Today as part of the #bringbackthewhimsy campaign, I'll be giving you some tips for buying a genuine vintage whimsy. We'll look at what sort of hats count as whimsies, where to get them, search terms to use when looking online.
What to look for
So a whimsy is going to be primarily veiling and trims, with no hat foundation. Ring hats can also be considered whimsies, and some other wire-foundation hats.
Where to shop?
I was happy to hear in the comments last time that people are finding whimsies at vintage and second-hand shops. That seems like the best option for being able to check out the condition yourself and possibly get a bargain too.
I've been browsing them online for a while, mostly through Etsy and Ebay. I have seen some "lots" of a few whimsies together, and these are usually great value. Sometimes the individual ones are getting up to a very high price for simple designs, so be cautious. There are, however, some really fancy ones that would be worth the price tag. I've also seen quite a few with original boxes, possibly unworn, which would give you a good chance of them being in excellent condition.
I've got a list on Etsy for #bringbackthewhimsy, which has some great examples. Some of the items on there are sold already, but I've included them for inspiration purposes for those who want to make their own.
I've also got a #bringbackthewhimsy Pinterest board, with more examples, including some pattern envelopes!
I think we all know how fraught with difficulty searching for vintage (or anything, really) online can be. Many sellers won't know that what they have is called a whimsy. Others won't know that what they have is NOT a whimsy.
Plus, of course, the other meaning of whimsy comes up a lot, and you might get a lot of results that are just whimsical.
I think it is often easier, if you have the time, to search for vintage hats and find the ones that are clearly whimsies. Adding 1960s and/or veil to the search helped narrow it down on Pinterest. Other terms that might be helpful are "veil hat" (another proper term for whimsies), "ring hat" (if you like that style), veil, birdcage veil (a modern term but possibly used by sellers) and fascinator (likewise). I also had some luck searching using "whimsey". And I saw "snood" used a few times on whimsies!
A word on modern handmade whimsies...I rarely look at the work of other milliners online, but I wanted to see what a search on Etsy for handmade whimsies would unearth. The results? I found a few amazing handmade whimsies that are totally true to vintage style, a lot of floral headbands and modern fascinators that I think they were suggesting counted as whimsies, and a lot of hats that are apparently whimsical.
Next time, guys, I'm going to do an actual tutorial on making your own whimsy. I'm aiming to make it flexible, so that you should be able to work with materials you are likely to already have, if you craft or sew at all.
The main material you'll want to make sure you have is veiling. One book I have suggests one yard of length, but I don't find I need that much. We should be able to make something work with less. You will also want a hair comb, or some kind of clip. See you next week for the crafting!