How Many Hats Do You Own?

Biltmore Fur Felt Stingy Brim Hat - The Peluche Pork Pie at HartfordYork.comAlthough there are certain men among us who admit to not owning even one hat (!), those fashionable gents who do wear flat caps, fedoras and pork pies tend to own at least a few hats, if not several. I suppose I have about ten favorite hats and caps — per season — that I wear, plus some that have seen better days (but I still use in a pinch).

Because I sell hats for a living, which entails meeting and working with hat designers, going on photo shoots and so on, I’m obviously in the enviable position of having access to all styles of hats in numbers that wouldn’t otherwise be possible.

On the other hand, it can be very trying for a hat lover such as myself to constantly beMakins Fur Felt  Hat - The Salome Pork Pie at HartfordYork.com presented with the latest newsboy or fedora from master hatters like Borsalino and Wigens, and be introduced to new designers like Eugenia Kim and Victor Osborne. I continually see updated looks or some unique design that puts a new hat in my ever-growing list of favorites.

For instance, when Biltmore came out with The Peluche, a remarkably beautiful pork pie hat with its long, uncombed nap, it made the unequivocal declaration of my new favorite fur felt pork pie (Makins’ Salome — the brushed dress hat with rope trim) feel dishonest. There was in fact an absolute tie between the two impeccably designed and flawlessly made hats that left no room for preference.

Loving all well-made, stylish hats equally, the only solution to hat-hoarding must be either an intervention (ha!) or a larger cupboard/temperature-controlled display case. I’ll leave you to decide which path you think I’ll take.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Have You Seen Julie and Julia?

I was dragged (I mean, I went willingly!) to see a movie about Julia Child (based on Julie Powell’s 2002-2003 blog, where Powell recounted her quest of making all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s tome, Mastering the Art of French Cooking).

The movie made me really hungry and distinctly nostalgic, all at the same time.

The diplomatic world of France in the late ’40s is one of two eras captured in this movie (the other being post 9/11, making-ends-meet New York), with all its fashion, social patter, men’s hat styles and big cars. Although I wasn’t even alive then, I somehow feel a pull towards the kind of classy existence portrayed, not all of which can simply be Hollywood manufactured dross.

What decade or era does it for you?

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on August 12, 2009 at 1:52 am  Leave a Comment  

Do You Fondle Your Hat?

Men's Brent Black Hand-Woven Straw Fedora Panama - The Montecristi ClassicThe obvious answer here is: sure, who doesn’t?

Hat makers and wearers take pride in not only the look of their hat, but the feel of the material too. When straw feels like fine linen you’ve probably got a Montecristi Panama hat, the kind where the hat bodies are woven over hundreds of hours by master weavers in the village of Montecristi. With milliner Brent Black, you’ve also got a guy who is so dedicated to perfection of the craft that he actually selects–in person–those hat bodies which he’ll shape and block by hand.

So next time you’re asked if you fondle your hat, you can be proud to say: Of course I do, don’t you?

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Top Hats are ‘top hats’ for Obama Jan. 20 inauguration

presidential top hats at HartfordYork.comWashington is in full-frenzy planning mode for Barack Obama’s inauguration on Tuesday, January 20, 2009.

[In addition to the actual] “swearing-in ceremony – there will be as many as 70 concerts, balls and other events surrounding the inauguration”, according to an article by The Canadian Press, including:

  • a “Youth Ball” for people aged 18 to 35 to celebrate “the role young Americans can play to serve their communities” and
  • a “Neighborhood Inaugural Ball” at the Washington Convention Center that will feature free or cheap tickets for everyday citizens, including a portion reserved for inner-city D.C. residents.

“This is an inauguration for all Americans,” Obama said in a statement. “I wanted to make sure that we had an event that would be open to our new neighborhood here in Washington, D.C.”

There’s a great slideshow in The Huffington Post called Inauguration Attire: Bring Back The Top Hat! that provides a nice walk down memory lane — and also reminds us of why this elegant form of men’s dress hat has long been a favored form of headwear for great occasions.

I won’t be in Washington for the inauguration, but you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll be caprioling with the best of them, decked out in my best (rented) tux and collapsible silk top hat.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer (aka Mr. Peanut)
CEO Hartford York

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Panama Hats Through the Ages

Panama Hats from Hartford York Hats - Brent Black - Montecristi Panama - The $10K MontecristiHilary Alexander of Britain’s Telegraph, looks into (what she calls) the new fashion craze behind the Panama hat.

While she concedes that “Justin Timberlake, George Clooney, Pete Doherty and even, perish the thought, Britney Spears, may favour the [fedora]”, the fashionable man at England’s famed summer race meeting on the Duke of Richmond’s estate in West Sussex, will be seen in just one hat: The Panama.

Battered, borrowed or band-box fresh from cardboard tubes where they conveniently roll-up for traveling,the ubiquitous Panama is the hat of choice.

One event attendee confessed that his panama hat was “probably twenty or thirty years old“. Despite the hat’s age, Alexander says “it still looked smart.”

So you see what a bargain the $10K Montecristi Panama is? Buy it today, and you’ll still be looking good in 2037.

Cheers!

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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The Hats That Are Borsalino

Borsalino Fedoras and Porkpies from Hartford York Hats - Men's Borsalino Straw Fedora Hat - The Baku FedoraBorsalino hats have been the industry gold standard for luxury hats for 150 years, and the company sees no reason to change the way they do things. As Borsalino sales director, Claudio Mennuni, confirms in a Reuters article as reported in The Age: “some of the steps we do have to be done the same way we did it 50, 60, 70 years ago.”

For instance?

We found we couldn’t get the same quality using new gear,” like lighter irons to shape brims instead of old gas-fired heavyweights, he said. “In a lot of cases you have to fix the equipment, you can’t find it anywhere else.

Throughout the century, Borsalino’s signature trilbies, or fedoras, have graced the silver screen, from the likes of Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca to Denzel Washington‘s dapper detective in last year’s Inside Man.

Borsalino is targeting the under-35s, featuring new fibres, colors and hats that can be folded up and still keep their shape. These days, fashion watchers note a trend of nostalgia for the styles of the 1930s and ’40s, which include pin-striped suits, overcoats and elegant accessories.

Interest in fedoras and pork-pie hats among younger customers has been fueled by celebrities such as pop stars Justin Timberlake, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs and the Black Eyed Peas.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Don Imus Should Remove His Hat

Cowboy Hats from Hartford York Hats - Men's Toby Keith Western Hat - The Toby Keith Raffia OutbackEveryone’s got an opinion about shock jock Don Imus’s recent fall, perhaps the most reasoned and truthful being Harvey Fierstein’s NY Times op-ed entitled Our Prejudices, Ourselves.

Something I’ve noticed about Don Imus is that, unlike other spewing celebs (Mel Gibson and Michael Richards leap immediately to mind) the radio personality does indeed wear hats. Once he removes his headphones, Don Imus is rarely seen without a cowboy hat on his head.

Mr. Imus, you may wear a hat, but you, sir, are no gentleman.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on April 17, 2007 at 12:25 pm  Leave a Comment