Young Men in Suits and Hats

Men's Wigens Shearling Ivy Cap With Earflaps - The Sven at HartfordYork.com

In a New York Times Fashion & Style article called Dressing for Success, Again, the chief analyst at NPD Group (a retail sales tracking company) says:

The older generation, say 45-plus, look upon success as being able to dress down. They think being able to wear jeans is the epitome of achievement. But the younger generation is looking at getting dressed up and making their mark. It’s a real generation gap here.

Today, a reversal in the expected norm of the well-dressed older gent is seen everywhere, with 25-year-olds in natty sport coats, skinny ties and dapper fedoras. In fact, young men are embracing the Mad Men elements of style.

Writer David Colman cites as evidence of this trend the “numerous men’s wear blogs. . . dedicated to . . . old-school minutiae of dressing well. Or take a look at the Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Dhani Jones, who favors double-breasted suits and bow ties and talks about ‘the resurgence of the gentleman.'”

Samuel Rascoff, an NYU professor of law theorizes about his well-dressed students and their peers, saying that

this return to style, or to a consciousness of how you look, is an attempt by young men to recover a set of values that were at one point very much present in American society and then lost. It strikes me as being of a piece with the way young people buy their coffee or their food: paying attention to authenticity or quality, and to whether something is organic or local. They stand for a rejection of the idea that all consumer goods are ephemeral and inevitably made in China and bought at Wal-Mart.

Let’s take the good professor’s lesson to heart, men: “You might be comfortable naked, but that don’t mean it looks good.”

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
Fully Dressed CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 20, 2009 at 8:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Don’t Much Like Santa Hats

M. Miller Persian Lambs Wool Winter Hat - The Ambassador at HartfordYork.com

I may be bucking the trend here, but I can’t say that a Santa hat is my favorite form of headwear attire. Maybe it’s the static electricity or the cheap felt that so many of these hats seem to be burdened with or maybe it’s the lifeless pom pom that barely has enough weight to swing from side to side, I don’t know, but my admittedly glum opinion of Santa hats has remained pretty steadfast over the years.

Perhaps an unremembered early childhood encounter with one of those terrifying department store Santas created an unshakable antipathy to the hat form, or maybe it’s just been my own experience of dressing up in the big costume every year for charity to delight (or scare) future generations.

It’s funny, though. I don’t have an aversion to large, black boots, or big-bellied red suits trimmed with white fur — it’s just the Santa hat that gets me.

It’s possible that I’ve gotten spoiled over the years in the hat biz. I mean, really, how can you go from something like The Ambassador winter hat to a silly Santa’s hat without suffering some sort of breakdown?

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hats and Glasses Rule

Eyebobs Reading Glasses - The Left Brain - A Great Gift Idea from HartfordYork.com

There’s an ongoing discussion over at The Washington Post’s Holiday Guide about all matters fashion, and one question was if there’s any fashion rule that says hats and glasses shouldn’t be worn at the same time.

This so-called rule, by the by, isn’t one for men in fedoras so much as it is for the ladies, but I think the answer could apply to both sexes: glasses and hats are good if they balance.

For instance, if you’ve got a loud print hat or one in a bold, bright color, wear your lightest glasses–ones with a wire or partly invisible frame. On the other hand, if you’ve got a simple, dark fur felt cloche or woolen beret on your head, then you can wear a more decorative pair of peepers.

Being a man, I never really thought of how to best pair glasses and hats, my biggest beef with lenses being more on the practical side: trying to defog them when coming in from the cold outdoors. Nothing ruins a good hat more than blindly walking (face-first) into a closet door.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
The Very Suave Albeit Sometimes Bruised
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 15, 2009 at 8:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Warm Hat, Warm Head, Warm Heart

Stetson Men's Warm Wool Cashmere Cap - The Surth at HartfordYork.comResearchers have shown that the simple act of holding something warm (like a cup of coffee) can make people more likely to view others in a favorable light — and even make them more generous! Well, if warm hands can lead to a warm heart, imagine what warming up your head with a good cap or hat might lead to.

Let’s say you’ve got two study groups: one group was wearing warm, woolen watch caps on their cold walk into the building and one bare-headed.

Once inside (and following the format of the actual ‘warm hands’ study), participants would be asked to evaluate an imaginary person described with words like intelligent, skillful, industrious, practical, and cautious.

If my theory–and that of the researchers–holds (warm) water, I’d say those with the warm hats would be much more likely to score the pretend person as warmer than those who were not wearing hats.

Since temperatures affect emotions, maybe I should go a step further: stop selling hats as solely fashion statements and start calling it therapy. After all, one of the researchers, John A. Bargh, Professor of Psychology at Yale University, says

It appears that the effect of physical temperature is not just on how we see others, it affects our own behavior as well. Physical warmth can make us see others as warmer people, but also causes us to be warmer — more generous and trusting — as well.

Put a hat on. It’ll make you a nicer person.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
Warm-Hearted CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 11, 2009 at 4:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Luxe Hats for Men Who Appreciate the Finer Things in Life

Crown Cap Mink Trooper - The Mink Trooper W/Leather at HartfordYork.comIf you’ve got a man in your life for whom quality and cut truly matters, I’ve got a few gift suggestions that might come under the slightly more deluxe heading.

