The Milliner and Her Hats

Sylvia on the right, 1920s


I received some more photos of  Sylvia Whitman Seigenfeld, the designer behind the Suzy label, from her daughter.  It seemed a bit odd that I wrote about this important milliner and she was wearing a hat in none of the photos!  Thanks to daughter Susan, we can now see that Sylvia knew how to sport a hat.



1930s or early 40s


Late 1940s or early 50s


In the last photo we see Sylvia wearing an uncharacteristically fussy hat.  I wonder what she thought about the hat of the woman sitting across the table from her.  Now that’s a hat!

I want to thank Susan Novenstern again for all the information about her mother and for the fantastic photos of her. Her generous sharing adds to the historical record and helps eliminate confusion about all the Suzy millinery labels.

This points out once again just how important the internet has become in doing historical research.  Susan found my original post on her mother’s label after someone posted a link on her facebook page.  Others have found my posts after doing a Google search on a family member who was in the fashion business.  It is just amazing the connections that are being made today that were impossible in the last century.

For those of us who blog and who post in other places on the internet, we just never know who might be reading.  It’s exciting that information can be so easily found and shared.

Sorry that there are no links today, but I only had a few to share so I decided to wait a week before doing the post.   If any of you run across an interesting story about clothing or textiles, I always appreciate an email with the link .


Filed under Designers, Rest of the Story, Viewpoint

13 responses to “The Milliner and Her Hats

  1. Hi Liz….I always appreciate the old photos. Can you identify the fur or whatever in the photo \\with Susie shown with the man with the can? It is ls large rectangles of whatever pieced. Thanks


  2. Lizzie – I had a similar experience today regarding a Retro Roadmap place that I posted about and could find little background info on. Within a few hours of it being shared on FB someone I know actually said he grew up in the town where the location was, and had some bits to fill in in the timeline! I had wanted to wait until I had more info until I posted, but had I done that, this may have never come out.

    It IS wonderful when the internet is used for good stuff like this!


  3. Yes, the internet is fabulous for research. But will the information last? This is a real question. Wouldn’t an old fashioned book be a more secure place for your investigations into the history of American manufacturers and designers?


  4. Lillace Christianson

    MARVELOUS photos, Lizzie! And I love the way you draw interesting information from so many different sources! I’ve sold vintage hats on ebay for years and it’s always great to have background on the designers and manufacturers. Thanks a bunch!


  5. Wow! This is fabulous! I love the connections that can be made now over the internet, and I completely agree, it has become very important in doing historical research. It can connect you with people that you may not have otherwise connected with.


  6. Wow, what fantastic photos. It’s not just the style; it’s the personality. They were having a ball!


  7. Suzy Novenstern

    A lot of the hats you show are my Mom’s Suzy Hats. She was famous for the jersey snood and she designed many hats through the years in felt,straw many pillboxes with veils etc. Ads can be found through the New York Times archives. Lord and Taylor,Saks Fifth Avenue,Bendels, B Altman,
    Bonwit Teller etc.


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