While corsets, stockings, and gloves are gladly fashion must-haves of the past, we’re happy to report that the smart hat is making a stylish return to chic ladies’ heads here in Park City and beyond—thanks, in part, to Jennifer L. Francis’s the Parlor (parlorhats.com). “There’s a mystique and certain etiquette to wearing a hat that I find so attractive,” says the local milliner and style blogger. “I’ve lived in hats since I was a little girl. I found very early on that you can project an image of who you want to be through what you wear.”
A Pennsylvania native who moved to Utah after meeting her hubby (a born-and-raised Parkite) at a golf event in Palm Springs, Francis is putting this classic accessory back on top with the Parlor’s two offerings: the Salem, a wide-brim, wool-felt fedora—her first design, influenced by both her urban, East Coast upbringing and her new hometown’s western aesthetic; and the Maarten, a classic-with-a-twist straw fedora that’s a perfect fit for summer’s backyard barbecues, outdoor concerts, and beach vacations. “It was so fun to design,” she says of the seagrass style. “I was over floppy brims and girly trims. I always found myself stealing the guys’ hats.”
Francis launched the Parlor in 2014 following the Sundance Film Festival while working at Main Street’s Flight Boutique. Since then, her chic chapeaus —sold locally at Flight (545 Main St) and Hathenbruck (136 Heber Ave)—have been scooped up by local and destination shoppers and have even garnered a Hollywood fan base: singer and songwriter Skylar Grey rocked the Salem style at the premiere of Fast & Furious 7, and model Anne Vyalitsnya, a.k.a. Anne V, has posted selfies in the Maarten style on Instagram.
Of course, Francis’s designs aren’t just a fashion statement; they also function as a sun/rain/snow shielder and, of course, a very cool bad-hair-day fix. “Hats are just for that—bad hair days!” she says. If you’re having a good hair day, Francis recommends tousled tresses or an undone side braid under her Parlor pieces: “I’m not really into the perfect curl or pin-straight look.” Easy, effortless style? We’ll tip our cap to that.