There’s nothing quite like a distinctive hat to take one’s personal style straight to the top, especially when a creative hand is behind the craft. While studying fashion design, Natalie Simmons discovered a love of millinery, and taught herself the craft despite the lack of millinery offerings at her school. After traveling the world to learn from master milliners, Natalie launched Carolina Millinery Company, based in Charleston, and has been designing, restoring, and handmaking hats for more than 16 years. While she’s already in full swing producing her Race Collection, you can still grab a ready-to-wear Derby piece from her online selection. For more info, visit

HATS OFF: (Top left to right) Pale pink Panama square hat with off-white grosgrain ribbon from Carolina Millinery Company and BB Dakota Picking Roses short romper from Monkee’s of the West End; Purple Sinamay Cartwheel hat with lilies, veiling, and feathers from Carolina Millinery and Gal Meets Glam Collection soft lavender crisscross bodice dress from Monkee’s of the West End; Natural straw braid Trilby hat with brown band & removable turkey feather from Carolina Millinery Company and BB Dakota polka dot wrap top and Mignonne Gavigan shooting stars earrings from Monkee’s of the West End