I forget where I originally saw it - but I've paraphrased it several times.
At the turn of the (last) century, when women wore hats as part of leaving the house - a man got word that he was being considered for a promotion/new job - but part of the process was an event where his wife would be interacting with their wives (a wife who didn't "fit in" could get him dropped from being considered for the job, in other words). It would be a dressy event and his wife NEEDED a new hat as she didn't have one of the correct level of recent fashion & whatever other criteria went into making sure that a given hat worked for a given event.
The right hat was a confidence issue - not just a fashion accessory, in this situation. (For those who aren't used to wearing hats and only their great-grandmothers used to wear them at all.)
She went to her favorite millener's and tried on every hat in the place - not just the one's that were appropriate - every one of them to see if they were close to the "right hat". Nope...she tried them all on again...still nope...she was getting visibly upset because she NEEDED the right hat and it wasn't there!
The designer came out and asked what was wrong (either a good customer or one who could easily become one with her husband getting a promotion & raise, I suppose). She explained everything about the possible new job, more responsibility, the need to carry herself well with the other wives, and the need for the right hat to boost her confidence...especially the fancy event with the other wives which needed a very special hat to stand out as a model of taste & decorum and whatever else the "right hat" was going to prove.
The designer listened, grabbed a velvet remnant, pleating it between practiced fingers, arranging it, and borrowing a diamond stickpin from the woman before placing it at a slight angle on her head. Turning her to the mirror, the question was "would this work?"
With a gasp, the woman saw on her head the PERFECT HAT, tasteful, rich without being gaudy or ostentatious (small diamond stickpin), it made her look exactly like she'd been wanting to - maybe better (confidence boosted to the max)!
Trembling with joy, she asked the price. It was HIGHER than expected....trying to bargain a bit (I always wondered if she'd had to buy several new outfits for the interview process), she asked how the designer could possibly charge so much for a remnant of velvet and the stickpin, after all was HERS!
Taking it off her head, the designer removed the pin, shook out the velvet & folded it up, handed it to her customer and told her that the VELVET was free. But the hat would still be $___! (Prices have gone up since - leave it as an expensive hat at a time when wages were much, much lower.)