By Elle McLogan

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – In her over 30 years making hats, Evetta Petty has amassed a diverse clientele.

Her work has sat on the heads of everyone from trendy locals to runway models to churchgoing senior citizens.

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“You know, I have wonderful customers that are in their 80s, and they’re still so fabulous,” she said. “I also have the society girls that go to the conservancy luncheon in Central Park, and they go to the Veuve Clicquot, to the polo matches.”

The wares at Harlem’s Heaven Hat Shop, her workshop-cum-retail space, range in price from $89 for simpler styles to upwards of $1,000 for custom designs.

She sources materials from across the globe to create dramatic shapes in bold prints.

“I am not classically trained as a milliner, so I approach designing hats very differently. I like to use unconventional materials. I like to say I’ll make a hat out of anything, anything I see. It could be an old rug. I’d make a hat out of it,” she said.

She finds inspiration simply looking out the window.

“I love having my shop in Harlem. This is a neighborhood full of people with style. We appreciate dressing up and looking good,” she said. “This is a fashion town, and this is the epicenter.”

For Evetta, a statement hat isn’t only fun for a gala or a horse race; it also works a kind of magic on an ordinary day.

“When you wear a hat, and it’s a fantastic hat, and you know you look good, I think that people treat you differently,” she said. “It does make you feel like you can do anything. Hats are powerful.”

Harlem’s Heaven Hat Shop
2538 Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd.
New York, NY 10039

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Elle McLogan