Farmers Update Images (including their Straw Hats)

Straw Hats - Men's Milano Handwoven Straw Western Dress Hat - The RivieraIn Australia, there’s a movement afoot to overhaul the image of farming, and its not simply a change in fashion we’re talking about here–those in the know say modernizing the stereotype is “critical to the future of farming.”

In fact, Simon Ramsey, president of The Victorian Farmers Federation, wants to showcase farming as an important career choice and “…as a modern, sophisticated profession“. To that end, he has started an initiative called Young Agribusiness Professionals and brought in an image consultant who says that “despite the image, farming [is] a serious business with the opportunity to create significant wealth…” and that “…farmers need to recognise the importance [of] image…”

In other words: “…look like you mean business.”

Them’s fighting words–and smart words too. Hopefully farmers here in the good ol’ USofA will heed me seriously now when I counsel them to replace their John Deere’s with something a tad more sophisticated.

Thanks for reading,
Monsieur Steve (Cosmopolitan) Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on February 26, 2008 at 7:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hat to Win Oscar

Dress Fedoras - Men's Borsalino Fur Felt Fedora - The ComoA Washington Post article headline caught my eye: Daniel Day-Lewis’ hat played supporting role. I knew Daniel Day-Lewis is considered a shoo-in for the Best Actor Oscar, but what I didn’t realize is that the broad-brimmed brown, sweat-stained hat he wore in the movie There Will Be Blood was considered by director Paul Thomas Anderson “key to the portrayal of Daniel Plainview, the rapacious California oilman.”

In the article, costume designer, Mark Bridges, talks about the hat:

How did you choose that hat? What did it mean to the movie?

Leading up to the first time we see that hat, his hats kind of echo or inform what’s going on with his career and life. He starts with a miner hat that is unshaped and unformed. By 1911, he had this hat.

Daniel Day-Lewis felt the hats were very important to his character. There were three choices that were all good, and he took them and lived with them for days. He sort of creates mini-worlds, and so he took them, just took them for a spin, so to speak, and settled on that one as what he felt most comfortable with and most represented in his mind the character he was creating. And it took on a kind of magic where he would be Daniel Day-Lewis, but you knew he was Daniel Plainview once the hat went on. So that was very rewarding to me.

And by the way, the sweat stains are real. It was worn day in and day out and has been much loved by all who’ve come in contact with it.

And it’s great that it’s become an iconic image of the film. It was a found item, from one of the local costume rental shops. The hat size, the height of the crown, the coloring, the quality of it, everything about it was right. Again I have to say it took on a kind of magic, too, that we had it, that it was found. I love when that happens.

Now, that’s a hat!

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on February 25, 2008 at 12:49 am  Comments (1)  

Cowboy Hats for Rodeo Riders a Thing of the Past?

» Cowboy Hats - Men's Greeley Fur Felt Dress Western Hat - The Gentleman RancherRodeo, a sport in which the cowboy hat is as much an icon as a bucking bronco, is also a sport reluctant to require its riders to wear helmets–not that at least half the pro bull riders have a problem with that. In fact, most cowboys agree with the way bull rider Justin Koon used to feel: “I would never put [a helmet] on because I wanted to look like a cowboy, with my boots, long-sleeved shirt and cowboy hat.

Although some riders have excuses like helmets are heavy or they impede vision or don’t really do much to prevent catastrophic injuries, most don’t say anything at all–except they just really, really like their cowboy hats.

I challenge some designer to create a cowboy hat helmet — a hybrid if you will — that is as stylish as it is safe, and let those boys ride!

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York
and Cowboy At Heart

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Published in: on February 21, 2008 at 2:37 am  Comments (2)  

Hats – The Ultimate Luxury

Hats and Caps - Men's Christys' Cashmere Newsboy Cap - The AlastairMore and more, designers and fashion industry analysts agree: the hat is back. From Joseph Amodio’s article in, the reasons cited for the resurgence are different, but the result is unanimous:

Suze Yalof Schwartz, Glamour magazine’s executive fashion editor at large, says: “A few years back, the trend in accessories was minimalism. Now we’ve got huge necklaces, big cuffs. What comes next? Hats. They’re the ultimate luxury.

