SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – With 50,000 people expected for the big Travers race on Saturday, you can bet there will be a lot of hats on display at the track.
Quite a few of those hats could have first passed through the hands of a local woman who makes sure each person looks Hatsational.
“Always wear it with a slight tilt to the right,” Hatsational by DEI President and Owner Joyce Locks said. “And always show your face. The hat is supposed to frame your face; not cover your face.”
Locks’ passion for hats was born out of necessity.
“I’m a horseman – thoroughbred horseman – and one of my horses was racing at Gulfstream and my hair was short and curly and not looking so wonderful,” she said. “I couldn’t find a hat anywhere, so I came home and started a hat business.”
What started as a home-based business now has multiple outlets in Saratoga with 18,000 hats in stock for ladies and gentlemen.
And no two hats are the same. Locks accessorizes each one to match the outfit, stable colors or whatever the customer desires.
Once the adornments are chosen, Locks hand sews the pieces to the hat. The craftsmanship has attracted repeat customers with hats ending up all over the country.
“I had some wonderful people come in, and I customized many hats and the husband said to me, ‘When I fly home, my plane is going to be full of your hats,’ and I said, ‘Well, that’s not a bad thing,’” Locks recalled.
The hats are a throwback to racing in England in the 1800s. But one thing hasn’t changed – the attention to eye-catching headpieces attract.
“You never walk down the street with a hat on without someone saying I love your head ware,” Locks said.
Locks had five hats end up in the Winners Circle last year.