FrouFrou 4 YouYou

Chicago Millinery History: Cats Pajamas Vintage Clothing, Jewelry and Textile Show and Sale March 1, 2013

This event brings lots of hats to the general Chicago area, in Elgin, IL each February. As exciting as that is, the good news is that they return to Elgin in Sept.

Waiting in line on Friday behind a velvet rope the conversations around us were a fun way to get to hear how devoted folks were to vintage, and hats in particular. Several spoke of their spreadsheets documenting their collection of hundreds. On Fri the admission fee is lowered for those attending in vintage attire. That is like watching a vintage show in motion as these guys and gals explore the newest old goodies to be had.


The best display of hats, and stocking the best selection of antique hats must go to the booth just inside the door. I believe my hat buddy, Iris, who loves this shopping extravaganza as much as I do, bought three from this booth.










Here are photos from many booths of glorious hats.


Wish I could remember which booth this was, so nicely arranged.


Iris bought a Saks hat with an Iris from a grand fellow, Joe from New Orleans, with the booth Eojnola. Joe is also a milliner, and someone it would be fun to know. The bird hat above was just one of dozens we left behind.


I loved this hat, but so did a gal I saw the next morning wearing it. What fun when you can put your purchase right on your head.




Carries, Fabulous to Funky, from Campaign, IL had feather fans, which caught my eye initially, but sadly she had not brought along her stock of feathers, tho there were plenty of wonderful feather hats.

Across from Carrie’s was the one place I bought a hat the next day. I always ask for Chicago hats, especially Bes Ben or Raymond Hudd, although there were no Hudd hats anywhere we could find this year,
The seller was Karen Renfrow of D. Brett Benson, Inc of Chicago, exhibiting routinely at Broadway Antique Market booth 763 at 6130 N. Broadway in Chicago. There was a Bes Ben, which was so distracting I forgot to take photos of her booth! A little green leaf hat with tiny fruit and berries. Hard call, but I waited till she brought in another on Sat AM, a red moonstone. That red hat just added the needed pop of color to my display for my presentation on Chicago Hats at noon. IF you check with Karen she may still have that green leaf BesBen yet.


Downstairs were so many more treasured sellers of hats, and much better lighting:






Iris is just torn between this black felt Bes Ben with pearl bead edging from Jenstyle chic vintage ( This treasure was still there when we left on Sat, so maybe it is still available. It was so hard to leave it behind.

But then I fell in love at the next booth, Musser’s Atomic Antiques from Rockford. Here I am taking a photo of the display wearing my biggest hat, if you can find me below, in the mirror:



Not sure now just where these were from!





Happy shopper, Iris as she entertains the idea of a hat from Woodland Farms of TX.


Just above is the tip of the iceberg of beauty in hats from Woodland Farms Vintage of Dallas Tx. This group takes up two booths for the most exquisite collection of fashion. Here are SOME of their treasures:












There are great photos, but perhaps bigger is better:












Alas it was time to move on to other sellers:
























Susie’s from Schaumberg, IL had hat boxes of flowers, and they were a great temptation.


Swell Stuff from Evanston had hats, and trims.




Fun was had with the presentation on Chicago Hats. What a great opportunity to meet some fine folks, and share some tidbits about Gage, Fisk, Edson Keith, Hats by Sue, Mildred Reed, Shelia, the Perfect Hat, Luci Puci and Lemington, Bes Ben, Raymond Hudd and more.





Coming to Elgin Sept 27 and 28? Hope to see you there. I may even wear my BIG gold felt hat with feathers. Will you be wearing a hat? Hope so!


Chicago Millinery History: Mr. & Mrs. Digz Vintage on Clark September 12, 2012

Filed under: Bes Ben,Chicago Millinery History,hat — froufrou4youyou @ 2:33 am
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Sweet people and sweet hats can be found in Chicago when you know where to look. Mr. and Mrs. Digz on north Clark is one good place to look. They have been there for three years, but until today we did not know to look there!

Fun mix of new and vintage clothes and accessories in a fresh, clean location. Hats for men and women, so there are lots of fedoras for both.

And more fedoras:

Luckily there are other hats with plenty of color:

Pink is always popular, but then again, it is almost autumn.

That New York Creations rust straw with pleated double ruffle just begs to be worn as fall is right around the corner. It also begged to be pinned, so it has been duly added to so many wonderful hats on Pinterest:
But if you like bright color, this felt by Adolpho Realities from the French Room at Fields catches eyeryone’s eye:

Some of these are gone already, but you can bet a return trip is in order to see what else has come along.

Happy Shopping!


Chicago Millinery History: Raymond Hudd Lives On March 18, 2012

The annual Service Club of Chicago spring luncheon is coming up May 10, 2012, featuring the millinery of Raymond Hudd. Last year Bes Ben was featured, and this year we have moved on in time to the era of 1950 forward.

