Steal or splurge? A vintage style pillbox hat

Now that blogs exist, I hardly ever buy magazines anymore as there’s so much to read online, but when I did, I noticed something they did a lot was these ‘steal, spend or splurge?’ articles where they picked a product and found very similar options to suit different budgets. Anyone else remember those (is it a British thing)? I was usually most interested in the ‘steals’, but particularly if something looked like occasionwear – I’m quite careful about weighing up cost-per-use.
So when I came across this Collectif hat, I knew I was never going to buy it. As lovely as it is, £25 (not including the shipping) could buy me e.g. a top that I’d wear regularly. But I really, really loved it… I scoured vintage shops online to find something similar, but everything I saw was even more expensive and not the cute shape this one had that I’d fallen for.
So I gave eBay a try, and I’m so glad I did! I found one that was virtually identical, came in numerous colours (I was after ivory, which Collectif do make but is hard to get hold of) and when you’d added in shipping, worked out to be £12.50 cheaper. So I’ve done my very own ‘steal or splurge?’!
Steal or splurge? Red pillbox hats
The shape of the hat is basically identical, along with the bow placement and if anything I’d say the eBay one has a fuller, bigger veil. It also has those little pom pom things which are quite adorable. (They do also make red with black veil like the Collectif one, I just couldn’t get a good picture of it here.)
40s/50s style felt pillbox hat with bow and veil in ivory
As I mentioned, I wanted an ivory hat to go with a wedding guest outfit and the eBay seller didn’t let me down. It arrived in under a week (somehow, from China) and was under the £15 cut-off for China -> UK customs charges, so I didn’t get stung by extra taxes (always do your research when shopping like this!). I’m surprised by the quality and am so pleased with it generally I wanted to share it here, as it’s such a good alternative. Of course, as with many of these things, I don’t know the ethics around how the cheaper hat was made, but saying this, I actually don’t know much about Collectif’s either (however, I’ve got a feeling their goods aren’t locally manufactured as they’d probably mention it if so). I’m a bad, bargain driven shopper… It’s worth mentioning that if you’re similar to me in this respect, eBay is a great place for finding felt pillbox hats of any shape, size and colour for great prices.

Here’s a sneak peak of it on as part of my wedding guest outfit option B (if you remember A). More on that soon…

40s/50s style felt pillbox hat with bow and veil in ivory

Anyone got their own examples of a bargain version of a more expensive item? I’m thinking about doing another post like this on hair flowers, for example…


  1. May 6, 2015 / 12:38 pm

    You're a girl after my own heart! I love spree v steal type posts and this is a good one. I think it's super and can't wait to see it with the full outfit I hope this is now a regular feature for you?! xx

    • May 6, 2015 / 5:50 pm

      I think you're a better bargain hunter than me, but I give it a go! And 'spree vs steal' would have been a much cooler name for this… I thought I was being quite original but should have realised I'd be late to the party 😉 It may well become more regular… as long as I can find some nice things to share! And at the same time trying not to be too UK-centric, which is always a challenge when it comes to shopping tips… xx

  2. May 6, 2015 / 3:00 pm

    So cute! I'm nearly always a "steal" person. Unless a hat is ridiculously unique and I'll wear it often… I can't spend THAT much on it. I'm more into 30s-40s styles, so those are more expensive than the more readily available 50s and 60s hats. I want to get into 20s looks, and another blogger recommended looking for 60s does 20s types of hats for a cheaper option. I'm going to look for one!

    • May 6, 2015 / 5:51 pm

      Yep me too – bargains are so much more attractive to me than putting down loads of money on something. Where's the challenge in that?! I think the 80s does 50s, 60s does 20s etc etc is a very good option for stuff like this – good point!

  3. May 6, 2015 / 5:28 pm

    Thanks Cici, I'll definitely remember to check Ebay for one of these when I've got some cash.

    • May 6, 2015 / 5:52 pm

      Happy to help! Like I say, there's lots of them on there, it's just this one was the best bargain and my favourite.

  4. May 6, 2015 / 5:48 pm

    This is such a good idea for a blog series! Love the hat, I got a collectif one in the sale but haven't had a chance to wear it yet, I need to get better with money! I was great before I started blogging!


    • May 6, 2015 / 5:53 pm

      Pressure on me to keep it up now then 😉 why do I do this to myself?! Ooh, looking forward to seeing your bargain! That's the only other way I'd consider buying one of their hats, I suspect… But that goes for many things. I've been terrible with money the last couple of years and I do think blogging's partly to blame! It's fun though 😉 x

  5. May 6, 2015 / 6:11 pm

    Definitely love steals! I'd have to realy fall in love with a certain item and it's details in order to buy it at more expensive prive points. I should consider price per wear more like you do though….
    I was also wondering how you get that type of hat to stay in your hair. Do you pin it a certain way?

    • May 7, 2015 / 12:04 pm

      I feel exactly the same! Ah in this case, the hat itself has two little comb grips on the inside lining, so I used those tucked onto some backcombed hair for a firm grip. It also has an elasticated ban presumably for wearing under your chin, but as it's black there was no way I was using that!

  6. May 6, 2015 / 7:16 pm

    Fantastic post! You are a smart comparison shopping, deal hunting, hat loving lady after my own heart. From shoes to skirts to undergarments, I've found similar deals on eBay (and less commonly, elsewhere online) that were either vintage or modern versions of high street or department store offerings. In fact, one area in particular where I've had a lot of success with this is craft supplies.

    Way to shop and save, dear gal!

    ♥ Jessica

    • May 7, 2015 / 12:05 pm

      I'd never thought of eBay for craft supplies – I do very little crafting, but occasionally I've had the need to buy replacement buttons etc so I really must remember that tip!

  7. May 7, 2015 / 12:29 am

    I really liked those kind of features as well! Although if all of them were "steals", I think I'd be over the moon…
    Your little pillbox is adorable, I can't wait to see the full look. I'm sure it's spectacular. 😉

    • May 7, 2015 / 12:05 pm

      Ha, me too! Glad you agree it's adorable, I'm looking forward to showing it off in an outfit soon. It really did make said outfit!

  8. May 7, 2015 / 8:10 am

    I really like the ebay option better! It looks very elegant. Well done with the comparison, im more of a one click pre setting sort of girl and just buy what I like. I really need to shop around a bit more. You've inspired me to challenge myself.

    • May 7, 2015 / 12:07 pm

      I ended up preferring it too! It certainly didn't feel a poor substitute. I'm the opposite and will hunt endlessly for the best price for something I want – but to the point where I end up not getting something I want at all! There's a happy middle ground to be found…

  9. May 8, 2015 / 5:01 am

    hello there,ciao…cannot wait to see the wedding guest outfit option B…I guess it's a chic work of Art!

  10. May 12, 2015 / 5:41 am

    Ah, love these kinds of posts! Mostly because I am SUCH a skinflint, steals and deals kind of girl. And that hat is really nice. My first thought was *gasp* a pillbox hat I could actually see myself wearing! ❤

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

  11. May 12, 2015 / 7:51 am

    It is always good to see these comparisons and I think I prefer your steal to the splurge! It looks great in the final photo so look forward to seeing the whole outfit!

  12. May 12, 2015 / 5:34 pm

    Love your little hat! It's so cute! And as far as the steal vs splurge, I do actually like the red ebay one over the red Collectif one… I like the red veil better, I like that the there's more netting, and I also like the little poms in the netting better. 🙂 So cute

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