used to have a lovely Mrs. Smith at Sakowitz who was in charge of the millinery department. She knew hats, knew what worked on Nicole and that she loved hats. Mrs. Smith would call Nicole soon as the good ones came in to alert her and she'd gone in and try and buy. THOSE were the days! Alas, gone.

My pet peeve is that stylists are usually ignorant about hats and don't know how to present them - as in that second hat which doesn't fit the model. Think also, those awful Prada turbans last year. How can ladies be attracted to and buy hats when they look so goofy even on a model?

We must set good examples and show how it is done. There are many, many more hats out there now so we can strike while the iron is hot. After all, haven't we already done those legwarmer scrunchie things? Also, granny shoes?

FYI: both Louis Vuitton and Hermes are showing very expensive (and quite plain actually) hats in the European mags. I take that as a sign that the purse market is saturated and hats are the last untapped market. Yay!!!!!

K Q:-)

Ladygrande said...

My research at Nordstroms last evening revealed the following:
The hats are lovely, but they do not include the feathers. They are decorated with "fake" ribbon feathers - not as shown on the cover of the catalog. Nice though! It tried on several, and they fit - which was very surprising. Most ready-made hats are too small for me.
The shoes were awesome! Wish I could wear them - I am short enough to need the height, but can't walk in them. The flats made me wish I had saved my Vegas money (almost, but not quite)! The shoes are worth a trip, but the hats are not, Jill.