November 6, 2011
In the world of vintage I think it is always important to learn as much as possible about it. And today I wanted to spend some time talking about what exactly vintage millinery is as in the past I always confused it with hat making. What brought about these ponderings was a meet-n-greet with this lovely 1940s cage hat adorned with cherries and berries and little Autumn flowers and I thought how lovely would that be for the holidays... but unfortunately the vintage hat was not for sale. Oh the sadness! So then I proceeded to thinking perhaps I can just recreate something similar and did a little bit of research for millinery supplies, but I have yet to come across those adorable little cherries and berries.

The Milliner and Dressmaker, 1875.  NYPL Digital Collections
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Anyhow, without further ado...

What is Millinery? In the most simplest of definitions, millinery refers to hat dressing or designing hats. Sometimes it can mean the manufacturing of hats, but for the most part millinery refers to designing hats.

One of the most famous American milliners is Sally Victor whose vintage hats are showcased at the The Metropolitan Museum of Art. These two vintage Sally Victor hats from the 1930s are my favorites! J'adore!!!

Vintage Millinery Hat by Sally Victor 1930s
Vintage Millinery Hat by Sally Victor 1930s

Sally Victor was born in Scranton, PA on Feb 23, 1905. She studied art in Paris for a couple of years and sewed and designed her own clothes from the age of 14. What started her millinery career was being a hat buyer for Macy's in New York City. When she got a job at L. Bamberger & Co., she met her future husband, Sergiu Victor, a hat manufacturer. Eventually she became so successful as hat designer that Sergiu closed down his hat manufacturing company to join her in her millinery adventures. And what a wonderfully beautiful journey it was!

Sally Victor Vintage Hat Designer Inspecting a Straw Hat
A photo of milliner, Sally Victor, inspecting a straw hat surrounded by vintage millinery supplies.

Vintage Advertisement for Whitman's Chocolate Featuring Sally Victor Hat
A vintage advertisement for Whitman's Chocolate featuring a rose adorned vintage hat by Sally Victor.

There is a fantastic little read and preview photos of the hat exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum Sally Victor: Mad Hatter. I'm hoping to dwelve a little bit into hat designing, small steps, baby steps. I can't even find the proper millinery supplies!


  1. Thank you so much for sharing - all of this looks incredible!

  2. Hey Rodelle..these are cute pictures you are posting. I am glad to see Ur doing well and moving on. I have a question when is another vintage flea market going on in Los ANgeles?

  3. Awesome post! So interesting that it's like an art form!

  4. Oh Rodelle, I have not been online so regular as I am not too well, but was so sorry to read you have been going through struggles. SO glad to read that you are moving to a nice creative space and I really hope you feel stronger than ever very soon! A new chapter, best is yet to come! I hope you are well, your blog is always filled with pretty pictures I love to feast my eyes on! I hope your business blossoms even more and I wish you all the best! Zoë x


Thank you for taking the time to leave me a little comment, I do try to respond back as often as I can. Have a lovely day! xoxo - Rodellee