Drum roll for a popular hat…with dissection

Popular hat drumroll

Ladies and Gentleman, prepare to be unsurprised when I reveal to you the most popular hat from my September craft fair. This top hat doesn’t appear to have magical powers.

A popular hat at A Fair in the Park, Pittsburgh, PA


Yet, visitors tried the hat on again and again and really enjoyed themselves.


The most popular hat at A Fair in the Park was a blue grey top hat.


Interestingly, while I do have a custom order for a green version, the blue grey top hat is available HERE.



Surprisingly, there’s wonderful people-watching that occurs when visitors enter a maker’s tent and walk nearer to the display. Hats come to life when tried on. More importantly, in putting on a hat, the wearer is transformed. She will stand differently — taller and more confidently. Then, if she likes what she see, her eyes sparkle when she looks in the mirror. This goes for guys, too.


But Why?

Truly, understanding why a person buys anything is a bit of mystery. Psychologists and marketeers study this stuff — and it will vary from day to day in one person as we may know of our own purchases. What is it that makes certain hats get tried on again and again? WHY that hat?  What makes a particular hat a popular hat? Most of all, why would a maker want to know?

A popular hat is easy to decipher style-wise.

Familiar Style

As I’m neither a psychologist nor marketeer, I would hazard that a hat is more compelling when it’s in a ‘known shape’ which is easy to decipher. Not surprisingly, the most popular hat from the fair is a stylized top hat.  One can look at it and recognize its style. No millinery training required.  A top hat is a familiar style. We know if from playing Monopoly even if we have never tried one on ourselves.


Pop Culture

There is a second element that adds to hat popularity. Being able to link a style to contemporary cultural references. So many visitors to the fair called the popular hat – a Johnny Depp hat! Now, I have yet to see either Tim Burton’s Alice movie nor the more recent ‘Through the Looking Glass’ film. During the fair I worried whether I was subconsciously influenced by Johnny Depp’s hat. What do you think? With relief, I say not at all!  Other than having the flat tip on top, they’re quite different hats. Isn’t it powerful how our minds desire to make connections between films and hats? This is something a maker can keep in mind when creating.


Product Placement has impact

The third reason why this hat was popular is placement in my craft fair booth. It was on sitting in the center front of the table and was easy to pick up. Unlike other parts of my display, there was no need to reach up or down. Nor was there a need to fiddle with clothes pegs, which can be seen in the background of the long strip photo above.


Size Matters

Lastly, I designed the popular hat to fit almost ALL size heads!  At craft fairs I’ve often heard ‘I have a huge head’ or a ‘tiny head.’ So, I decided to do something about it. Each of my recent hats has an adjustable drawstring on the inside so that One Size Fits All. Really, it was so nice to be able to meet visitors’ desires to experience a bit of FeltHappiness, even if it was momentary.


In summary

In order to create a popular hat, a maker needs to be aware of the following:

  • Creating a hat with a familiar silhouette
  • Linking to pop culture
  • Making picking it up easy
  • Fitting different head sizes

Hat Attack

It’s been ages since I’ve participated in Style Crone’s Hat Attack, which can now be celebrated every day of the month! Thank you Judith for giving people more opportunity to wear hats! Do check out her most recent Hat Attack #39 which is an interesting interview with West Coast milliner Louise Green. I also enjoyed the previous month which is with Cha Cha Millinery.

For this month’s Hat Attack thought that I’d have a turn with the popular hat! Thanks to the wonders of Adobe Elements I’m composited in with a dapper gentleman (my husband). There is only one hat!



What do you think makes one handmade creation more popular than another? And should makers concern ourselves with such matters?

If a hat only comes alive when worn, then the goal is that all hats need to find their ‘forever homes.’

Or instead, should creatives strive to make what pleases ourselves?

Scroll way down to leave your reply.

  1. The Style Crone

    It is wonderful to see your very creative top hat come to life on so many different people! I feel the hat changes the wearer and the wearer changes the hat; that’s the beauty of them! Thank you so much for participating in Hat Attack!