Hats have become the hottest new fashion accessories, and for great reasons. They’re fun, flirty, and functional! In this special section, you’ll find stories that feature a wide variety of Southwest Louisiana businesses that sell an array of hat styles – fashionable boleros and berets; custom formal, frilly glamor hats; casual caps and Stetsons – there’s a hat for every occasion!
by Stefanie Powers
If you’re in the market for a new hat and accessories, look no further than Bespoke Hat Company in downtown Lake Charles. Kashia Spears opened her business in February of 2017, starting with just one hat brand. That soon changed. “We now carry reputable brands such as Stetson, Charlie 1 Horse, Bailey, Dobbs, Gigi Pip, and many more,” she says. “We’re always searching for new brands to bring to Southwest Louisiana.”
Styles include felts, straws, wide brims, fedoras, and flat caps, also known as newsboy caps. “Three years ago, we decided to branch out and carry men’s and women’s accessories as well,” Spears continues. “These include genuine leather handbags and travel bags by BEDSTU and STS Ranchwear. This year, we decided to add men’s and women’s jackets, vintage tees, wild rags and footwear.”
Spears was motivated to get into the business by her love of western-style hats, starting with her first one when she was just a little girl. “I have the dream job!” she says. “Working with my customers to find the perfect hat makes me so incredibly happy. The confidence they have when they walk out of the store is unbelievable.”
Spears’s sister started working with her this past year. “Christin Dowers is in charge of our social media and does such an amazing job,” she says. “I am so blessed to have her by my side each day. My whole family enjoys being involved in the business.”
It’s been a great four-plus years for Spears. “I owe it all to my family, friends and the new friends that I’ve had the honor to meet in my shop,” she explains. “We’ve had many obstacles like everyone in our area over the past couple of years. However, the downtown area is alive and strong, and business has been great over the past few months. The events are back, which are so important to our area. It gives all of us a boost.”
Spears has big plans to expand and add more hat services and new brands for her customers. “I can’t wait to share the many new things to come in 2022!”
Bespoke Hat Co, 725 Ryan St., Lake Charles, 70601, (337) 842-1527, www.bespokehatcompany.com and on Facebook.
by Stefanie Powers
Many local businesses took hits between COVID-19 and the hurricanes of 2020. Luckily, Sassy Royals Hats has survived, and owner Anne Monlezun has made some big changes.
“I’ve been in business since 1987,” Monlezun says. “My hat business is a division of both Lords and Ladies and my wholesale company, which has been selling hats all over the country since about 2007.”
The original office was on Bayou Pines Drive. “I was only able to wholesale out of that location,” she explains. “When we lost our office and relocated, I knew immediately I wanted to open a retail operation selling hats and handbags and accessories. So now I have Sassy Royals Boutique.”
Monlezun says that not only has she added to her hat line, but she now has Mary Frances designer handbags out of California and Lorren Belle Jewelry out of Dallas. “Both complement my line of hats beautifully,” she says. “I also have a line of fedora hats that’s popular, along with some Southwest handbags and jewelry that go great with the fedoras!”
A lot of Sassy Royals’ business is done at trade shows. “I truly enjoy doing them because I meet so many interesting people!” Monlezun says. “I do several boutique shows in New Orleans and I just finished the Christmas Market in Grand Coteau. In January, I will be in Las Vegas at the National Halloween and Costume Show. My hats are not just current fashion hats; I also do costumers and have a nice clientele of costume stores that I have sold to for several years. I just visited one in New York City on Madison Ave. and it’s exciting to know that they enjoy handling my line!”
Sassy Royals has different types of hats that Monlezun sells throughout the year. “Currently I’m selling winter felt fedoras and fashion hats. They’re very popular right now. Next, I’ll go to a show in January and sell and take orders for costumers that I will deliver as requested throughout the year until Halloween.”
By March, Monlezun will have her spring line of straw hats out in her retail division. “I’ll not only have Easter on the burner, but I’ll also be working on the Derby for May. In summer, things calm down some, but it gives me time to finalize the orders that need to be shipped by August to the costume shops for Halloween!”
Monlezun says that one of the most enjoyable aspects of her business is when someone walks into her shop or booth and tells her, “I can’t wear hats, they just don’t look good on me!” And before they leave, they’ve bought a hat.
