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Art of Hats Studio

Want to create a unique look in your photos with a stunning headpiece but aren't sure how or where to begin? Here are some great tips from a professional milliner - Elena with Art of Hats Studio.

Q: Elena, thank you for graciously sharing your expert knowledge on hats and headpieces. Tell us about you and Art of Hats - and explain millinery.

A: Thank you for including me in your blog! If put into words - millinery is an art of making lady’s hats, but it is also so much more. It is about the history of hat-making, the proper etiquette of hat-wearing, fashion, and the latest trends in hat industry.

I was introduced to millinery in 2009, in London, UK. My family lived there for 2.5 years, during which time I took some millinery classes at the local community college. From the first day I was hooked. After moving back to USA and settling in Virginia, I continued my millinery endeavor. I started with making headpieces for friends and family and soon orders started coming from friend of the friends - the word continued to spread about my work, so in 2017, Art of Hats Studio was born.

Of course, I continue to learn new techniques, through online and in-person classes from world renowned masters and even from small niche artisans. Millinery is such a great field with so many different options for creativity and technical abilities.

Q: For someone who has never worn a stylish headpiece before and wants to wear one for their photos, what tips do you have to help them look their best and feel comfortable doing it?

A: For somebody who is a novice to a hat-wearing, I would say - go small. Comfort and feeling good about yourself are particularly important. A veil, small fascinator, or even a beret would be my picks to ease one into the wonderful world of millinery. With that said, however, I also urge my clients to put on something that is completely out of their comfort zone. It is just a photo, try and see yourself in a different light. I cannot describe how it warms my heart when ladies look at themselves on the picture and just gaze in disbelief on how beautiful they look.

Katie Moretti - Pampered Chef Consultant

Katie Moretti - Pampered Chef Consultant

Q: How far in advance should a client contact you to request a customized headpiece?

A: It would depend on many factors – whether it is during a busy season, do I have all the supplies on hands, how complicated the headpiece would be, etc. Generally, for something that would require customization (such as matching a specific outfit), I would recommend at least 5-6 weeks. For something that I have created before and client can choose from my portfolio, 3-4 weeks is a good timing. Of course, I always have a ready-to-wear selection of headpieces available on my website and Instagram shop.

Q: What services do you offer? Virtual/in-person consults, fittings, design, repair, rental?

A: I offer all of that, except for repair. I also offer group and private workshops and presentations about all-things-hats. Lately, I have started collaborating with photographers for styled/themed photography sessions that they offer to their clients who look for elegant settings and styles.

Q: What style headpiece would recommend for an expecting mother to wear during her professional maternity photography session? How about for a couples/engagement photography session? Or even for individual professional headshots?

A: For maternity photos, I would go with my favorite veil again. I think, when properly made and properly worn, it adds such a glow and softens the look. Probably not a black one, but in soft, elegant colors – blue, light gray, olive, even pink. For a couples/engagement photos – there is no end to the possibilities! For each mood/theme of the session – there are headpieces for both individuals. I see increased popularity of matching hats – panamas, berets, newsboy hats, etc. As for individual professional photos go – that would, of course, depend on the profession. Probably not a choice for corporate lawyer look, but absolutely a possibility for many creative fields. Again, I would go with a small piece that keeps the face open. Button hat, headband with a small flowers/feathers or a bandeau would do a wonderful job.

Q: How can people get in touch with you?

A: Easiest way is to send me a private message on Instagram @artofhats or Facebook @artofhats. You can also email me at - I check my messages/emails daily and will get back to you within 12 hours or sooner. Or visit my website.  


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