Frequently Asked Questions:
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Q1. Why do hat labels state “one size?” Are most hats made in only one size?
Q2. What makes your sinamay hats different from others in the stores?
Q3. For people about to purchase their first spring hat, what suggestions do you have to help them make the "just right" selection
Q4. What kinds of hats do you sell?
Q5. What types of hats are most popular?
Q6.How many hats/headpieces would you estimate that you custom make in a year?
Q7. What materials or design elements do you particularly like to incorporate into hats?
Q8. What details set spring hats apart from hats for other seasons?
Q9. How popular are hats/headpieces as fashion accessories?
Q10. Why is wearing a hat/headpiece enjoyable?
Q11. What is the price range of your hats/headpieces?
Q12. If people want to learn more about millinery, what suggestions do you have?
Q13. How did you become interested in running a millinery store?
Q14. How many years has your store has been operating?
Q15. Do you ever bring your hats to any Oakland County, MI shows?

Q1. Why do hat labels state “one size?” Are most hats made in only one size?

"One size fits all" means no size ... Gena Conti Millinery makes hats in many sizes... just like heads are made in many sizes.

No. After WWII, the Army core of engineers did measuring of approximately 600 women in the USA and discovered that the average head size in that group was between 22” and 22 ½” … Voila! All the hat manufacturing equipment (molds/forms/blocks) was made to fit those head sizes. Then a nice label, “One Size Fits All” was sewn in.
No. One size does not fit all. It didn't then and it doesn't now
The label was changed to read “One size fits MOST.”
Hmmm… same hat mold, same hat/head size – different label.

On occasion, you will see 22”, 22 ½” or even 23” (rare) in older, vintage ladies hats, but not currently. Of course MENS hats are “sized”…

Rare is the store with an in house milliner these days. Although many retail stores employ helpful staff, they are not trained to give you advice regarding millinery and are unable to order another ready to wear hat style in a custom COLOR or SIZE to fit you, BECAUSE in a “one-size
fits most” mentality ANOTHER COLOR OR SIZE IS NOT AVAILABLE off the rack.

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Q2. What makes your sinamay hats different from others in the stores?
Gena Conti sinamay hats are made from 4 layers of sinamay.That's a quality difference you won't find just anywhere. We know that 4 layers ensures your hat stability and longevity yet it weighs just under 4 ounces! Cost a little more? Yes, but you're worth it!
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Q3. For people about to purchase their first spring hat, what suggestions do you have to help them make the "just right" selection?
Choosing a hat style is similar to choosing a hairstyle. The hat should complement your face shape stature and lifestyle. (See shapes here)


There is no compensating for a hat that FITS your head. Don’t be fooled by stores who say a little sticky TAPE inside head band will make the hat fit better. THAT hat IS NOT YOUR SIZE!

Measure your head! Find out how to do that by clicking HERE

Don’t be talked into a hat that is too small for your head or face shape. You have a choice to get a hat that fits. We make custom hats. A hat that FITS will spoil you forever. Color and style are important too. Not all styles look best on all face shapes Complement yourself. I give consultations during private Salon fitting appointments. Flattering ??? You bet!

Q4. What kinds of hats do you sell?
BEAUTIFUL! Hats that FIT. Hand blocked, hand sewn, hats.
Summer and Winter Hats for Women & winter hats for men (and special order summer & winter hats for children too).

I design & create special occasion hats and headpieces, bridal headpieces and formal, casual, and everyday hats. We also make hats for people suffering from hair loss.

Velour & Beaver Felt, Fine Straws: Sinamay, toyo braid, Parisisal, sisal, bali buntal, baku & polished Italian straws (vintage collector straws). Buckram based fabric hats (to match your favorite clothing). I have both a ready-to wear and custom hats business.

CUSTOM hats are highly in demand. You cannot simply walk into a department store (even some of the finest) and find a custom made hat.
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Q5. What types of hats are most popular?
For spring and summer, Sinamay and Parisisal straws. My clients want something special. They want something they will NOT see everywhere. They want something unique for themselves. Many of our ready- to- wear styles can be custom made with different trim and colors to suit the individual. For summer … most everyone wants a larger brimmed, versatile hat for protection from the sun Larger brims are sexy too. They add a touch of femininity and mystery.

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Q6.How many hats/headpieces would you estimate that you custom make in a year?
Hundreds upon hundreds. Our custom business has always been very popular, but it has skyrocketed over these last 5 years. In these days of self-serve, fast serve, no serve, I find my clientele are extremely pleased to be pampered with a hand sewn, custom made hat that FITS from our workrooms.

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Q7. What materials or design elements do you particularly like to incorporate into hats?
I love to sculpt! I love fabrics that allow me to create unique, designs. That is my passion. I use velour felts, sinamay straw, horsehair, beads, silks, handmade flowers and feathers … Oh! My dear! And veiling, of course. We also hand make chenille dotted veiling. O! la la! Both fun and beautiful.

Above all I believe a beautiful hat is all about its “line.”

I adore gorgeous trim, but if you strip all the lovely accouterments from the chapeau … you still have a great hat IF the LINE has integrity. Sculpting material and draping are my favorite elements of design. WE ourselves ARE SCULPTURE --- viewed from all sides.
When I sculpt a hat, I spin it ‘round (as if it were on a potters’ wheel) because it must flatter it’s wearer from all angles.

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Q8. What details set spring hats apart from hats for other seasons?
Fabrics, of course. Fabrics and materials. Various lightweight straws. Silks and lightweight materials. Light printed fabrics in pastels… We BLOOM under hats in springtime colors and fabrics. Spring is a fine time for a new hat!

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Q9. How popular are hats/headpieces as fashion accessories?
VERY POPULAR. Ask my clients! Ask all the women and men who are continually complimented wherever they go in the hats. Don’t you notice someone in a hat? Don’t the photographers???

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Q10. Why is wearing a hat/headpiece enjoyable?
A hat finishes an ensemble. Adds distinction and confidence, transforms you. Watch heads turn as you walk by in your chapeau. A hat adds mystery and intrigue and is just plain and simple, FUN! I frequently joke with my clients: “Why be just one woman when you could be 5 or 6 by simply changing your hat!” People remember you when you wear a hat. Attention getting?? You bet! What’s wrong with that???

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Q11. What is the price range of your hats/headpieces?
Gena Conti Millinery prices start at approximately $140. They can climb to $500 - $900 for one-of-a-kind couture styling, depending upon fabrics, trims and my clients’ desires. Kentucky Derby, anyone??? Ascot? Garden Party, Wedding Black Tie affair or just because you're worth it??? :)

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Q12. If people want to learn more about millinery, what suggestions do you have?
I am available for lectures. Call the studio or Salon for availability 734-284-3417 or visit our web site and virtual salon newsletter at www.genaconti.com

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Q13. How did you become interested in running a millinery store?
I am a designer and milliner. I studied for many years with life-long milliners across the country. I’ve researched, traveled and studied throughout Europe all the while designing and creating hats for women (and men) who deserve attention. A Millinery Salon was a natural progression for me. I love all things hat. I love all the mental and physical aspects of designing and making hats and I love to spoil my clients (which is tremendous uplift for the spirit). We create a lot of happy excitement here in the Millinery Salon! Happiness is a wonderful thing … something that is contagious and too hard to keep under one’s hat…


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Q14. How many years has your store has been operating?
18 years - Every one brimming with excitement!

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Q15. Do you ever bring your hats to any Oakland County, MI shows?
Yes. I am available and book Millinery showings and speaking engagements, private parties, high teas, and fund-raising events in Oakland County (Metro Detroit and both in and out of the state of Michigan)

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