Cowboy Couture: from the hat to the spurs, ride ’em, cowboy!

Good news for you lovers of all things Western.

A Denver Post article, “Western wear on way to classic status“, has rounded up some reasons behind the popularity surge (not that I ever needed a reason to slap on my Casablanca).

Men's Milano Fur Felt Dress Western Hat - The Casablanca Fur Felt

The Western market is getting a boost from such sources as, which dubs one of the top trends this season “New Frontier.” And this month’s Harper’s Bazaar has a “Best Western” layout of items that promise to “kick-start your wardrobe.” All proof, says Daniel DeWeese, editor of Western Lifestyle Retailer magazine, “that Western wear is having a huge influence on mainstream fashion.”

Popular culture continues to play a role too. The straw cowgirl hat Julia Roberts wore in “Runaway Bride” has been hot ever since the movie came out in 1999, and Madonna’s sparkly rodeo queen hats and clothes in her 2000 “Music” album and videos had an impact too.

“Western wear has been a hip thing among models, TV and movie stars,” and that filters down, DeWeese says.

Women's Scala Toyo Shapeable Western Hat - The Black Midnight

“It will start with celebrities and boutiques on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, then everyone else follows them,” says Steve Weil, vice president of Rockmount Ranch Wear in Denver. “It’s a rejection of conventional fashion, the boring mainstream.”

“The Europeans view (Western wear) from a distance that we can’t,” says Tyler Thoreson, executive editor at, the website for GQ and Details magazines. “They’re an ocean away and can look at American iconography and just go with it. We’re too close to it to have that much fun with it.”

But that’s OK, because in America, Western is becoming a classic, Weil says. “It has earned a credibility and doesn’t necessarily cycle in and out of fashion as it did in the past,” he says.

“Parts of Western are staple and just as much in fashion this season as the next, whether it’s a hat or boots or a belt. It’s a firm part of the fashion scene and will remain so for the long haul.”

Now for them riding lessons…

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

Published in: on January 17, 2006 at 12:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Wear a Hat — it’s Cheaper than Plastic Surgery

Straight from New York, a special to NYNewsday:

Haute hat designer Eugenia Kim, whose eponymous Manhattan atelier provides of-the-moment headwear to the likes of Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cameron Diaz and Jessica Simpson, [intones]: “Every single person can wear a hat.”

Such a hat advocate is Kim that she thinks you can, at least temporarily, skip dieting and perhaps plastic surgery by plunking one on your head.

“They’re great especially right now when you just ate a lot over the holidays. It’s not like your head got any bigger, though your butt might have, and wearing a hat distracts and balances.”
Milano Pure Beaver Dress Western Hat - The Casablanca Pure Beaver

Kim claims that cowboy hats, “give you a face-lift. If your face is droopy or fat it raises you and makes you look five pounds skinnier.” As for color, she says, think pink. “A pink hat with a little brim adds blush to your face. You don’t need makeup.”

Note to self: never walk next to this woman. Droopy face, fat butt – *harumph*

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

Published in: on January 15, 2006 at 9:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hat Wearers: Embrace the Attention!

More people jumping on the “hats are back” bandwagon, and who better than Kay Killen, of Texas, founder and president of The Hat Society?

In an Express-Times article (‘wittily’ called Hold On To Your Hat), Killen says hats have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity over the past 10 years.

“People need reminders that it’s OK to wear a hat,” she explains. “A lot of celebrities are starting to wear hats. When the public sees someone like Justin Timberlake or Cedric the Entertainer wearing a hat, they think, ‘I can too!'”

“You need to embrace the attention you get when you wear a hat,” Killen adds. “You need to get accustomed to the smiles you will get, and give them back.”

Killen lists the fedora and the newsboy hat as two popular hats that are making a comeback.Scala Fur Felt Fedora Hat - The Tracy

“The fedora is a classic hat. It has a narrow brim, a pincher crown and can be unisex,” Killen says.

“The newsboy hat is like a driving cap very young and kicky.”Stetson Wool Blend Newsboy Cap - The Chickadee

Is it only me, or is anyone else out there not familiar with this clown, Cedric the Entertainer?

Have fun and thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

Published in: on January 13, 2006 at 12:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Matching Best Hat with Hair Type and Style

I wish I’d written this, but since I probably thought of it first anyway, it’s almost the same.

Anyway – an article called Best hat-hair matchups recommends the kind of hat that best suits your hairstyle. It’s a good-to-know piece you may want to print out and Krazy Glue to your bathroom mirror (except for you really lucky guys with no hair, of course).

In a nutshell:

Long Straight hair:
loose-braid it (dry) and stuff into knit cap.

