For character design, I looked a a few different styles of hat stands. However I prefer the small one I found in an earlier image as it'd be a lot more challenging for showing emotion. Plus it really reminded me of the Pixar lamps. I could imagine my hat stand moving in a similar way to the small lamp.
I did a few sketches to develop my character. I went along with the single stand which would only hold one hat. The idea for a bonnet rather than an actual hat came to mind when I realized that if my hat stand had an actual hat, they would be loosing it all the time. Plus the idea also came to me when I looked at this website: http://madamesmercantile.com/hats_and_hat_accessories