News & Politics

This 100-Year-Old Woman Is Still Making Hats—and They’re Amazing

Vanilla Beane. Photograph by Jeff Elkins

Vanilla Beane has spent the last 40 years working out of her Manor Park shop, Bené Millinery. Creating hats “keeps me going,” she says. “If I stayed home, I would go mad.” With her 100th birthday on the way, here are a few of her head toppers.

This article appears in the September 2019 issue of Washingtonian.

Jane Recker
Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.