Let’s start off with Mink Trooper by Crown Cap of Canada (pictured here). The image alone is worth all the words I could conjure–and you’ll likely be speechless with delight too when you put this lambskin and mink fur cap on your head.

For the special event, be it a New Year’s celebration or special anniversary party, a fur felt top hat from Christys’ London combines exquisite, elegant style with old world craftsmanship second to none.

Although most guys don’t know designer names other than Kangol, Stetson and Borsalino, there is one other they might recognize: Rod Keenan. That’s because Rod Keenan comes up with hats like The Sedgewick, a hand made elongated trilby with wired brim in fur felt, using whimsical brass hands as trim.

Walking sticks by Finna and Palatnik are definitely luxe gift items, with mongoy wood and African ebony used in the shafts and hand-crafted silver and gold-plated handles, as are the scrimshaw pocket knives by internationally renowned artist Sam McDowell.

The only problem you might possibly have comes to choosing between such top-quality gifts–but then, that’s not really a bad problem to have, is it?

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 9, 2009 at 7:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Warmest Hats in the World–for Women

Women's M. Miller Fur Hat Scarf - The M'Lady at HartfordYork.comWhen I posted about The Warmest Hat in the World last December, I neglected to mention those winter hats made specifically for women. I’ve heard about that honest oversight all year (and boy, have I heard about it!), so I’d like to rectify the matter once and for all by addressing it thusly:

1. each of the hats I talked about (to wit: The Ambassador in lambs wool; The Beaver Trooper; and The Mink Trooper) are unisex in their warmth and can be worn by men or women with equal success and flare. This is true of just about any hat that carries the “men’s hat” designation; it’s men who can’t carry off women’s hats as successfully much of the time. (Told you I learned my lesson).

2. I do of course offer women-only winter hats on the site including the stunning Eleganza and a sublime hat-scarf combo called The M’Lady (pictured) in addition to an honest-to-goodness barrel muff. In fact, I may have gone slightly overboard in an attempt to compensate for the prevalence of men’s hats by bringing The Cashmere Trapper on board. This is a hand knit women’s hat from JB Stetson, the warm wool wrapped around a luscious mouton fur.

I hope I have redeemed myself in the eyes of the fairer sex. If not, I believe I shall be forgiven absolutely once a perusal of the Helen Kaminski inventory has been undertaken with all specials noted and taken advantage of — The Alina cap comes swiftly to mind as does The Darcy (a fur felt fedora) and the fabulous Kaminski woven leather handbags which (although not warm) are simply divine.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
Feminist and CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 7, 2009 at 7:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Fashion Ball Caps Hold Their Own With Stylish Driving Caps

Jonathan Richard Wool Ivy Cap - The Vintage County at HartfordYork.comDavid Colman extols the wool driving cap in his New York Times article A Smooth Shift to a Driving Cap, but only after first denigrating the baseball cap in his opening paragraph which reads:

SOME men may have been saddened to hear of the recent slump in sales of baseball caps. I, for one, turned my customary frown upside down. Baseball caps have enjoyed a run atop hipster heads that has surpassed F.D.R.’s stay in office. At the very least, trends should be subject to the same term limits as presidents. In other words, bub, doff it.

1333 Minna Ball Cap - The Epic at HartfordYork.comI too used to shudder at the very thought of ball caps — but that was before I had met the Borsalino version and those from 1333 Minna. Today’s baseball caps can be as stylish and worthy of compliments as any ivy cap issued by Christys’ London or Jonathan Richard.

Instead of saying a wool driving cap is “far worthier” than a ball cap, let’s at least be very specific as to the type of baseball cap you’re talking about. Yes, absolutely, ball caps are an embarrassment if what you’ve got is a poorly made freebie cap from your local cell phone company with their corporate logo emblazoned thereon. However, when you take a look at the fashion ball caps available from designers (including Kangol, I’ll have you know), then you’re really talking about a very different lid altogether–one that can be favorably compared to any other.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 4, 2009 at 9:59 pm  Comments (1)  

3 out of 4 people say “fedora”. Do You?

Made by Hand - Mr. Green Fur Felt Fedora - The David Dress Hat

When asked to name a hat style, three out of every four people asked can come up with “fedora” — not homburg or trilby, not bowler or even top hat. (For caps, it’s nearly almost always “baseball caps” with newsboy caps a distant second).

According to Wikipedia, the term fedora was in use as early as 1891 when the hat came into being as women’s (not men’s) headwear. In fact, it took some twenty years for the fedora to really take as a men’s middle-class clothing accessory. but when it did, the fedora’s popularity soared, and eventually eclipsed the similar-looking homburg.

Fedoras are still predominantly worn by men; however, women do wear them especially in lighter materials and brighter colors. Now you know!

Thanks for reading,
Fedora Fan, Steve Singer
(also CEO Hartford York)

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Published in: on December 1, 2009 at 10:00 am  Leave a Comment