There will be Raymond hats on display from a couple of Chicago collectors, but one wonders if there are more of the whimsical ones hidden in a closet or two. There are over 100 in the collection of the Chicago  History Museum, and those were featured in an exhibit curated by Timothy Long, Hats Over the Edge, in 2001.

Since those closet stored hats are so elusive one wonders if there are photos of women wearing his hats to also be part  part of the exhibit. So here is the call for those pictures to come out of hiding, shoe box or album. And if you are feeling generous, perhaps even allow those pictures to be added to the ebook currently being written about Raymond, to record them for history.

These five are just a few from the collection of Iris Sholder for the luncheon exhibit. Check back as photos of other exhibit hats will be added later.

Looking forward to hearing about your Raymond hats.


What Hats Did Linda Feigenheimer Like Best? Glitz and Glam? May 28, 2011

So many hats of the collection of Linda Feigenheimer make one think she fancied ones with a bit of Glitz and Glam.

Here are just a few of the 300 hats that had started the estate sale in 2009. So many elegant hats for every mood, but many were just plain…elegant…feminine…delightful.

Bes Ben hats were on a table behind the sales ladies, as these were considered even more treasured than some others.


It is an understatement to say most all of the hats were great, but this Lily Dache was the one I spent the most time examining for days after acquiring the collection of about 100 hats. Fifty hats seen in the sale were sold at rock bottom prices at a Susannin Auction Chicago event in Nov 2009. Luckily this one was spared, probably as it was not in it’s full glory.  Faded in some areas, it seemed it should be restored, yet it has it’s own not too shabby chic that does not allow it to be deconstructed and reconstructed, tho it likely would improve it significantly.


Some seem patriotic, which is fitting for Memorial Day weekend and July 4th, some years ago.

Some big and little black hats catch your eye, but only for a moment when you add some color.

One Big Pink Flower here. Did you even notice it was attached to a hat?

In this case the hat is in there somewhere, as the assortment of accents is almost overwhelming.

Which milliners get credit for these treasures? Loreta Corsetti, Lily Dache, and others. It is nice to have those two names in the same sentence. Anyone out there want to guess which is the Corsetti? It is not too hard to place the Dache-the insides with the labels are also shown.

Here is the inside of the Corsetti.

Did you select the black pique with the grey and black stripe band with buckle? There were a couple of others in the group you might have wondered about. The black with pink velvet rose is Adolpho II, the black with feathers and rhinestone swag is Breithaups from Milwaukee perhaps a hundred years ago or more,  the little black straw was probably 40s or 50s Gladys and Belle of NY sold at Ruth McCullock of Hubbard Woods and Evanston, and the last white straw was Edythe of Evanston from long ago.

The patriotic ones were the large brim from Mandel Bros in Chicago,  and the white straw a Ere Nouvelle of NY sold at Edythe of Evanston.

Happy Memorial Day, 2011. Mandel Bros hat, here I come. Even if it is not Glitz and Glam.



Bes Ben Hat Luncheon of The Service Club of Chicago May 18, 2011

Sherry Lea Holson did Benjamin Green-Field proud. Her organization of this wonderful luncheon for the oldest service organization in Chicago, the Service Club of  Chicago, was held today to honor the work of Benjamin Green-Field of Bes Ben hats. The presentation by noted Bes Ben historian, Elizabeth Jachimowicz with a slide show  had ladies laughing at some unique hats.

Just as Elizabeth is seen here reviewing the exhibit hats, she has been studying these hats since her 15 years at the Chicago History Museum when Ben was present for the exhibit of his works. There are many hats that have crossed her hands, and each one has all of the details recorded in detail. There were stories of his successes and his hats. Just in case you were needing a new tidbit, she explained that he started in 1919 with his sister Bessie, creating hats designed to reflect the latest Paris styles. His travels to Paris included returning with prime examples of what women around the world wanted. After ten years Bessie removed herself from the business, but the name remained. At that point he consolidated their several stores to the one most folks recall, in the 900 block of Michigan Avenue. He left many decades later only because the building was to be torn down. One Mag Mile now stands in its place.

As far as Bes Ben Hats, you could admire some on loan in the midst of a pleasant room at the Club, or on the heads of several attendees. Sherry Lea Holson wore the coral hat that was heavier than most other Bes Bens in the place. Two attendees from the Benjamin Green-Field Foundation wore delightful small hats, as well as an iridescent one on the head of Iris Sholder,  the newest Bes Ben fan. Another woman had on a delightful white number as well. And if there were more of you out there who were not sighted by this writer, please update us. Your willingness to share by wearing was most appreciated.

What hats were ladies wearing to this event? Overwhelmingly they were big brim hats. The Kentucky Derby had nothing on these 230 ladies. Many of the hats had been made especially for this day by the premier couture milliner from Chicago, Loreta Corsetti, who was resplendent in a voluminous cream (?) straw creation. Picture by John Reilly PhotographyAren’t John Reilly’s photos spectacular? Here are more:

Thank you John for real pictures.

