Johnny Depp in a Cowboy Hat

Toby Keith Cowboy Hat - The Toyo Outback at HartfordYork.comJohnny Depp, who is usually seen in his tattered fedora, was wearing a black cowboy hat when he joined Marilyn Manson in a concert for Revolver magazine’s Golden Gods Awards in Los Angeles.

After viewing the performance of Sweet Dreams as well as a rendition of The Beautiful People, I can honestly say I liked the hat the best. Although Depp’s guitar work rocks, I’m not a big fan of Manson’s shock rock delivery style. Apparently the two are friends, have teamed up before and are in fact performing  together again on the singer’s upcoming album with a version of You’re So Vain by Carly Simon.

The choice of cowboy hat (with large white feather in addition to colorful trim) seems an odd choice for the venue, although the broad brim might have had something to do with it as Depp was performing incognito at first. The man looks good in hats and it was nice to see him in a style I don’t think I’ve seen him in before.

Now, I wonder if Depp would consider playing with someone a tad more tuneful, like Michael Feinstein, Michael Bublé or Harry Connick Jr. Of course, with those fellas, he’d probably need a nice, new fedora.

Thanks for reading (quietly),
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on April 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Beyonce in the Stetson Roxbury

You know I personally choose every hat you see on Hartford York, and that I attend photo shoots for our catalog (which is why I’m posting this from Mexico, by the way!). It’s this hands-on involvement that makes it all the more exciting when a big-name celebrity is featured in a national publication, wearing one of “my” hats.

This time, it’s Beyoncé, the R&B superstar, (who’s also of course an actress and fashion designer as well as being married to Jay-Z, another Grammy-award winning hip-hop artist and fabulously successful entrepreneur). As a matter of fact, Beyoncé’s not only IN the July issue of Essence Magazine, she’s actually written the cover story, Eat, Play, Love where she, in her own words,

shares how a nine-month break and life’s simple pleasures reignited her creativity and renewed her soul.

The unisex hat Beyoncé is wearing in the spread is called The Roxbury. It’s a lightweight straw hat by Stetson, so it’s great for summer and perfect for a little western sass. And what’s good enough for Beyoncé sure is good enough for me. How ’bout you?

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on June 9, 2011 at 4:51 pm  Leave a Comment  

No Dirty ‘Black Friday’ Secrets at HartfordYork. Honest!

Men's Stetson Fur Felt Hat - The Cavalry Hat at HartfordYork.comCNN says to watch out for the Dirty Secrets of Black Friday ‘Doorbusters’, saying that

of the hordes of pre-dawn shoppers who line up for hours outside stores on the day after Thanksgiving, most will not bag the best bargains that appear in merchants’ circulars.

That’s just wrong.

Shoopers need to be on the look-out for phrases like While supplies last, Minimum 2 per store, No rainchecks, and/or All items are available in limited quantities. If you see any of these limitations, be prepared to walk away from the store empty-handed.

Big-name stores are guilty of this practice. Sears, for example, is limiting its Black Friday special on an LCD HETV to “only while quantities last; minimum 3 per store; no rainchecks”. They also have a washer/dryer deal but they’ve limited that to 4 per store and no rainchecks.

This practice of short supply is patently unfair to consumers and can actually be physically dangerous as with last year’s WalMart stampede that saw a store employee killed.

Even if you do happen to luck into a store that still has inventory, you should know of another unfair practice. Some of the items on sale are not the standard models, but in fact cheaper derivatives. Consumers are not made aware of this important point, and often wind up getting less of a true bargain.

Trust is a crucial factor in establishing and maintaining any successful business, but especially one that’s solely online like mine. One of the main reasons I started this blog back in 2005 was to have a sort of “over-the-counter” connection between shop owner (yours truly) and customer.

I don’t impose false limits or create short supply. If you order a Borsalino fedora or a Stetson cowboy hat, that’s exactly what you get. Maybe honesty and good service aren’t slick and shiny slogans, but (in my old-fashioned opinion, anyway) there’s just no other way to run a business and succeed as a human being.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
Shop Owner and
CEO Hartford York

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Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair

Men's Milano Fur Felt Dress Western Hat - The Casablanca Fur FeltIf you’re anywhere near Heber City, Utah between today and November 8th, 2009, don’t miss the 15th Annual Cowboy Poetry Gathering and Buckaroo Fair!

The mission of the annual event is to promote the cowboy way of life through music, poetry and art and you’re sure to see some great cowboy hats proudly worn and displayed.

Events include The Wild, Wild West Show, the Cowboy Poetry-Chili Train and a Mountain Man Trader’s Camp with continuous music and poetry. There’s also a colt starting clinic (held at an indoor arena) as well as a performance by the Utah Valley University Symphony.

For those of you who love musicals, “Annie Get Your Gun” is being performed over two weekends (including the 12th-14th). There’s even a Homestead Hoedown Dinner and Dance plus a Cowboy Buckaroo Ball and Concert.

