Vanilla Beane

Vanilla Beane 1919 – 2022

Vanilla Beane

Vanilla Powell Beane, affectionately known as Washington, D.C.’s  “hat lady,” turned 100 in 2019 and was still custom-making hats at 101. She moved to DC and found work as an elevator operator in a building that housed the Washington Millinery & Supply Company. The shop is where Beane would frequent to browse the hats and buy materials. She finally got a job with there as a supply clerk. The dream of owning her own business became a reality in 1979 when the owner sold his line of millinery supplies to her upon his retirement. 

Beane was the hat maker for the late civil rights icon Dr. Dorothy Height, who would pick up dresses from the Black-owned boutique next door and come over to Bené Millinery to find a hat to match. 

Links for additional information:

Bene Millinery Business site

ABC News