Prizes were awarded for several categories to Mamie Walton, Laurie Davis,  Rochelle Trotter and Cheryl Bollinger.  Winners had delightful stories to tell . The two most memorable of the four stories were from Rochelle and Cheryl. Rochelle could not have been more excited, and had struggled even until last night to decide which hat to wear, making a John Koch of Chicago very notable. A rust/orange dupioni silk with an upturned brim was simple in its use of fabric in a way that made the design sing.

Cheryl could have been a contender if there were a category of largest hat as well.  She regaled everyone with her story of the Paw Paw, MI florist,  Sherri Taylor owner of Taylor’s Florist, who created a BIG hat to match her floral print dress. Based upon a black hat there were white flowers  bigger than nature ever intended. Perhaps I am misquoting her, but I think she said her husband thought it was a refrigerator that had been delivered when the box with the hat arrived. When I came home and told my husband the story of this hat and that we were making a trip to meet this newest milliner, he rolled his eyes. Men!

But speaking of men there were two who added much to the day. Patrick Kearney brought four hats from Susannin’s Auction of Chicago, and also represented Irene, who sadly missed the fun on behalf of Robert Feigenheimer. Four hats loaned from his sister’s estate were only a few of many purchases of Linda Feigenheimer. Elizabeth’s slide show ended with the picture of the Independence Hat. Linda had outbid a New York collector in 1999 at an auction for this hat. It was more than $18K, which remains the highest ever for a hat. But then she spent over $30K that day on Bes Ben hats alone.

The other gentleman present was Bunky Cushing who recorded details of this event that are far more inclusive than what is in this blog. For the inside scoop you must go to Thank heaven he has professional pictures to share.

Bunky joined in the hat judging, and this man knows style. It was a pleasure to confer with Elizabeth and he about the wonderful hats selected for prizes. If there could have been an additional twenty runner-up hats they would have included, in no particular order: Cheryl Coleman who went to Jill Henning of Ohio during the Kentucky Derby, Sally Shock in a floral knockout, Shanna Montgomery who insisted the bright pink headwear she sported did not qualify, tho really it did, Tracey Di Buono in the Butterfly creation of Philip Treacy, Tina Weller in a turquoise hat that made her dress a standout, Roni Siegel in feathers, Julie Peckham and Lily Hauf, both in Loreta Corsetti hats, and all those others whose names escaped me while enthralled with their hats.

All in all it was a perfect day in Chicago to wear a hat, as it will be again tomorrow.

Happy 2011!


Chicago Millinery History: The World of Bes Ben Hats Lives On in 2011 April 16, 2011

Filed under: Bes Ben,Chicago Millinery History — froufrou4youyou @ 10:38 am
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Chicago ladies gather for lunch for various reasons. Sometime it is still all about the hat.

May 17 is a big day for hats, lunch and Bes Ben. Benjamin Green-Field was a milliner of no small fame in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 60’s and 70’s in Chicago. His life and times will be featured at just such a sold out lunch.

If you are in the Chicago loop that day you may see any or all of the attendees wearing wonderful hats. Some will be sporting vintage Bes Ben hats, some others from their own collections, and some purchased from current Chicago designers for this event. One can hope this sparks resurgence in love for Chicago millinery.

Not familiar with Bes Ben hats? Stop at the Chicago History Museum, there are always a few on display. Since it is a rotating exhibit you may come to find you will see quite a variety over the year. If you are not able to make the trip you can visit the GreenField Foundation website for a lovely selection, and background information on this gentleman.

Happy 107th day of 2011!


Chicago Millinery: The “Missing” Little Black Bes Ben Hat March 27, 2011

Filed under: Bes Ben,Chicago Millinery History,millinery — froufrou4youyou @ 3:35 pm
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Ever play that game in children’s magazines of trying to figure out which item does not belong?

Here is the biggest clue-the last one! Ok, that’s the answer to that question, but now for the bigger question. Who has this hat and would they lend it to a special fund raising event for one day in Chicago in May? Back in 2009 this hat was listed on ebay,  but sadly I did not seem to keep the info that would let me try to reach the seller or new owner and beg for the chance that others might enjoy this one too.  So if you know of any ballerina Bes Ben hat owners out there please tell them the gals might enjoy a reunion with other Bes Ben hats who will be on display at lunch.  I’ll be waiting by my computer in anticipation of a reply.

Did you see any other Bes Bens around while you were looking in your hat collection? They too might enjoy this hat reunion.  Otherwise the girls in my cameo Bes Ben in the middle of the pictures may be missing out in seeing some of their favorite former shelf mates.

Happy 31+28+26=85th day of 2011!