Hats Are Danielle DeLaine’s Crowning Glory

Her grandmother’s church hats—and the confidence she felt wearing them—inspired Danielle DeLaine’s hat business.

Occupation: Danielle DeLaine, Owner, Chapeau Couture
Style: Chic, sophisticated, daring

Photograph by Devyn Glista

Of all the areas where you can specialize in fashion, why hats?

I naturally gravitated to the design of hats because of a strong heritage link in church. I’ve always seen strong, proud women come to church dressed to the nines, and I was so fascinated and drawn to the way they were carrying themselves. The person who made the most impact was probably my grandmother, who is 87, and watching her over the years.

Did you admire any of your grandmother’s hats in particular?

Her favorite color is blue. Every time I saw her in a blue hat, I just saw a vibration of beauty that came off of her. She felt that she was looking her best self. Growing up, I heard stories about her raising 13 children, so this was the time where she could actually focus on herself.

How many hats do you own?

If you’re counting storage and things that are here and there—garages, my mom’s house—I would say, in total, probably a little less than 100.

What are some hat styles you like the most?

I love a cowgirl hat. It’s sporty. You can dress it up. You can dress it down. I love a good sunhat. My most favorite is a wide brim. It’s this ultimate epitome of confidence, when you can put on a wide-brimmed hat and just slay it.

You’ve been in business for 16 years. Tell me about one of your biggest successes.

We still do a collaboration with Lilly Pulitzer because of our seasonal showcases in Kenwood Towne Centre. They came over to us one day and said, “How would you like to do a collaboration with us for Kentucky Derby for spring?”

What makes a great Derby hat?

Bringing out your own personality and allowing your style to shine through. For some, that’s a classic look. For others, it’s more vibrant and boisterous. They want all the attention, “Look at me. Here I come.” Others, they just want to be there looking poised.

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