Kangol Ivy Cap - The Ventair 504 Ivy

Pin-straight or slightly bouncy hair: slide into aviator cap (with or without ear flaps).
Women's Scala Fur Trooper Hat - The Winter Chill

Curly hair: pull on beret or wrap in scarf.
Women's Scala Wool Brimmed Beret - The Genevieve

NOTE: to wear a fedora, style in low bun.
Makins Fur Felt Fedora - The Velour Fur Felt Fedora

Guys–if you do this bun-in-a-fedora or the braids or whatever that pin thing is, I’m not responsible in any way.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

Published in: on January 12, 2006 at 12:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Advice from a guy on what to wear

Now this is good fashion advice! (imagine — it comes from North Jersey…)

Trying to keep up with clothing trends is a mug’s game (unless you’re a woman, of course; then it’s a contact sport). That’s because fashions change faster than Giants relief pitchers. Just when you’ve decided to jump on the $50 silk T-shirt bandwagon, you find out they’re over, and that the next big thing is Lycra lederhosen. Sure, you could pair the two, but then you’d look, well, you’d look like an idiot.

Take the outfit from an Izod ad in a recent Esquire. It’s wrong on so many levels that we don’t have the space to go into the details, except to say, “Nice hat.”

Experimentation can be good, but … If you’re going to go out on a fashion limb, do it one piece at a time. Pick either the plaid tam-o’-shanter or the camo dickey, for instance, but not both.

(You can read the full article here.)

Well, I haven’t got a tam-o’-shanter (or a camo dickey, thank goodness), but I’ve got these incredible cashmere sweaters,

made by Peter Scott in the mills of Hawick, Scotland.

Close enough?

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

Published in: on January 11, 2006 at 1:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Put this in your hat and smoke it!

Many spring and summer hats are made from natural plants fibers: stalks of palm leaves, hemp, straw, sisal and so on. So, these Albanian farmers, minding their own business, growing industrial hemp get arrested. Again. Why?

Well, for “the second time in five years, Albanian drug police mistook hemp for cannabis and arrested the growers.”

In fact, the Minister of the Interior “appeared on a popular TV show to announce to the country that police had seized a tonne of cannabis.”

(The Ministry had no comment yesterday.)

Men's Makins Sisal Fedora - The Mist Sisal Fedora


Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

Full article here.

Published in: on January 10, 2006 at 6:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Is it Trooper or Trapper? Maybe Super Trooper?

I am so far ahead of the fashion world! Oh, well. They’re finally catching up according to this article: called Get Caught Up in the Warmth of Trapper Hat, which reads:

Gentlemen, start 2006 off with fashion sense and warm ears: Hello, trapper hat.

“I’m a big fan,” says Madeline Weeks, GQ magazine’s fashion director. “There’s a function to it. It’s not just a fashionable item.” Dudes like the rugged glamour, she says. “It’s great to wear with a parka or topcoat. And it frames the face great. It’s kind of fun.”

Men are wearing hats more, Weeks says. “It’s not so much ‘Oh, I never wear a hat.’ ”

The trapper – usually a boxy fur- or fleece-lined hat with earflaps – doesn’t age-discriminate. It looks great on all men. And it channels unrefined lumberjack and Russia. The trapper is a sound barrier between you and the world.

“It’s a look that’s been around for hundreds of years,” Weeks says. “Guys can relate to it.”

Yoo-hoo Mrs. GQ fashion director – over here. Can we talk?

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

Published in: on January 9, 2006 at 3:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

Grab your fur and run straight to Breckenridge! It’s ULLR time.

A little breathless here – on my way to the annual Ullr Fest in Breckenridge, Colorado. You know, the mythical Norse God of snow?

Well, it’s all explained right here and you don’t say “ull-er”, you say “oool-er” (dude).

Think my mink’ll Crown Cap Fur Hat - The Mink Trooperfit the bill, and I’ll see you later.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

Published in: on January 6, 2006 at 12:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fantastic in Hats – whatever the weather

Fashion advice columnist, Hilary Alexander, of London’s Daily Telegraph, had this to say about men’s hats:

I think men look fantastic in hats. They’re mysterious, romantic and dashing, and I wish more would wear them, whatever the weather.

She goes on to single out the “classic Trilby…in black, brown or navy, and [the] slightly more flamboyant Fedora in black.”

Then the maven captures my heart (and head) with this:

If you want to really cut a dash, you could try a Russian fur hat with ear-flaps in black or brown mink.

Hilary Alexander: if your initials weren’t HA! [exclamation point mine], we might have something going on. And might I add that you’d look extremely smart in Women’s Wool Trilby by Kangol, pictured here:Trilby is traditionally a man’s hat but here Kangol has done it for women. Black, Camel or Silver.” />

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

Published in: on January 5, 2006 at 7:01 am  Leave a Comment  

straw hats and chardonnay

Got the winter blues (already)?

You’re in luck! Pencil in January 14th as your day to be warmed by the Auckland sun, enjoying local New Zealand jazz and big band sounds in a 1200 foot high natural terraced amphitheatre — surrounded by pristine native bush — at Music Mountain Matakana’s summer concert series.

This is an all day affair, with the second and third concerts in February and March focusing on blues–of the musical persuasion–and country. (lose the chardonnay)

So, pack up your porkpie men!

Men's Borsalino Straw Porkpie - The Baku Porkpie

and your pretty panama, please m’lady –

Women's Borsalino Panama Hat - The Francesca

We’re off to the races!

(so to speak…)

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

Published in: on January 4, 2006 at 7:08 am  Leave a Comment