Boutique owner, Jeannie Gesthalter, likes hats because they update your look and make “anything you’re wearing look new.”

A Manhattan milliner likes the mystery of hats, saying the look is “sexy without being obvious.”

Gosh, when will everyone start listening to me?

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on February 19, 2008 at 9:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

What’s With The Hat?

Fedoras and Hats for Men - Men's Christys' London Fur Felt Fedora - The Vaughan Dress FedoraI’m whiling away big-time this afternoon at’s Dumbest Comments thread. It’s a priceless collection of the day-to-day comments aimed at and fielded by hat-wearers:

There are the standard greetings we all get: Hey, Indy! (or Crocodile Dundee, Clark Kent or Sherlock Holmes or even Buddy Holly).

Then there are the stories, like:

  • Last year in a suit and Milan straw I got “You look like a big time operator.”
  • Do you dress like that to piss people off? (to a man in a hawaiian shirt, porkpie, and khakis);
  • Not too long ago while wearing my Akubra, a teenage girl met me on the street and gave me a sotto voce “yee-haa“. Got my back right up…especially considering what she was wearing; one of those belly shirts with kind of a muffin top thing going. Yikes!

Of course, there are the musings as to why the hatless should feel it necessary to say anything at all:

  • Maybe it’s because fedoras make a statement. They are no longer a common item in society. To some, they are as “in-your-face” as facial piercings used to be.
  • . . .I suspect that at least a few of us hat-wearers muttered something when we first saw a guy or gal wearing a nose ring, or facial tattoos. . .
  • I can’t imagine walking around in jeans that are seven sizes too big and showing six inches of my boxers, but hey, it’s all a matter of degree.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on February 18, 2008 at 10:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hats Are More Important Than Food

Men's Dress Fedoras and Hats - Men's Borsalino Fur Felt Fedora - The CasualGreat news!

The American public has finally come to its senses, declaring in one, unified voice that hats are indeed more important than food.

In a ShopTalk Blog article called Where are Americans putting their spare dollars?, Aarthi Sivaraman says that “a survey conducted online by HSBC in December found that the fear of recession has spooked Americans into deciding that they should save significantly more in 2008.”

He goes on to warn that

U.S. consumers said they were prepared to make changes to their lifestyle to save more, the survey found, so retail companies and restaurants — watch out!

Numbers cited are:

  • 64 percent of these folks plan to reduce spending on ‘indulgences’
  • 33 percent will cut back on shopping
  • 41 percent will think twice about eating out

OK, first of all, hats have never been considered an ‘indulgence’, so that 64 percent is something I don’t have to worry about.

Next–the 41 percent who’ll think twice about eating out are obviously wise people who recognize the value of hats, who like to shop for hats and will continue doing so, no matter how thin (and stylish) they look.

Lastly, the 33 percent of people who will cut back on shopping are:

1. in the minority (and obviously misinformed as to life priorities);

2. if push comes to shove, will likely cut back on shopping for stuff that nobody sees, like underwear and socks, and will keep buying hats.

ERGO, hat retailers have nothing to worry about.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
Market Whiz, Trend Analyst
and CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on February 17, 2008 at 12:19 am  Leave a Comment  

Nanotech Hats Coming Soon (I think)

Men's Dress Hats - Biltmore Velour Fur Felt Fedora - The Designer HatWe’re finally getting somewhere with piezoelectric (ie., electricity generated when pressure is applied to certain materials) and nanotechnology.

Scientists have developed a way to generate electricity by simply wearing your clothes, which most of us tend to do. Using microfiber nanogenerators composed of entangled fibers coated with zinc oxidenanowires (and half additionally coated with gold), an electrical current is generated when the fibers are rubbed together.

