Hats: Good for the Environment

I read an article about trade show with an “environmentally conscious bent”. It’s very interesting.

The convention featured a discussion of cause-related (read: tree-hugger) marketing.

I can imagine some of the corporate yawns–but then Ray Anderson (a carpet manufacturer) who was the keynote speaker–said that by switching his company over to recycled materials and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes, he’s saved money.

That must have made the suits sit up!

Big business usually just “talks the talk” about recycling and doing less damage to the environment, but when the bottom line’s affected, talk turns into action.

Hartford York - Men's Borsalino Sisal Fedora - The Sicilian FedoraI learned good things about my own product line too. For instance, hemp (a plant used in hat-making, resulting in gorgeous creations like the one pictured here) is easy to grow and requires less water than other fibers. Also, “scrap hats” like The Carlos are actually deemed to be recycled products because they are made from “pre-consumer waste, material left over on the cutting room floor.”

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on February 28, 2006 at 11:00 am  Leave a Comment  

Hat Lessons, Anybody?

Men's Borsalino Beaver Fur Felt Fedora Hat - The Ultimo Broad Brim
When making movies in which people wore hats other than baseball caps, costume designer Louise Frogley says: “The [male actors] didn’t know how to wear them, didn’t know how to put them on or take them off, didn’t know what to do with them when they were off. I had to give individual hat classes. They had no idea what to do.”

She says the casualness of today was unheard back in the the late 1950s, early ’60s, and also that:

there was a desire then to be grown-up. It was considered a good thing. Now everyone wants to be 10. You see guys on skateboards, and they’re in their late 20s or 30s.

Well, you don’t see me on any skateboards, Louise. No way, no how. At least, not without my hat. 🙂

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on February 27, 2006 at 3:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mardi Gras in my Bullwinkle hat

Well, I’m off now. Been planning this New Orleans trip for a while — pulled some strings and got myself an original Bullwinkle hat to blend in with all the other Bourbon Street revellers. Wonder if there’ll be the usual drunken mob round a Golden Calf beating drums, blowing horns and shouting “Hail to the Calf!” (That’s always fun.)
Hartford York - Men's Biltmore Fur Felt Porkpie - The Porkpie
Course I’ll have to bring along a hat that’ll fit in with the cool evenings of jazz in the French Quarter, and I think this fine bit of porkpie will do the trick quite admirably.

Watch for me on the webcams at the Nola site. And wear your hat.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

Published in: on February 24, 2006 at 12:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

Over the Brim

Better stock up on cowboy hats and westerns now, before prices sky-rocket, warns Christian Science Monitor correspondent, Jillian Lloyd.

Although the hikes haven’t been passed on to consumers – yet – “the cost of one of the world’s most recognizable trappings, the cowboy hat, [is rising] as China imports more fur.”

In China, they’re putting rabbit fur on everything right now,” says Stan Redding, vice president of sales and marketing for Stetson Hat Co., in Garland, Texas. “Prior to this, we were the biggest consumer of that byproduct. The demand is what’s driven up the price.

Plus, global warming is making the best-grade furs harder to come by–it’s cold winters that “produce the downy fur that makes the highest-quality felt.”

Hartford York - Men's Milano Pure Beaver Dress Western Hat - The Casablanca Pure BeaverThree-time world champion roper Trevor Brazile who prefers only 100 percent beaver fur (because it makes a hat lighter and thinner, yet holds its shape) says $1,000 is a fair price to pay for a quality lid.

With warmer winters and increased demand, that fair price might be quite a bit pricier next year.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on February 23, 2006 at 10:04 am  Leave a Comment  

Cashmere Care

Remember Linus? The little guy in the Snoopy and Peanuts comics with about 5 strands of hair that would stand straight up when he was scared? He had a security blanket he’d drag around with him everywhere–and it wasn’t some deep-rooted psychological issue that made him hang on.

Nope, the kid had class. And a cashmere blankie.

When you’ve got to clean your cashmere sweater, gloves or scarf – don’t dry clean unless it’s stained. The wool of a Kashmir goat will stay softer if you handwash it.

If mom refuses to do it for you, I’ve got the goods on how to go:
Hartford York - Heritage Cashmere Scarf - The Sheffield

Submerge cashmere in the sink with a little light detergent in cold or lukewarm water. Gently squeeze the suds through it. Leave cashmere in the sink for about 10 minutes. [keep it company and croon gently]

Drain the sink and rinse gently squishing until the suds are removed and the water is clear.

Lightly squeeze water out of the cashmere and roll it in a towel to remove the extra moisture and to speed the drying.

Reshape and let dry naturally.

You’re welcome.

(and thanks for reading)
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on February 22, 2006 at 12:04 pm  Leave a Comment  

Dress Your Age: 50 is the New 35

In her Style Business Blog, Leonie Barrie says Baby Boomers – and upper income “Zoomers” – have an annual spending power exceeding US$2tn. Just as important is the fact that as consumers, they increasingly care about how they look and how they dress.

While Leonie denies being anywhere near the big FIVE-OH, she does confirm that the need to look and feel great applies to her generation too.Hartford York - Barbour Men's Waxed Cotton Duster Coat - The Dover Vintage Coat

I completely understand where she’s coming from. I eat right (sometimes), I exercise (looking high and low for the remote), and–even as youthful as I am, I always want to look good.

