When we set out to design our coronet, we really had a hard time divining what we should use as our inspiration. For our first attempt, we went with a simple pill box hat. The veil was sewed onto the top of the hat which we didn't feel was a good choice for our Novice/Fully Professed coronet, as changing the veil would mean changing the entire hat. We did feel that this would be a great choice for our postulants since it is easy to make and maintain.
We then continued our search for the right design for us our Novice and Fully Professed sisters. We settled on using North Carolina's state motto, "First In Flight", to steer our design efforts. We then went though many many revisions starting with hats that had a strong resemblance to a bi-plane and moving closer and closer to the pill box hat with each revision as we discovered problems with the wings being to wide and the front and back being problematic at some lengths. We finally settled on a hat that had very short wings and a propeller made out of vale in the front (See the design sketches below).
With our change in name, we wanted to incorporate a bit more of out state bird, the cardinal. The stubby bi-plane wings, got changed to be slightly more like a bird's wing and we wanted the 'propeller' pointing up to the heavens for a bit more security/stability of the veil.
Who know what the future holds. We're constantly thinking about new ideas that will inspire our community and move us forward.
The drawings below are of the version just before our current coronet which now has propeller pointing up instead of down and is less angular with the "wings".
Our guard hat is a black leather top-hat (Mad-hatter style). The design was functional as well as cool looking. Our first guard wasn't the tallest and wanted to insure that sisters would be able to spot him over a crowd if they got separated. The top-hat is a unique enough choice that you won't have to worry about false positives. It additionally functions a purse. The hat can be taken off and unzipped. Typically guards keep clown white, powder, bendy straws, napkins, eye-lash glue, super glue, condoms, and many other items in their hats.
Other houses do use top-hats, but there are actually many common styles of top-hat.
As an act of solidarity, the guards wear a white hat band as novices and will change hat bands as part of elevation. Initially, it was thought that they would have to have a white top-hat and purchase a black one once they became FP, but the price was prohibitive and we felt it wan't needed.