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How To Pick The Perfect Hat for the Kentucky Derby

When Linda Pagan was 31 years old, she made a life change that many of us could only dream of doing. She quit her job on Wall Street, broke off her engagement, and decided to devote her career to… hats.  A hat aficionado since her first barret that she picked up at a department store for $20, Linda embarked on a journey to bring style to New York, one hat at a time.

“When you move to New York, there are two ways you can make new friends,” says Linda. “One is to buy a puppy, and the other is to wear a hat.”  As she puts it, hats have the power to build confidence and start conversations — it’s all in finding the right one for you.

At her store in downtown Manhattan, The Hat Shop, that’s exactly what Linda does. In addition to designing and manufacturing her own line of custom hats, Linda also carries a large selection of handmade hats from other local milliners here in NYC.

Linda receives calls from all over the world requesting custom made hats from her shop. This veteran milliner doesn’t take these requests lightly, as she prides herself not only in great quality, but also in her ability to provide knowledge, honesty, and exceptional customer service.

Linda stopped by The Refinery Hotel to give us a lesson in the finer points of hat-making and hat-wearing. Check out our video above to learn a little more about the history of the strong and independent “wanton milliners” that once made their home right here in the Garment District, as well as how to find the right hat for you. “You don’t need a perfectly shaped face or head to look good in a hat,” she says. “All you need is the desire!”

So next time you’re in need of something chic (hint: The Kentucky Derby), throw on an intricate cocktail headpiece or a slouchy straw hat and see how a swift switch of the hat can completely transform your outfit with very little effort. As Linda would say, “Remember… fashion goes out of style, but style never goes out of fashion!”

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