“The beauty of this…,” says Georgia Tech University professor ZhongLin Wang, “is that if you have wind, or you have sonic waves, or you have vibrations, that works…you do not need a very large force…”

Okay, hands up for those of you who wear hats in winter or fall days. What about sun hats in spring and summer? Do you get the direction I’m traveling in here, folks?

If “one square meter of nanowire-infused fabric [produces] around 80 milliwatts of electricity, enough to recharge portable music players,” America can again be a county of cheap and plentiful energy if everybody wore a nanotech hat.

The future’s suddenly bright.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York


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Published in: on February 14, 2008 at 7:56 pm  Leave a Comment  

“Naked Cowboy” sues M&Ms

 Cowboy Hats for Men - Men's Milano Pure Beaver Dress Western Hat - The Casablanca Pure BeaverThat guy in the white cowboy hat–who does a job most of us only dream of–is suing Mars Inc. for $6 million! A Reuters article says that New York City street performer Robert Burck is angered over the use of his trademark look — white underwear, cowboy boots and a hat — by a blue M&M candy on a Times Square billboard.

“For nearly a decade, The Naked Cowboy has been a fixture in Times Square, where he strums a guitar on a street corner while dressed in his skimpy signature costume.”

The lawsuit was filed this week claiming that two oversized Times Square billboards promoting M&Ms used his look without compensating him.

I hope Mr. Burck gets his money. He’s been freezing his strings off for years perfecting his performance (the man’s a real artist) and although you may not be able to say he’s actually well-dressed (seeing that he’s nearly naked), I do admire his cowboy hat.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on February 13, 2008 at 11:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Return to Old-fashioned Hat Etiquette?

Borsalino Plaid Caps - Men's Borsalino Wool Newsboy Cap - The Super MarioPlease remove all hats and head coverings.

So reads a sign in Applebee’s restaurant in New York’s Bedford-Stuyvesant; however, admits owner Zane Tankelin in a recent New York Times article, asking patrons to remove their hats and head coverings isn’t meant only to prompt a return to old-fashioned hat etiquette. As a matter of fact, the “no-hat rule was instituted to discourage baseball caps, because their colors can signal gang affiliations”.

At a neighborhood community board meeting to discuss the issue, one member–who had walked out of the restaurant when he was told to remove his fedora–said: “I think that’s awfully paternalistic. Would it make the food taste better if we took our hats off?

But several people entering the restaurant, many coming from church, said they were fine with [the no-hat rule]. Said Rod Rosemond, 50, as he prepared to doff his plaid cap, “I wouldn’t eat with any hat on, anyway.”

Mr. Rosemond, I couldn’t agree with you more. Applebee’s, while not Bastide, Charlie Trotter’s or The Herbfarm, is a restaurant in which simple manners should dictate the immediate removal of all headwear upon entry.

Only one exemption exists, of course. The chef’s toque may remain firmly in place.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

If you knew that the more pleats in a chef’s hat, the more qualified the chef, you shall evermore receive free updates of this hat blog by email or RSS. (Or not).


Published in: on February 11, 2008 at 11:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

Woo With Hats This Valentine’s Day

Women's Dress Hats - Helen Kaminski Hats - The Velour Fur Felt Vania HatAccording to a recent survey by, an average of 6.42 hours is spent by Americans wooing their significant others on Valentine’s Day. This includes preparation and planning time, plus the actual romantic dinner or other special event.

The romance of hats, from the perspective of a man looking at a woman or vice-versa, has never been a point of contention in my experience. When women see Brad Pitt in his cap, they have no complaints; likewise, when men see J-Lo in a picture hat or Daniela Pestova in a fedora, they drool.

For a win-win woo situation, I’d suggest that you wear your own hat and also give a hat to your beloved. That way, you’ll dazzle each other to bits.

Thanks for weeding,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on February 8, 2008 at 7:33 pm  Leave a Comment