Not Too Late for a Garden Party Tea

Image supplied by Stella Jurgen

Benares House in Mississauga Saturday provided the perfect location for a late season garden party and hat show. As always, we rely upon volunteers to model the hats, and this presentation was no different (as you can see by the Edwardian Bobby Dazzler in the back ground).  The oversized replica of the hat Johnny Depp wore in the movie Alice in Wonderland was exhibited Vanna White style as a remarkable piece of theatrical millinery.


Frantic Fashion from the 1950s


Frantic Fashion from the 1950s: From the drama of Dior to the domesticity of mother-and-daughter dresses, this comprehensive look at authentic 1950s fashion pieces is curated by Norma Shephard, author of 1,000 Hats, In Step With Fashion, Lingerie, Accessorizing the Bride, and the recently released Darlings of Dress; Children’s Costume 1860 to 1920. This one-hour presentation is the Mobile Millinery Museum’s feature presentation for 2017/2018. Call or email for details on this or any of our other presentations.

Darlings of Dress Now Available

new-book-cover Buy Darlings of Dress from or direct from the publisher.

This nostalgic look at children’s costume, from 1860 to 1920, reveals diverse cultural influences on its manufacture and design. More than 300 historic photographs, fashion plates, and selections from vintage catalogs and magazines, plus 115 color images, show examples of costume and accessories. See infants in period dress plus school-aged and teen fads and trends. Learn about the history of clothing use and development, fabric types, conservation and storage of textiles, and artistic inspiration, all arranged by decade. All types of clothing are represented, including christening gowns; boys’ breeches, knickerbockers, and sack suits; swimwear and underwear; bloomers and blouses; fur, feather boas, and frocks; sailor suits and uniforms; collars and belts; capes and hoods; lingerie and dresses; sweaters and cardigans; overalls; and many more. Whether you are interested in clothing children wore in 1920 or to church in the Victorian era, this reference is a fun and evocative collection.

Size: 8 1/2″ x 11″ | 395 b/w & color images | 192 pp
ISBN13: 9780764349393 | Binding: hard cover


Red Hat/No Knickers Folklore Verified

dunnville showIt turns out that what I’ve been telling audiences for years – that red hats used to be hard to come by because it was thought that women in red hats might not be wearing any knickers – was not only true, but very taken seriously by some. Today at our hat show in Dunville, a woman reported a ‘red hat’ incident that occurred years ago in England. The woman’s mother was wearing a red hat when she and her husband stepped onto a bus and overheard a couple of Irish guards casting aspersions on her character. The husband defended his wife’s honour, and when she returned home alone and the children asked where their father was, her response was “in the clink”.

Care to share a hat story of your own? I’d love to hear about it. Please contact me in the form below:


Waiting for my Fantasy in Pink

Fantasy in Pink This beauty, a hot pink sinamay straw with red feathers, is on its way to me from millinery designer Maria Curcic’s studio in B.C.  Although it is fitted with clips, I have asked Maria to add an elastic chignon strap which works best for me with a fascinator. These straps hide under the hair and are perfect for securing a forward-tilt brow hat in place.

hot pink side view    Maria’s one-of-a-kind creations always arrive promptly and in perfect condition, so I expect I will be wearing this beauty to our next retrospective millinery fashion show at the Grace United church on Friday the 26th. For more information on the Mobile Millinery Museum vintage hat and fashion shows or any hat related questions, ask the the hat show lady in the contact form below:

Mothers’ Day Hat Shows & Special Events

every hat (1)The Mobile Millinery Museum is gearing up for our busy May season once again. We kick off Mothers’ Day weekend early this year (Thursday, May 11th) with a visit to the Chartwell Montgomery Village Retirement Residence in Orangeville where we will present our signature Retrospective Millinery Fashion Show.  The Mobile Millinery Museum is home to over 2500 historical hats, half of which are featured in the popular coffee table book, 1,000 Hats. Each is a sartorial treasure evoking feelings of nostalgia and memories of special times. Edith Kennedy of the Uxbridge Historical Museum called our show “fascinating, fun, and entertaining.” The perfect accompaniment to a Mother’s Day tea, Easter or Victoria Day celebration.

May 12th it is on to Burlington’s Pearl and Pine Retirement Residence for a special vintage costume presentation entitled Beauty and the Bead. This exhibit features bead-embellished gowns, hats, jackets and handbags including a rare 1930s Jeanne Lanvin couture gown and a silk brocade opera gown embellished with three large exquisitely detailed birds. Woven into the custom textile are the words L’Oiseau Blue (The Blue Bird). The dress was made for a performance of the opera by the same name.

BesBen6On Mother’s Day weekend itself, we return to Benares House in Mississauga for two days of High Tea and a nostalgic look at 150 years of hats. We will celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial with a fashion show of historic hats spanning the years 1867 to 2017. Every Hat Tells a Story! Have you ever wondered what the Ladies of Confederation were doing while their husbands were charting a course for our country? It is likely they were fixing their bonnets and having tea. We’ll do the same Saturday May 13 and Sunday May 14 from noon till 2:00. (Overflow shows at 3:00).

Friday, May 26th we will take our Retrospective Millinery Fashion show to Grace United Church in Dunville for their fundraiser, and on and on and on…

We still have open dates, so if you’re interested in one of our presentations for your special programs contact me below: Norma Shephard



Ladies of Confederation Tea

ladies-of-confedAs Canada celebrates its 150th birthday this year, the Mobile Millinery Museum & Costume Archive has curated a travelling exhibit entitled the Ladies of Confederation Tea. In 2014, the 150th anniversary of the Charlottetown conference, my husband’s family took their places on the steps of Government House, posing in top hats to mimic that famous Fathers of Confederation image. Each was a direct descendant of David and Kessiah Shephard, former American slaves, brought to the island as personal servants of Governor John Fanning. The image got me thinking about how we celebrate our “Fathers of Confederation” and forget about the women behind these powerful men. That is why, this year, the Mobile Millinery Museum & Costume Archive will celebrate the Ladies of Confederation and those who came after, with a presentation of authentic fashion artefacts representing What Women Wore, 1867 to 1967.

To book a presentation or for info, contact: 905.220.2762,