It Takes Patience To Find Your Beret Groove

Wool Berets for Men and Women - Kangol Men's Beret - The Tropic Monty BeretErin Weinger of The Los Angeles Times says of the the beret: it “can change the look of an outfit and add personality to lackluster ensembles in an instant, but don’t be deceived: simple in design, berets are tricky to get right.”

Hat and accessory designer Eugenia Kim uses size as a guide for which beret to wear, matching a pared-down outfit with a smaller beret.

She calls the beret a “great cosmetic” too, saying: “If you have a round face, you can lose 5 pounds by wearing one [because] a chunky beret makes the face look slimmer.” She gives the example of a plush popcorn knitted style, saying that it “adds bulk to the top of the head and diverts eyes from the face.”

Additionally, if you want to cover a blemish like a “lazy eye or weird cowlick,” the beret is a great way to do it.

More suggestions and advice, including why eggplant is a good color and which beret is deemed “seductive“, are yours for the reading in Ms. Weinger’s article called Don’t Let That Chic Beret Become An Ugly Noggin Blob. (Really, that’s what she wrote; I didn’t make it up.)

You know I’d love to riff on the choice of title here, but I’m off to see if I have any bangs left to peek–coyly–from my beret a la Hilary Duff.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

If you know who Sir Hilary Duff is, please advise immediately. For the rest of you, get free updates by email or RSS.

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Published in: on January 27, 2008 at 9:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hat Expectations

Fur Hats - Crown Cap Mink Envoy Cap - The Mink Envoy - HartfordYork.comTrendWatching.com now reports that we’re in something called The Expectation Economy, “an umbrella trend that neatly captures the zeitgeist for mature (and rapidly maturing) consumer societies.”

It’s not just consumer goods that are being subjected to high expectations for intelligent (and picky) consumers; there have been reports from the medical community that doctors don’t especially appreciate the “medical-googler” approach, with patients (ie., consumers) researching everything from symptoms and side-effects to lawsuits that their doctor may have been involved in and the medical schools s/he attended.

There are a couple of reasons behind our heightened expections:

Intelligence on the best, the cheapest, the first, the most original and the most relevant been so openly available to consumers. And never before have consumers enjoyed doing research and ‘competitive analysis’ and ‘benchmarking’ as much as they do now, and doing it far more diligently than most corporations do.

I’m no doctor, but when somebody wants to check out my hats, I’m all for it. I just call that “smart shopping“, and I’m the first to do it. Of course, I always come back and buy from myself.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on January 24, 2008 at 9:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

Choice Words and Weight Loss

Warm Winter Hats - Crown Cap Fur Hat - The Sheared All Beaver TrooperA Japanese proverb: One kind word can warm three winter months.

That’s nice. But with the kind of weather many of us are experiencing, I’d say a good fur hat might be a bit more useful. Maybe an extra pair of mitts. But okay, I’ll bite and make sure to say lots of words as I’m shoveling my way out to the car today. Lots and lots of choice words. All kinds of ’em.

Speaking of Japan, a study by Japanese researchers who examined the links between personality and body mass, found that sociable people get fat and worriers thin. Based on personality tests given to more than 30,000 Japanese, outgoing people were far more likely than other people to have a body mass index (BMI) of more than 25, a widely used definition of overweight.

This is fantastic news!

Note to self: new diet plan. Worry more about everything. (Especially the weather).

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer, Slim and Warm
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on January 22, 2008 at 2:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hatless Wonders, Take Heart

Hats and Caps for Men - Men's Borsalino Leather Ivy Cap - The ZorziThere’s a wee primer on how the hatless should choose headwear. It’s good advice by Canadian hat shop owner, Sandra Mattar. In the Edmonton Journal article, Ms. Mattar reiterates what the hatted amongst us know so well:

“The best way to pick the perfect hat is to practice [by] throwing some hats on your head, and taking risks.”

