Easter–Best Time For Hat Experiments

Straw Dress Hats and Fedoras - Men's Mr. Green Sewn Braid Hat - The Frank FedoraThe true hat-wearers among us don’t need excuses to wear hats on a daily basis. The Easter holidays, though, are a great opportunity to experiment with some of the fancier styles or patterns that might take us out of our comfort zone.

Easter is pretty much the last major holiday where buying a new hat or bonnet, and then showing it off, is still a widely practiced (albeit church-based) tradition. In case you don’t remember, getting a new Easter hat is part of the celebration of the end of Lent, a 40-day pre-Easter religious period of denial. For the observant, new hats and outfits became part of the symbolic rebirth.

For people who don’t regularly wear more than ballcaps, this time of year is perfect to try out a new type of hat. Not only is Easter a ready-made “excuse”, but you’ve also got that more urgent one: spring fever!

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
The Big Bunny
and CEO Hartford York

If you’re all excited about your Easter bonnet, join the gang. Get free hat blog updates by email or RSS.

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Published in: on March 22, 2008 at 12:15 am  Leave a Comment  

Home Shopping Hat Parties

Dress Hats and Porkpies - Men's Makins Woven Synthetic Horse Hair Hat - The Bleeker Street PorkpieI’ve just been reminded of the popularity of home shopping parties–long-famous with Tupperware and Avon, this venue of private home shopping amongst friends and family got another boost with the lingerie parties. (So I’m told, so I’m told!)

I’m thinking hats, not underwear, but maybe I’ll expand someday. . .(I mean, I do offer socks and a pair of boxers). Anyway, I digress.

Let’s say I have a bunch of people to my place who don’t wear hats. There’s music, there’s wine, there’s conversation. And then there are a zillion or so hat samples all over the place–from the “non-threatening” sun visor and ball cap to dress Panama fedoras, porkpies and ladies sun hats. Seems to me a pretty painless way to introduce the joys of hat-wearing to both the completely uninitiated and to the stuck-in-a-rut one-style-only headgear crowd.

Let me put this out: would you go to a hat party? Would you hold a hat party if you knew you could get a good hat for half-price as a hosting gift?

I’m sending invites to mine — let me know if you’re interested.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York (and Tupperware Fan)

If you’re RSVPing all over the place, get more party opps by email or RSS.

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Published in: on March 11, 2008 at 1:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Environmentally Conscious Hats

Helen Kaminski Hats - Kaminski Raffia Bag - The ViennaTop designers mixed hemp, soy and old cashmere in a recent ensemble show called FutureFashion staged by ‘Earth Pledge’, an environmentally conscious nonprofit group. On parade were: a hemp-based pantsuit; a rugby-stripe dress made of recycled cashmere; and a cream-colored hemp-silk gown from Donatella Versace.

Designers (including Francisco Costa of Calvin Klein and Michael Kors in addition to Versace) were eager to participate and find ways to incorporate recycled or organic materials without straying from their usual aesthetic.

I’m glad to see the fashion industry is finally following my green lead. You know I’ve been offering hemp hats for years and pushing scrap and patch caps. Over the past couples of seasons, I’ve been carrying Helen Kaminski products too. She’s the Australian designer who developed a workshop facility on the remote island of Madagascar where the raffia is harvested ecologically so that the palm tree is unharmed.

Thanks for reading,
Mr. Green, Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on February 1, 2008 at 10:40 pm  Leave a Comment  

It Takes Patience To Find Your Beret Groove

Wool Berets for Men and Women - Kangol Men's Beret - The Tropic Monty BeretErin Weinger of The Los Angeles Times says of the the beret: it “can change the look of an outfit and add personality to lackluster ensembles in an instant, but don’t be deceived: simple in design, berets are tricky to get right.”

Hat and accessory designer Eugenia Kim uses size as a guide for which beret to wear, matching a pared-down outfit with a smaller beret.

She calls the beret a “great cosmetic” too, saying: “If you have a round face, you can lose 5 pounds by wearing one [because] a chunky beret makes the face look slimmer.” She gives the example of a plush popcorn knitted style, saying that it “adds bulk to the top of the head and diverts eyes from the face.”

Additionally, if you want to cover a blemish like a “lazy eye or weird cowlick,” the beret is a great way to do it.

More suggestions and advice, including why eggplant is a good color and which beret is deemed “seductive“, are yours for the reading in Ms. Weinger’s article called Don’t Let That Chic Beret Become An Ugly Noggin Blob. (Really, that’s what she wrote; I didn’t make it up.)

You know I’d love to riff on the choice of title here, but I’m off to see if I have any bangs left to peek–coyly–from my beret a la Hilary Duff.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

If you know who Sir Hilary Duff is, please advise immediately. For the rest of you, get free updates by email or RSS.

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Published in: on January 27, 2008 at 9:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

Hat Expectations

Fur Hats - Crown Cap Mink Envoy Cap - The Mink Envoy - HartfordYork.comTrendWatching.com now reports that we’re in something called The Expectation Economy, “an umbrella trend that neatly captures the zeitgeist for mature (and rapidly maturing) consumer societies.”

It’s not just consumer goods that are being subjected to high expectations for intelligent (and picky) consumers; there have been reports from the medical community that doctors don’t especially appreciate the “medical-googler” approach, with patients (ie., consumers) researching everything from symptoms and side-effects to lawsuits that their doctor may have been involved in and the medical schools s/he attended.