When I don my duster, I know I look mah-vellous.

ZOOM, baby!

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on February 21, 2006 at 11:10 am  Leave a Comment  

Leather Caps All

In a Men’s Flair article covering leather clothing and accessories for men, it says: Men purchase leather accessories all the time with wallets, briefcases, belts and shoes so [the world of leather] is not unfamiliar territory for most.

This is true.Hartford York - Men's Borsalino Leather Ivy Cap - The DonatoBesides my Saba Bomber jacket, go-everywhere Scully binder and dependable Vogt New Yorker (my lucky leather belt), I’ve got my Borsalino ivy cap, which I love more than my wife. My LIFE, my Life!

I was thinking about a pair of leather trousers, but after I read the article’s opening paragraph, I just don’t see that purchase happening any time soon.

Remember the Friends episode where Ross decided to buy a pair of tight leather pants for a date?

While cuddled with his date on the couch, he started sweating profusely. Becoming increasingly uncomfortable, he went to the bathroom, took down his leather pants and started fanning his legs to cool off. When he tried to pull his tight leather pants back up they wouldn’t fit.

He frantically called Joey to help him on how to get out of this mess. Antics ensued when he tried to rub lotion and then powder on his legs to try to slip those leather pants back on.

He eventually emerged from the bathroom to the horror of his date with his leather pants around his ankles and a pasty mess covering his legs announcing that he ‘had a little problem’.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on February 20, 2006 at 9:43 am  Leave a Comment  

Color Me Cashmere

This week’s question at the New York Times Fashion & Style Opinion Board is:

Are you tired of dark colors for fall or winter clothing? Do you try to brighten up your cold-weather wardrobe?

Some interesting ideas include:

1. that wearing darker clothes is in imitation of nature’s hibernation, and thus an expression of internal and totally natural rhythmic sympathies with the universe [smoked your hemp hat again, didja poster?]; and

2. that bright accessories easily lighten up those darker tones — and we love our subdued colors of winter for their slimming silhouettes.

Hartford York - Men's Nat Nast Cashmere Sweater - The Cashmere Zip Front

The response that really caught my eye, though, was the person who’s rediscovered cashmere, which of course is a luxuriously warm fabric with a range of colors only your imagination can stop.

When I wear this Nat Nast cashmere in pear, for example, it just doesn’t matter if the weather outside is frightful – because I look so delightful.

Have a great (and colorful) weekend!

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on February 17, 2006 at 1:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

Coloring Your Accessories

Color (or the fear thereof) is considered one of the three biggest obstacles in men’s fashion, according to an article in Men’s Flair.

Many men, even very stylish men, shy away from colors other than brown, navy, gray, white and black. While neutrals are flattering and some (particularly black) can be very slimming, they are not eye-catching or unique. Hartford York - Men's Nat Nast Cotton Sweater - The Acid Washed Crew Neck
This is not to say that you have to run out and buy [the Artist who was Prince and now has no name whatever]’s purple velvet suit. Add a pop of color to an otherwise neutral outfit, and watch it light up your skin or eye color. Nothing is sexier than a man with blue eyes who knows how to wear a blue shirt, or even scarf or tie, to make his eyes look like swimming pools.

There are colors to compliment every tone. Warm and olive skins look best in yellows, reds, coppers, and other ‘warm’ shades. Cool, blue-toned skin looks great in greens, blues, purples, and other ‘cool’ colors. The right color under your face can really flatter your undertones.

Hartford York - Men's Stetson Wool Blend Newsboy Cap - The Chickadee

Hats are a great source of color too: start easy with a bright feather in your tweed walking hat. Pretty soon you too will be marching around in your Chickadee.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

Published in: on February 16, 2006 at 10:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Ranches and Cowboy Hats! It’s the "Brokeback" Phenomenon

The fallout from the blockbuster hit Brokeback Mountain isn’t lost on dude ranchers across North America.

Major news outlets across the country are reporting that ‘Brokeback’ fans are actively seeking out their own cowboy experience. If there’s one place these wanna-be cowboys can safely ride, rope and take in some breathtaking scenery, it’s on a dude ranch.

“Bookings for 2006 are already about 30 percent higher over this time last year,” reports Colleen Hodson, executive director of the Dude Rancher’s Association in Cody, Wyo. While there is no sure way to link the increased bookings to the ‘Brokeback’ phenomena, Hodson says the numbers and the renewed interest should alert fans to book early.

Well, I’ve been meaning to see this movie – just haven’t decided which of my western hats to wear…it’s narrowed down to a toss-up between my extremely sharp Milano Black DiamondHartford York - Men's Milano Fur Felt Dress Western Hat - The Black Diamond  and the very smooth Afficionado from Greeley.Hartford York - Men's Greeley Beaver Blend Western Dress Hat - The Afficionado

After the movie, I may try a dude ranch too. The closest I’ve ever been was some large mechanical bovine that kept trying to toss me to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive”.

Must run now – it’s time for my therapy session.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on February 15, 2006 at 10:32 am  Leave a Comment