They say if you want to get ahead – get a hat – and thanks to the millinery Mecca that is Joan Pressley Hats in Devizes, many hundreds of us have done just that.
But sadly, the time has come for Joan to literally hang up her hat.
She is retiring after 34 years of providing the ladies of Marlborough, Devizes, and in fact half of Wiltshire with the essential occasion headgear from the 15th century building in St John’s Alley.
“We have such lovely, loyal customers,” said Joan, who decided enough was enough aged 85. “People come every year for Ascot which is like Christmas in the toyshop for us.
“We have had a fantastic time. I will miss it – it is almost like a bereavement for me – it keeps me going, but it is time to finish now.”
The shop has become something of an establishment for anyone looking for a hat for an occasion. It all started by chance 34 years ago.
“I was wondering around Covent Garden and came across a hat sale,” explained Joan. “I had just been to a wedding. We had had trouble finding hats – and at the time you could hire wedding outfits and evening dresses, but not hats.
“So on the spur of the moment I bought some. I came up with ‘hire a hat’ – and a week later my first hat went out. I still have the five pound note framed from it.
“It went from strength to strength and I think a key part of that success was that I re-trimmed the hats so they were bespoke at a reasonable price.”
Established in 1987, it has achieved an international reputation for the supply of ladies headware, offering the very best in fashion, style and design.
In addition to offering the latest hat fashions from many leading designers, Joan Pressley Hats has offered a bespoke re-trimming service..
“We will be starting to close down in the coming weeks,” added Joan. “We will be selling most of the hats at sale price – so please do come and see us!’