There are a couple of reasons behind our heightened expections:

Intelligence on the best, the cheapest, the first, the most original and the most relevant been so openly available to consumers. And never before have consumers enjoyed doing research and ‘competitive analysis’ and ‘benchmarking’ as much as they do now, and doing it far more diligently than most corporations do.

I’m no doctor, but when somebody wants to check out my hats, I’m all for it. I just call that “smart shopping“, and I’m the first to do it. Of course, I always come back and buy from myself.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on January 24, 2008 at 9:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Hat By Any Other Name

Men's Dress Hats - Scala Wool Felt Top Hat - The Mad Hatter Top HatLily Tomlin hit a nerve when she asked the unanswerable: Why isn’t there a special name for the tops of your feet? I mean, there’s a specific name for just about everything else you can think of: your forearm has its ulna, and the end of a hammer head opposite the striking face is apparently called a peen, for pete’s sake. Everybody knows a ferrule is the metal band on a pencil that holds the eraser in place, but I wasn’t aware that the revolving star on the back of a cowboy’s spurs is a rowel.

Hats have very specific names too: you’ve got your stovepipe or top hat (also called a plug hat); you’ve got your baseball cap, beret and bicorne. There’s your boater, bonnet and bowler (or derby) and caps, cloches and chef’s hats. Cowboy hats, westerns, ten gallons and outbacks. Am I getting my point across? Ivys, newsboys, driver’s caps and Greek Fishermen’s hats. Fedoras, homburgs and trilbies.

So, if the English language can come up with a word for the flat, square head-covers that students wear (and toss) at graduations, then why isn’t there a special name for the tops of your feet?

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

If you knew that the grad hats are called mortarboards, you might enjoy free updates of this blog by email or RSS.

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Published in: on January 18, 2008 at 1:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Not a Hat in Sight at theTwo-Day Course For Men

Cashmere Caps - Men's Cashmere Ball Cap - The Wigens Gotland Baseball CapThere’s a Two-Day Course For Men that I’m thinking of going to; it’s got a lot of useful classes, including:

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LAUNDRY BASKET & FLOOR
Practicing with hamper (Pictures and graphics)

REMOTE CONTROL
Losing the remote control – Help line and support groups

GETTING OVER IT
Learning how to live with being wrong all the time

Some really good stuff here. It won’t be a walk in the park, though. In fact, it’s so challenging there’s even a restriction as to class size: Due to the complexity and level of difficulty, each course will accept a maximum of eight participants.

I’m bummed of course that there’s nothing to learn about hats, like how to convert your living room into a hat-storage facility or how to try to pretend to like people who don’t wear hats.

Ah well, guess I’ll have to start my own little education center.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer, Educator
and CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on January 16, 2008 at 6:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Pay Attention to Your Hat

Hats by Makins Fur - Felt/Leather Braid Fedora - The BronxPsychologists confirmed what I pretty much knew all along: “that even when people try to focus on a task they tend to lose concentration within 40 minutes, and sometimes as little as 10 minutes.” Blood flow to the brain was measured (the more, the higher the concentration level), and researchers say study results can be helpful for those whose jobs require intense concentration on monitors or television screens, including the military, security workers, and air traffic controllers.

OK, first of all, 10 minutes is pretty good.

When I have to concentrate on which hats to choose for next season’s catalog, I begin by procrastinating. Then I get side-tracked and find something else to do (like trot off to the club to show off my latest happenin’ fedora). It’s only after my pre-ordered supply of stickers comes in (stickers of my smiling face, thanks) that I can really get down to the task at hand: trying new hats on that handsome mug.

When the subject is the person who’s working, utter, unbreakable and timeless concentration is a given.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

If you concentrated long enough to get to this point, you win free updates by email or RSS.

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Published in: on January 10, 2008 at 12:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Manly Fur Hats

Hartford York Fur Hats - Men's Muskrat TrooperDavid Coleman of The New York Times wrote that “. . . just a few years ago, the consensus among men, even fashionable men, was that fur was off limits — deemed ostentatious, unmanly, immoral, for starters.”

What’s changed this perception he goes on in his article Men in Pelts is that “. . . designers are choosing restraint, even suggesting utility and manliness.”

He’s got that right. I’m nothing if not manly 100% muskrat fur hat from Crown Cap of Canada. Yeah, fur may be fluffy and soft and luxurious, but when it’s designed as simply the best headgear for cold weather wear, fur’s just hot.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
The Manly
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on December 30, 2007 at 1:56 am  Leave a Comment  
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Hat Collections Make More Than Cents

Men's Hats - Makins Fur Felt/Leather Braid Fedora - The Bronx FedoraFrugal For Life blog owner, Donna C, talks about the The Value of Collecting in a recent post, saying that there is a kind of non-monetary value in collections that can be rather priceless. I’m sure the term ‘sentimental value’ springs to mind, but it needn’t be a maudlin emotion.

If a collection of comic books, great art, or hats simply makes you happy (whether by the acquisition process and/or through actual use of the articles) then the collection is of value to you.

By the way, if you want to make an absolute killing on an old hat, place it in a classy box frame with black and white handbills, photos and other memorabilia-type papers scattered artistically round it. Sell it on ebay for a cool grand, send me my 30%, and we’re even.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer, Hat Collector and
Very Frugal CEO of Hartford York

If you see your way out of bankruptcy, get free updates of this blog by email or RSS. Can’t get much more frugal than free!

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Published in: on September 18, 2007 at 1:13 am  Leave a Comment