“It’s simply because they don’t know how to wear one!” Monlezun laughs. “You can’t just plop a hat on your head! You look in the mirror and you slightly tilt it over to the side and you’ve created a character to the hat. I still think that when a lady wears a hat, she turns heads, and she’s almost always complimented. There’s something about a lady with a hat that people find intriguing!”
In the near future, be on the lookout for style shows and possibly tea parties at Monlezun’s new location.
Sassy Royals Hats, Courtyard Park, 3505 5th Ave. Ste. A, Lake Charles, 70607. (337) 540-3098,
www.sassyroyals.com, and find them on Facebook.
by Kerry Andersen
Hat’s off to one of the top fashion trends of the season! Bucket and baseball styles found a nostalgic niche on the runways; wide-brimmed Panama and cowboy hats found favor with social media influencers and fashionistas alike; and berets, fedoras and knit caps kept our heads warm during chilly winter days. Here’s a roundup of super-flattering options guaranteed to make you look good. And remember – the best part about a hat is that it always fits – no matter how much you indulged over the holidays!
If you think you’re not a ‘hat person’, pop on one of the wide-brimmed Panama styles carried by this cute downtown boutique and prepare to be amazed. The fit is flattering and, as a bonus, will protect your face from the sun. Mia’s also has a full line of wide and short brim fedoras in a variety of colors to match any outfit. Owner Mia Mouton-Rene’ says bands are an easy way to customize your hat for a look all your own. 318 Pujo Street, Lake Charles
Bucket hats are one throwback to the 90’s that returned with a vengeance this season. They are both stylish and practical in cooler weather. At Julep Boutique, you’ll find bucket hats in fun (and warm) materials like faux fur with a leopard print. Wide-brimmed Highway and Panama style hats flatter everyone and come accentuated with braided leather belt accents. Or grab a Boujie Bee felt fedora in shades of sherbet trimmed in ribbons to match. The Nelson Road boutique also carries baseball caps and beanies for a more casual look. 4720 Nelson Road, Lake Charles
Patton’s Lake Charles
Cowboy hats are officially trending for the 2021/2022 fashion season. Perhaps it’s a nod to the nation’s obsession with the hit show Yellowstone, but Western-inspired gear is having a moment. Whether wide-brimmed or high-crowned, you’ll find cowboy hats of all kinds at Patton’s. Choose a neutral shade like black or tan so you can wear it with anything. Straw cowboy hats from Twister are available year-round here along with iconic seasonal styles from Stetson and Resistol. Felt fashion hats by Charlie One Horse are made in the USA and are topping trendy heads everywhere. For men, check out Ariat Hats, Carhartt caps and leather patch caps from Field & Fowl. 3620 Ryan Street, Lake Charles
Iron Shop Provisions
This hip Broad Street retailer lists the Toquilla Straw Hat, handwoven by artisans in Ecuador, as their most popular head topper. The style has been around for centuries and is designed to help beat the heat. It is lightweight and stylishly trimmed in full grain leather. Also in the shop and online (ironshopprovisions.com), trendier options like the 3Sixteen 6 Panel Cap, twill bucket hat and a full selection of knit waffle caps for men and women. 625 Broad Street, Lake Charles
Proud of being a mom? Having a bad hair day or just feeling sleepy? Now you can share your status or mood with the world by wearing a ballcap that gives off a relaxed weekend vibe embroidered with fun sayings that announce your current state of mind. Felt Panama hats are on-trend, and Mimosa has them in a rainbow of colors to complete your winter outfits. The boutique also carries a wide selection of straw rancher hats with colorful bands to add a fun customized fashion touch. 3101 Ernest Street, Lake Charles
Cajun Cap Company
Classic baseball trucker hats are just as bold as you may remember from the early 2000’s and they’re making a comeback! You’ll find them on the heads of celebrities and fashionistas alike. If you see them for sale in Southwest Louisiana, there’s a good chance they were designed by the Cajun Cap Company. Owner Kevin Mattingly says, ‘every cap has a story’, like the popular Crystal Beach style he created to remind him how much he loves the secluded beach community. For now, Cajun Caps works with local companies to design and supply custom headwear, but Mattingly has plans for a website or retail distribution in the near future. 337-532-3839 or