A starting point might be experimenting with one of the most popular styles, which for men is the ivy cap and, increasingly, the fedora.

After you’ve chosen a style, it’s just as important that the hat fit properly. “You will very quickly know when a hat doesn’t fit, because it’ll either be really just too big and it’s falling in your face, or it’ll be uncomfortably tight,” says Mattar. “The hat should not squeeze your brains out, but it shouldn’t just fly off your head, either.

She cautions against being too adventurous, though. If you’re not really happy with how your hat matches your personality and wardrobe, you’ll likely wind up not wearing it at all.

“As nice as it is to take risks and chances, when something’s on your head, everyone’s going to see it,” says Mattar matter-of-factly. “And although we encourage you to try something different, we still want you to stay within a zone where you’re going to actually wear it.”

Smart lady.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on January 21, 2008 at 7:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Hat By Any Other Name

Men's Dress Hats - Scala Wool Felt Top Hat - The Mad Hatter Top HatLily Tomlin hit a nerve when she asked the unanswerable: Why isn’t there a special name for the tops of your feet? I mean, there’s a specific name for just about everything else you can think of: your forearm has its ulna, and the end of a hammer head opposite the striking face is apparently called a peen, for pete’s sake. Everybody knows a ferrule is the metal band on a pencil that holds the eraser in place, but I wasn’t aware that the revolving star on the back of a cowboy’s spurs is a rowel.

Hats have very specific names too: you’ve got your stovepipe or top hat (also called a plug hat); you’ve got your baseball cap, beret and bicorne. There’s your boater, bonnet and bowler (or derby) and caps, cloches and chef’s hats. Cowboy hats, westerns, ten gallons and outbacks. Am I getting my point across? Ivys, newsboys, driver’s caps and Greek Fishermen’s hats. Fedoras, homburgs and trilbies.

So, if the English language can come up with a word for the flat, square head-covers that students wear (and toss) at graduations, then why isn’t there a special name for the tops of your feet?

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

If you knew that the grad hats are called mortarboards, you might enjoy free updates of this blog by email or RSS.

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Published in: on January 18, 2008 at 1:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Not a Hat in Sight at theTwo-Day Course For Men

Cashmere Caps - Men's Cashmere Ball Cap - The Wigens Gotland Baseball CapThere’s a Two-Day Course For Men that I’m thinking of going to; it’s got a lot of useful classes, including:

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LAUNDRY BASKET & FLOOR
Practicing with hamper (Pictures and graphics)

REMOTE CONTROL
Losing the remote control – Help line and support groups

GETTING OVER IT
Learning how to live with being wrong all the time

Some really good stuff here. It won’t be a walk in the park, though. In fact, it’s so challenging there’s even a restriction as to class size: Due to the complexity and level of difficulty, each course will accept a maximum of eight participants.

I’m bummed of course that there’s nothing to learn about hats, like how to convert your living room into a hat-storage facility or how to try to pretend to like people who don’t wear hats.

Ah well, guess I’ll have to start my own little education center.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer, Educator
and CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on January 16, 2008 at 6:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Newsboy Cap’s New Name – Brad Pitt?

Borsalino Newsboy Caps - Men's Borsalino Leather Newsboy Cap - The GiuseppeA New Orleans Times-Picayune article says the “heartthrob humanitarian [that would be Brad Pitt, I’m guessing] and his cap seem to be inseparable.”

He donned a heathered newsboy with jeans and a T-shirt for a recent news conference in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward. He wore a flat cap with a full-length coat for a walk on the red carpet at the “Beowulf” premiere. He grabbed a gray topper for a bike ride around the French Quarter with Angelina Jolie and the kids.

For interviews on “Larry King Live” and the “Today” show, the cap was back. On the “Charlie Rose” show, there it was again.

Why is the newsboy such a popular look with such an assortment of stars? (Besides Brad Pitt, comedian Dave Chappelle, actors Samuel Jackson and Daniel Craig, rapper Notorious B.I.G. and AC/DC singer Brian Johnson are all touted as examples of newsboy-wearing celebrities).