If I can get there, I might head over to the fiddle and guitar workshops and then take in the Mountain Valley Extreme Mustang Makeover with its trial competitions, live auction and adoption of 30 mustangs.

On the 8th, don’t miss the Cowboy Church featuring gospel music by the Bar J Wranglers, Belinda Gail and Curley Musgrave. This event’s free with donations going to charity.

Yee-haw!

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on November 3, 2009 at 6:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Like Hats For What They’re Not

Men's Colonel Littleton Woven Straw Panama Summer Hat - The Lynnville Panama Western HatHats are not related in any way to Giant Toasted Leaf-Cutter Ants.

Nor are they made from Mopani Worms, Reindeer Paté or even Thai Green Crocodile Curry. Certain people who wear hats might, of course, consume Lizard Wine, Civet Coffee or Monkey-Picked Tea Wash, but the hat itself is absolved from any such participation.

Yes, I was browsing Trendwatching.com again, and when I got to No. 17 in the section called Itgredients, where the food and beverages industry was singled out for “catering to consumers’ endless lust for experimentation and desperate attempts to consume anything that other people haven’t”, I was mighty glad I’ve been faithful to my hats all these years.

Sure, there’s been innovation and experimentation with caps and hats over time, sometimes with the crown shape, brim size or material and colors, but I would proudly wear each and every product I sell on my site (yes, even the women’s hats, although not far outside the house).

In all honesty, however, I don’t think I could consume a small bag of worms (sold, by the way, for a mere $20).

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on July 31, 2008 at 2:00 am  Leave a Comment  

The Hats That Dictate

Men's Colonel Littleton Woven Straw Summer Hat - The Lynnville Panama from HartfordYork.comI remember reading a snippet attributed to country singer superstar, Tim McGraw, where he said: I don’t let my hat dictate the kind of music I do or who I am.

This is from the man who teamed up a few years back with hip-hop artist Nelly (initially to scathing predictions and outright disbelief) — and wound up creating the smash cross-over hit Over and Over. The man really practices what he preaches.

The fact that Tim McGraw is primarily associated with one type of music and lifestyle (including the cowboy hats he wears on and off stage) simply does not interfere with his personal range of vision and ability to produce something well outside his (and everyone else’s) comfort zone. He knew he was so much more than people’s preconceived notions, and he proved it with stunning success.

Today’s lesson? Believe in yourself. Wear the hat you like. Do what you really want to do.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on July 14, 2008 at 11:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

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)  

“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  

Hats Are So Much More Than Headwear

Straw Hats at Hartford York Hats - Men's Colonel Littleton Woven Straw Panama Hat - The Lynnville PanamaThere’s a great article called Here and There: Papa’s Straw Hat Was A Utility Tool that shows how much hats can be part of someone’s life and even identity.

Evelyn Richardson writes about her father’s faithful hat, the hat he used to not just to shade his face from the broiling sun as he worked in corn and tobacco and hay fields, but also as a cooling fan and even an egg and baby rabbit holder, and as an extension of his arms when herding cattle or shooing chickens.

She says

His straw hat wasn’t much to look at. A new one became conditioned pretty quickly. The inside leather band was soaked with sweat and the discoloration oozed through to the outside. Dust settled in the greasy ring to make it even more noticeable. My mother gave orders for him not to lay it on the clean white counterpane.

No matter its condition, she still liked putting on her dad’s hat and to this day, when she pictures him, “he has on his straw hat, pushed back with a little of his white upper forehead visible under the brim.”

Thanks for the memories, Ms. Richardson.

And thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on September 4, 2007 at 4:33 pm  Leave a Comment  

Gentle With My Hat, Please, Officer

Fur Felt Fedoras from Hartford York Hats - Men's Borsalino Fedora - The Virgilio DorseNewsday.com reports that the Transportation Security Administration has issued a directive advising the nation’s 43,000 airport screeners to scrutinize anyone wearing a head covering that might hide explosives (or monkeys) — be it a cowboy hat, turban, baseball cap or beret.

Okay, I get the explosives bit and I’m all for it but I was completely unaware of the monkey-under-the-hat smuggling incident that apparently took place on a flight into LaGuardia Airport earlier this month. Now you know I’ve been wearing hats all my life and maybe it’s just me, but it really never has occurred to me (until a moment ago) to use my headwear as a form of animal transport. Several immediate concerns comes to mind, and most of them involve extreme danger to either my hair or hat.

Also I do have some trouble thinking that a beret can hide anything larger than a ladybug.

However, if there’s a market niche somewhere in this story just begging to be filled, I’m your man. I’ll give this whole thing some considerable thought and get back to you.

In the meantime, my advice still stands. Your head belongs in your hat. Nowhere else and certainly nothing else.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on August 29, 2007 at 4:01 pm  Leave a Comment