Hats off to Dorinda Putnam, milliner, Queen of Hats in Portland, Maine. Hats are her business, and Dorinda says, “I love, love, love them.” Her earliest memories reach back to when she was just four years old, “I remember very vividly going to Sunday school. Everybody dressed, you had your hat and your gloves,” she said, “and I never gave it up.”
No matter the season, Dorinda wears a hat. This winter she favors the Lilli & Cohoe line—impeccable styling with discreet, sewn-in ear flaps. And when the weather is warmer? “I love my straws,” she said.
I asked Dorinda if there is a current trend with hats. “A lot of women are wearing men’s fedoras,” she said. “There’s not a thing wrong with women putting this on,” she said, slipping on a black fedora.
Styles may come and go, but whether it’s Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, wearing a fascinator, or Downton Abbey’s Edith Crawley in a stylish cloche, it’s hard to deny hats elevate an outfit like few other accessories.
The Kentucky Derby may be a horse race, but just as important are the hats. “Big, time,” Dorinda said, “you’d be surprised how many people from Maine go.” Sometimes the store gets so busy, “you can’t even touch a needle to the straws,” she said.
But touch a needle she does, offering embellishments and custom millinery for men and women.
Whether you’re looking for a fascinator or fedora, the Mad Hatter or a Stetson, you’ll find it at Queen of Hats— a shop brimming with style.