Perhaps the secret to the cap’s popularity is its many permutations. The eight-panel, also known as the Jay Gatsby, comes with a fuller top and a snap-button closure. The Big Apple is the same hat, only with a more floppy shape. Other models are flatter, sitting lower and tighter on the head.

Other suggestions are that the look is classic and a little retro; it’s got a shape that flatters many faces, and it’s convenient too.

As Diane Feen, editor of Hat Life, put it: “Years ago, our fathers and grandfathers wore hats, and they would take them off and put them on a table or hat rack in places. But today, if you go to the movies or a restaurant, you [don’t] have to worry about where to put it. With this cap, you can fold it and just stick it into your pocket. It’s perfect for today.”

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
the other heartthrob humanitarian
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on January 14, 2008 at 6:02 pm  Comments (7)  

Your Hat Is So You

Indiana Jones Hats - Men's Indiana Jones Fedora - The Pure Beaver IndyFrench director Jean-Luc Godard is quoted as saying: To me style is just the outside of content, and content the inside of style, like the outside and the inside of the human body. Both go together, they can’t be separated.

No one really knows what that means, but my take on it is that a person who feels just as comfortable wearing a hat as he or she does when not wearing one, is a person with healthy “content” (call it self-esteem or confidence if you’d rather).

The hat (or lack thereof) doesn’t define the person, although the style of the hat mirrors mood and character and can even affect a mood or personality trait.

I don’t limit myself or box myself into any preset definition: I’m open to new ideas, experiences and adventures. The hat I choose to wear on any given day is both a reflection of who I am at that time as well as an influencing factor.

Baby, I’m fluid in my hat.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer, Mr. Mutable
and CEO Hartford York

If you enjoyed this post (but then changed your mind and put on a different hat altogether), you deserve a lifetime of free updates by email or RSS.

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Published in: on January 12, 2008 at 3:17 am  Leave a Comment  

Pay Attention to Your Hat

Hats by Makins Fur - Felt/Leather Braid Fedora - The BronxPsychologists confirmed what I pretty much knew all along: “that even when people try to focus on a task they tend to lose concentration within 40 minutes, and sometimes as little as 10 minutes.” Blood flow to the brain was measured (the more, the higher the concentration level), and researchers say study results can be helpful for those whose jobs require intense concentration on monitors or television screens, including the military, security workers, and air traffic controllers.

OK, first of all, 10 minutes is pretty good.

When I have to concentrate on which hats to choose for next season’s catalog, I begin by procrastinating. Then I get side-tracked and find something else to do (like trot off to the club to show off my latest happenin’ fedora). It’s only after my pre-ordered supply of stickers comes in (stickers of my smiling face, thanks) that I can really get down to the task at hand: trying new hats on that handsome mug.

When the subject is the person who’s working, utter, unbreakable and timeless concentration is a given.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on January 10, 2008 at 12:57 am  Leave a Comment  

No Frills Chic Hat

Fur Felt Men's Hats - Makins Fedora - The Makins Black BeaverA fashion show I happened to watch for a sec last night (hey, I was zapping the remote during half-time, wise guy) showed the difference between last year’s layers and this year’s streamlined look. What’s nice about the latter is that anyone can wear it, no matter the body shape, because it doesn’t bulk you up. What’s not great, though, is that your shape is there for all to see!

You’re seeing the pared-down look in hats this season, of course. Here’s a prime example with The Makins Black Beaver, a severe stingy brim fedora. Nothing extraneous about this hat–sleek and streamlined. Proof of the ripple effect that the catwalk has on the headgear industry.

I, for one, am quite pleased with the tailored look. My head’s never been in better shape and I’m not above tapping my hat down low.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
The Very Buffed
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on January 9, 2008 at 1:21 am  Leave a Comment