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Hats off to Santa Rosa’s Portobello

“A hat symbolizes so much,” says Jennifer Webley, owner of Portobello Hats in downtown Santa Rosa. “You can immediately tell someone’s personality from a hat.”

If that’s true, then Webley’s store is full of personalities. Inside this little millinery shop just off Santa Rosa’s Fourth Street, you’ll find hand-crafted and vintage toppers to fit all moods, wardrobes, climates, and whims. Panama hats hand-woven in Ecuador for sun-worshipers; elegant, classic women’s hats for the perpetually chic; Basque berets and fedoras and newsboy caps for the rakish; intricate fascinators for the truly bold; knitted animal hats for kids – they’re all here.

Webley sources her hats from all over the world and all over Sonoma County, and puts together her own creations and fills custom orders in the back of the shop.

Getting here has been a logical progression for Webley, who has collected hats since the age of 17, studied hat-making, and traveled from South America to Transylvania to her own backyard in search of high-quality and unusual chapeaux.

She sees her shop as not only a unique resource for fashion lovers, but as a way to “preserve the art of hat-making.” And she encourages her customers to discover first-hand all the reasons why she fell in love with making hats, herself. Inside the store, the creative at heart will find “make your own fascinator” kits, drawers full of candy-colored buttons, and all kinds of other artful inspiration. Even better, Portobello hosts workshops and guest lectures, so locals and visitors alike can come test their meddle as milliners. It’s hard to top that.

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