Haley interviews Patricia Underwood
by haley sherif
“One cannot be neutral in the presence of a hat. It sends a message. When I think about the design of a hat, I consider what that message might be, and what is inside the head upon which the hat might sit. Personal style and state of mind are what make a hat mysterious or alluring or demure. Hats create amazing possibilities.” – Patricia Underwood
Patricia Underwood is the Queen of Hats. For the last 35 years Patricia has continued to build her brand turning what was a whim evening class in millinery into luxurious, handmade collections that are not just chic, but also will last the test of time. She has received numerous awards including a CFDA award and her some of her hats are in permanent display in such museums as the Met Costume Institute. She has collaborated with some of the leading world designers including Ralph Lauren. Her current collection includes hats of straw, leather, and cashmere. Patricia dishes on how to find the perfect hat, her summer plans, and more.
HS: What adjectives describe your personal style?
PU: Tonal, detailed, but unfussy.
HS: What inspired you to get into the hat designing business?
PU: It was not finding a hat that I liked that fit; always wanting the hats that spunky strong women in films wore. Also loving the three dimensionality and mechanics of hat-making.
HS: Was it always hats?
HS: What’s your favorite hat you’ve designed?
PU: The hat, whether it be formal or casual that can be worn time after time.
HS: I sometimes find it to be a struggle to find the perfect hat. What advice do you give your customers when choosing a hat?
PU: In no particular order – never buy a hat that is small and always look at the silhouette in a full-length mirror, finding the pleasing balance between the crown of the hat and the width of one’s cheekbone, taking neckline and clothing, with which the hat/s will be worn into account. The object is to have the most wear out of the choice.
HS: Does a hat say a lot about a particular person?
PU: Character and confidence.
HS: Other than a chic hat what are your other beach accessories?
PU: A custom-made long-sleeved swimsuit, Pareo, swimming goggles, and sunscreen.
HS: What do you plan on doing this summer?
PU: To enjoy our new grand-daughter, go to the Aston-Martin car event in Lime Rock, weddings, concerts, reunions and hopefully to swim.