Where Did You Get That Hat?

Borsalino Braid Fedora - The MazziniProbably the best and most sincere compliment you can get about any hat–new or old–is the question: Where did you get that hat?

It’s a question tinged with envy, unlike the rather bland “I like your hat” statement. There’s an emphasis on the word “hat” in the question, and usually the admirer’s eyes are locked onto your lid. For a moment (or longer), you are of simply no import: a mannequin at best. It’s the hat that matters.

In fact, the Where did you get that hat? question is right up there in terms of laudatory remarks with the well-known saying “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery,” because the logical next step for your admirer (once you provide the vendor information), is for that person to procure the same hat for himself.

The next time someone asks you where you got your hat, accept the compliment for what it is: the highest praise that person can give.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on May 15, 2012 at 5:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Every Day is Customer Appreciation Day!

Makins Special Order Hat MS1133 - Bleach Panama Fedora at HartfordYork.com Every day is customer appreciation day at Hartford York. That pretty much means that all of us here at Hartford York treat customers the way we ourselves would like to be treated.

After all, without the customer, we’re nothing! So it’s my daily goal to be as helpful as possible — whether by answering customer questions, giving advice or through hands-on problem solving.

That’s just good business practice you say — and you’re right. It is. But outstanding service has also become somewhat rare these days, and that’s one reason I’ve got a whole page at Hartford York dedicated to customer testimonials.

It’s hard for customers to know what kind of company they’re dealing with (especially when it’s an online business). By reading the experiences of other customers who have had problems solved or are impressed with speed of response, fast shipping or no-hassle exchanges and returns, potential customers can establish a level of trust enough to make that initial leap of faith and first purchase.

Here’s a real-life example of how I operate. When George T. wanted to buy several expensive Makins Special Order hats, I suggested that we start with just one to make sure he liked it and that it fit. George agreed. Once he knew how much he liked the first hat, we then proceeded on to the others that he wanted.

George wrote a review of his Hartford York shopping experience, saying:

I purchased a few Makins Special Order hats from their fall and winter selection. As expected, these hats are exceptional in both fit and finish and I am more than satisfied with them all.

But I want to give a shout out to Hartford York’s CEO, the honorable Mr. Steve Singer. The day after placing my order, I received an email from Mr. Singer expressing his appreciation for my purchase and offering some expert advice on how to proceed more sagaciously.

Well, his personal care was extraordinary, needed and appreciated. Helped me avoid few possible purchasing problems. All this from the President and CEO. Thank you, Steve. Will certainly be making many more purchases through Hartford York.

Thank you for the kind words, George.

Just doing my job.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on May 4, 2012 at 2:08 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Eugenia Kim Hats and the Hemingway influence

Nylon Guys coverNylon Guys page with Eugenia Kim hatI knew that the new Spring/Summer 2012 line of men’s hats by noted NYC hat designer Eugenia Kim  was great to look at with stingy brim lids in laid-back hues made from cool, natural materials like toyo and raffia. After all, they were created exclusively for HartfordYork.com, and the Mr. Kim line has been selling fast.

What I didn’t know was there’s an Old Man and the Sea connection. According to a sidebar article in the March 2012 edition of Nylon Guys, Eugenia Kim used the nautical imagery from the novel as the basis of her men’s hat line, Mr. Kim. The natural materials used in making the fedoras were said to be island-related and the color palette (which for instance includes a deep ocean navy with The Blue Jimmy, a cotton driver cap) culled from descriptions written by “Papa” Hemingway.

Think I’ll spend some time in my library tonight. Although with Hemingway, you don’t even need to crack a book for a great short story — remember this one: “For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.”

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Earth Day in my Organic Hat

Men's Straw Hat - The Mojave Organic Raffia Gambler at HartfordYork.comEarth Day 2012 is this Sunday, April 22, and I’ll be celebrating it in eco-friendly fashion: by wearing The Mojave, a gambler style hat made from naturally harvested, 100% organic raffia straw from Madagascar.

I’ve taken a few tips from EarthDay.org (after I completed their Footprint Calculator, an eye-opening couple of minutes!), and will also up my “Acts of Green” by trying to find even more sources of local food than I already buy from, and will increase composting and recycling wherever possible.

I haven’t used a rain barrel in my vegetable garden, but will do so this year. I’m pretty good with other small energy savers like turning off lights and laptops, and using LED bulbs instead of standard light bulbs. I saw something mentioned on the Earth Day site that I’d never heard of before in terms of saving energy: using stairs instead of the elevator for a couple of flights — that’s something I’ve done (once in a while) but only as an added bit of exercise.

It’s good to know I can look great and feel virtuous in a hat too. It doesn’t even have to be a straw hat. I mean, just look at The True Organic Scala Ball Cap. It’s a completely classic look with with one significant advantage: a low environmental impact because the cotton is grown without chemicals or pesticides and is hand gathered and naturally processed.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on April 20, 2012 at 4:10 pm  Leave a Comment  
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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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Great Golf Hat

Product reviews that you submit to Hartford York are edited for clarity, spelling and length; however, one top review from customer Gary M. of Frederick, MD, deserves its very own blog post.

