Men’s Hats, Like Jackets, are Workhorse & Vanity Pieces

Men's Wigens Leather Bucket Hat - The Norberg at HartfordYork.com

A NY Times review on last week’s men’s fashion show in Paris says that “the most useful garment in the show was the jacket . . . at once a workhorse and a piece of vanity.”

This view of how an article of clothing can serve multiple purposes is very much how I see men’s hats. The workhorse aspect comes into effect when you wear a warm winter hat to stave off windchill or when you don a leather bucket hat to keep your head dry in a downpour. The vanity characteristic is served nearly unconsciously — none of us would buy a piece of apparel that we didn’t believe looked good on us or enhanced the way we appear to others.

Much like men’s hats, jackets can dress an outfit up or down. This gives existing pieces in any wardrobe extra life by offering a variety of looks from which to draw. Try it yourself: your winter overcoat takes on a very different overall character when topped by a leather ivy cap instead of a Russian-style Ambassador.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on January 24, 2010 at 9:29 am  Leave a Comment  

Shopping for Hats – a Form of Exercise

Men's Leather Cap - The Greek Fisherman at HartfordYork.com

Research shows that the average woman burns 48,000 calories a year by shopping, walking some 154 miles in search of a good deal (men cover about half that distance). Naturally, retailers want you to shop til you drop — as a form of exercise and healthy lifestyle.

However, at least one reader of the article in Britain’s Daily Mail Reporter dismisses the idea as being a far too pricey method of weight reduction. He suggests that if you are interested in burning calories, maybe walking or biking to the mall (instead of driving) will not only keep you from dropping excessive amounts of cash while you lose weight but is even a nod towards an environmentally-responsible lifestyle.

I’d go one better.

Sit in front of your computer and shop for your hats, apparel and accessories online. Skip the crowds, cashiers and line-ups altogether: it’s stress-free shopping that’s good for the earth and leaves you with more time to ride your bike (or not).

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on January 18, 2010 at 2:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Best Travel Hats for Business Travelers

Women's Kaminski Packable Fur Felt Cloche - The Bechiti Rollable Hat at HartfordYork.com

Men and women who travel quite a bit on business need hats that travel well, meaning that they need hats that can be folded and packed, then taken out and worn, requiring no more than a quick shake to reestablish the hat shape.

With winter hats in wool and fur, that’s a fairly easy task to accomplish. The hat pictured here is a fur felt cloche, a women’s hat. This unisex style lends itself to being a good travel hat by virtue of its malleable shape. Although fur felt hats can be rigid (think cowboy hats or dress hats like bowlers), the material can also be finished so that it’s rollable.

Leather or tweed caps are another good travel-friendly headwear choice, their compactness being an added bonus — especially these days when we’re paying extra for checked baggage and trying to find ways to travel light. Although berets don’t have earflaps (as do many winter caps), the beret is probably the quintessential travel hat and can simply stay in your pocket when not on your head.

Bon voyage!
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on January 14, 2010 at 3:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Shop at WalMart, Spend the Rest on Hats

Men's Sam Saba Leather And Sheepskin Winter Hat with Earflaps - The Trooper at HartfordYork.com

I took 3 things away with me from an article called Guide to a Good Life: Always Wear a Hat When Going Out:

  • the title;
  • the plain truth that “rain is another enemy of [felt] hats”; and
  • the last paragraph which read: “There is something not quite right about a world where people drop $200 for a pair of jeans, and yet show up with a bare head. I buy my jeans at Zellers, and spend the rest on hats.

As for the title, I like the concept that the phrase “good life” brings to mind (money, nice restaurants, impeccable wardrobe, yachts and fine wine) and how wearing a hat is part and parcel with a lifestyle to which most of us aspire. Men who are living the good life wear hats, and those that don’t — should.

The point about wearing a wool felt hat or fur felt hat in a downpour is also right on, albeit a more practical one: if you do get caught, let the hat dry naturally once you’ve made it home, reshaping it gently throughout.

As for the last point (Zeller’s being the Canadian equivalent of a K-Mart or WalMart) — about how much people spend on what — it’s also quite true. Think of how much you fork out on shoes or boots: nothing too fancy, just a comfortable pair. And then there’s jeans, shirts and jackets and so on. A small fortune. So what’s with the naked head? Or (worse) the cheap ball cap? What is it about heads that make people either not decorate them at all or cover them with rags?

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on January 12, 2010 at 6:57 pm  Leave a Comment  

Shopping for Your Hat Online Good for Environment

Wigens Leather Ballcap with Earflaps - The Knut at HartfordYork.com

A recent study shows that carbon emissions are 15 times higher when something is purchased in a store than when it is bought online.

The study adds to prior research which noted a 35 percent reduction in energy consumption and in carbon dioxide emissions when people shop online rather than going to a mall.

It’s the extra travel and packaging of the product that takes the biggest environmental toll when you shop at brick-and-mortar stores. In his article Create More Time & Help the Environment, Dr. Joseph Mercola says:

Typically retailers have products shipped from a distributor to a regional warehouse, and then distributed to individual stores. This requires not only extra energy but also extra packaging. Customers then drive to and from the store, and take their purchases home in another package, typically a plastic bag.

Hats off to all of you tree-huggers who buy your hats online!

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on January 9, 2010 at 11:36 am  Leave a Comment  

If You Had a New Hat, What Kind Would It Be?

Men's Fur Hat - The Sheared All Beaver Trooper from Crown Cap at HartfordYork.comIf you had several styles of hats lined up in front of you, which one do you think you’d chose as your new hat?

Look to your personality type to answer this question — if you’re a pretty conservative fellow who wears dress fedoras and homburgs without fail, then a casual baseball cap (or even a designer ball cap) may be too far outside your comfort field even to try.

The dedicated cap wearer on the other hand could easily make the transition within caps — going from a newsboy or longshoreman’s style ivy cap without qualm — but then will get stuck at wearing a trilby or walking hat (even if it’s in the same material or casual style as the cap).

Like any other change in style, you’ll be out of your comfort zone when trying on a hat style that you don’t usually wear. Remember your first suit and tie? But the effect can certainly pay off in terms of your appearance and the variety any new style adds to your wardrobe.

One reader told me that he tries out new hat styles whenever he travels, whether on business or vacation. This way he is in a new environment, around people who have no expectations or preconceived notions. For example, when he went skiing, he took along his new trooper hat, a style which he’d never worn before. After wearing it for a week and getting used to it (earflaps up and down) he felt comfortable enough to wear it to the office when he got back home.

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

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