How to Enjoy my Books for Free


Yesterday, a friend and writing colleague told me she asked her local library to order in my latest book: Darlings of Dress: Children’s Costume 1860 – 1920. They did, and she is thrilled to know she’ll be the first to crack open that brand new book.

If you’re a card-carrying member of a public library you can do the same. It’s possible to do it in person or on-line. Give them the name of the book, the author (be sure and spell Shephard with an “A”), and they should be able to find it.

If you’d rather own the book, mine are all available from The fashion history books above are published by Schiffer Books & Dear Harry can be found at Volumes Books.

But, hey, why not read them for free!

So, talk to your  local librarian, ask for the book of your choice, and enjoy. Leave me a comment to let me know how you make out.

Celebrate the Royal Wedding with a Hat Show or Vintage Wedding Gown Exhibit

This is not the first time I’ve been asked to participate in a Royal Wedding Celebration. Yes, we have to get up at six if we want to observe the nuptuals in real time, but how about relaxing with tea and a hat show or vintage wedding gown presentation in the afternoon?

Royal Wedding 1

The Mobile Millinery Museum‘s trademark Retrospective Millinery Fashion Show is popular with church groups, the Red Hatters, and seniors’ groups, and ideal for Mothers’ Day, Easter, and Victoria Day celebrations as well as Royal Wedding Teas.

Here are some details about our vintage fashion presentations which are available year round:

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.” But, we’re not just about hats.

Say Yes to the Wedding Dress Exhibit: As seen in Today’s Bride Magazine and the Hamilton Spectator, this presentation from the Mobile Millinery Museum & Costume Archive features a collection of antique and vintage bridal fashion showcasing iconic wedding gowns from the 1860s to the 1980s. Many of the gowns are featured in the book Accessorizing the Bride; Vintage Bridal Fashion Through the Decades and were included in an exhibit of vintage bridal fashion at Toronto’s Casa Loma in 2001. An ideal presentation for June or a Valentine’s Day tea.

Each year we feature a special, exhibit – for 2018 we are trotting out our 1950s collection in a presentation titled “Frantic Fashion from the 1950s“.

We can’t be everywhere at the same time, so book early, or call to enquire about our other vintage fashion presentations.

#vintagehats #hatshows #royalwedding #museumhats #hatmuseum #NormaShephard




Are you a Hat Fancier, but don’t Fancy Wearing a Hat?

In honour of my recent Miriam Haskell find at Winners (I didn’t even know the MH brand was still around), I thought I would get you woke about the awesome hats which used to appear in the Miriam Haskell ads from the 1930s and’40s. PIctured are a few classic styles: A 1930s pixie hat, a ’40s tilt/doll hat in fur, and a straw boater from the ’30s.

But first a word about those great Miriam Haskell jewelry designs. According to Lori Verderame “Miriam Haskell’s jewelry was worn by some of the most famous fashion icons of the day like Coco Chanel, Jackie Kennedy, Joan Crawford, Marilyn Monroe, and Audrey Hepburn” (Collectors Journal, Feb. 2018).

Just check out those old Lucy shows; you will see the comedienne wearing some Miriam Haskell pieces on camera there as well.


The costume jewelry pieces were known for their intricacy and wow factor. I mean, back in the day, what better way to rock a new hat than with some Miriam Haskell jewellery? The reverse is true as well, of course. But a peek at those prices on the MH website might be a bit of a deterrent.


Have you noticed that the jewelry in these ads is featured in suites? The bracelets match the necklace and clips? And how about the hat and fur stole in image #2? I don’t ever want to hear that less is more. The look is complete perfection, even if it is a little pricey. There have been certain fashion decades when “matchy matchy” ruled the day. You’ll find it again in the ‘60s when women used to have their silk stilettos dyed to match a dress or suit.


But back to the hats: these styles from the ’30s and ’40s are some of my favourites; I feature many of them (the real full-colour historic artefacts) in my book 1,000 Hats. So, if you’re a hat fancier, but don’t fancy wearing a hat, you can collect these beautiful images, or come to one of my retrospective millinery fashion shows, and be photographed in the real thing!

Don’t forget to wear your jewelry!

My 2017 Hat Pick of the Year

Three Things about my 2017 Hat Pick of the Year that you must Experience for Yourself

MARIA CURCIC HEADPIECEWhen I founded the Mobile Millinery Museum back in 1999, my focus was on preserving the lost millinery treasures of the past. I had no idea of the glory to come as modern designers would take up the mantle of hat making, and move millinery into the 21st century.

At the time, millinery had fallen so far out of fashion that mainstream museums were refusing to accept beautiful couture pieces, and were showing fabulous fashions of the past without the wonderful hats that completed the silhouette.  Keen to preserve as much millinery history as I could, I collected and catalogued over 2,500 vintage fashion hats, over half of which are showcased in the book 1,000 Hats. I continue to collect and exhibit vintage millinery, but I have also developed a passion for the many new and exciting pieces being crafted by today’s designers…which brings me to my pick for the 2017 HAT of the YEAR award.

I selected this beauty back in December after perusing the websites of my favourite designers. The hat arrived last week. Here are three things about it that you must experience for yourself to appreciate my choice.

  • Bragging Rights to the Maria Curcic Label: This Paris-born designer’s pieces are recognized internationally, and have been featured in so many fashion periodicals that even she has lost count.
  • Fit and Stability: Slip this on, then have that cocktail and feel free to toss your head back and laugh. The hat won’t slip. That’s a must for me when giving one-hour presentations. Gone are the days when every city, town, and village boasted a millinery shop on every corner. Women enjoyed personal relationships with their hat maker, and attended from one to three fittings for each custom piece. Many of today’s milliners do strictly online business, and create mail-order treasures that fit without the fitting. Curcic is a master at this. Send her the size of your head circumference, and she’ll do the rest.
  • Living the fantasy: Psychologists call it enclothed cognition, the effect that garments have on the wearer’s psychological processes; couture fashion hats have provided women with an emotional and psychological boost for centuries. In other words, you will love how this hat makes you feel.



Talking Darlings of Dress

D of D promo

The Darlings of Dress interview with Harry Rinker is now archived on Go to the website, click on “Archives/Podcast” on the toolbar, select WHATCHA GOT? in the pop-up window, click on Sunday, January 7 The interview will occur approximately 30 minutes into the second hour of the program.

Source: Whatcha Gotinterview

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:


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