Gary purchased The Outback, a raffia straw hat by Scala with leather chin cord and broad, sun-shielding brim. I like this hat for its comfortable wear (there’s an elasticized sweatband) and casual style. Gary’s full review reads as follows:

This is one of two hats I ordered that came out of the box looking great — better even than the online pics. I ordered The Outback as a replacement golf hat, selecting it in part because of the chin string. Had to bail from the golf cart one too many times when the wind whipped off my previous straw golf hat, sans chin string. Plus, we’ll be on a cruise in about a month, and I figure if the wind blows your hat off then, I’d only be able to chase it so far . . . anyway, I’ll consider raffia weave in the future. Rugged but polished, fits great.

One note, I measured 22.5″ and was in-between M & L size, and opted for the larger size because of my experience with sweatbands similar to this one where a M was a bit snug. I thought it would make more sense to go with the L thinking the snug fit would translate into L feeling more like M; sort of worked out that way, but I believe the M would have worked as well because of the construction.

Aside from that, I found on my first outing with it, that while the string sort of duels with my cigar while bending over a putt and sometimes clips off the ash, I found a careful positioning of the cigar as it passes through the string opening mitigates the conflict.

I’m very satisfied with the hat, and plan to wear it as First Choice while out hitting the crap out of those little, white, round & dimpled friends of mine, against whom I otherwise harbor no ill will. Great golf hat!

Now that’s what I call a review!

Thanks for playing,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Straw Hats for Men

Makins Bu Straw Fedora - The Lyceum Hat at HartfordYork.comWe’ve got more five-star customer reviews to share, this time on perfect-for-summer straw hats.

The one pictured here is a Makins fedora called The Lyceum. Made from Japanese Bu straw, you really won’t believe how light this very classy hat is until you put it on your head. The blue with white multi-striped band is, using the word of a satisfied customer “magnificent”, and if you like your hats made in the U.S.A., then you’ll appreciate that this hat was made in New York City.

Joel W. called The Montecristi Pork Pie, a Panama hat by Biltmore, “a great lid.” Since he spends time in southeast Asia, he says it’s important to wear Panama hats “of high quality because of all the heat and humidity.” His assessment of The Montecristi Pork Pie? “This one rocks!”

Another Biltmore straw hat received a five-star review. Customer Enoch B. said he likes the quality of The Ventilated Panama hat, a pinch front fedora with an interesting dimensional brim and cooling open mesh crown. The great look comes in at a great price too. What’s not to like?

Keep those customer reviews coming. Let us know what makes you happy — and we’ll continue doing just that!

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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I Love Men in Hats – a Mad Men quote

Mr. Kim Toyo Fedora - The Camel CurtIn a recent Toronto Sun article, Christina Hendricks was asked if she has experienced any 1960s fashion epiphanies through her role as Joan Harris, the head-turning office manager at Sterling Cooper, on the wildly popular TV drama, Mad Men.

Hendricks replied that she loves hats and in particular that she loves men in hats. She was also quoted as saying that “Don Draper’s wide-brimmed fedora looks great on him.”

Sun columnist and editor Bill Harris then wrote the line in the article that’s closest to my heart (which in no way discounts his opener: “It’s the Don of a new era”):

That sound you hear isn’t thunder, it’s a stampede of men desperately trying to find a chapeau shop that sells something other than baseball caps.

Hendricks is not speaking as her Mad Men character when she talks about her love of hats. She commented in the article that her husband, actor Geoffrey Arend, likes hats too, saying that “he wears a little bowler” and added that “he looks very good in a bowler.”

I’ve always liked that  Christina Hendricks. She’s gorgeous, talented and has got very good taste!

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on March 30, 2012 at 2:55 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Did You Watch Mad Men?

Jon Hamm as Don Draper in Mad MenMad Men is back, after a 17-month long (!) break. There are recaps in every publication, from the LA Times to the New York Daily News, so I won’t write one, but I sure am glad to see those 60’s sets, styles and great men’s hats again.  Twitter’s all abuzz too, and I really liked the comment from celebuzzz that said “Pete’s checkered jacket was this episode’s unsung hero.”

In a review from Toronto.com, there’s a good observation by critic Rob Salem who says that the one thing he’s “always loved about Mad Men was the little moments, the tossed-off trivialities that bring us instantly and more vividly back to the era than the most detailed re-enactment ever could.”

The cigarette stubbed out in a dessert. The detritus of the family picnic blanket blithely dumped on the grass of a public park. The children running around the house with plastic laundry bags over their heads, being scolded because “they might knock something over” (though this may say less about the period than it does Betty’s parenting skills).

By the way, if you liked the French pop hit used in last night’s premiere, called Zou Bisou Bisou (which means “Oh you, Kiss, Kiss” in a loose translation),  it’s available on iTunes and there’s a vinyl available on the Mad Men website.

So, did you watch Mad Men?

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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Published in: on March 26, 2012 at 4:02 pm  Leave a Comment  

Men’s Large Hats in Sizes 2X and 3X

Borsalino Panama Hat - The Vented Montecristi Fedora at HartfordYork.comMen’s hats that fit very large heads can sometimes be quite difficult to find. Most retailers just don’t seem to keep enough 2X and 3X sizes in stock — the hats that are big enough for the hard-to-fit man with a Size 8 head, measuring 25 1/4 inches.

At Hartford York, we have an extensive collection of men’s hats in larger sizes, from dress hats to casual caps in every material. Pictured above is a Borsalino Panama hat called The Ventilated Montecristi. It’s a limited edition, handwoven hat that is exceptionally lightweight for comfortable summer wear. The level of craftsmanship is obvious from the intricacy of the weave.

Also available in XXL is a newsboy cap called The Linen Lennon. I challenged my friend Anthony Peto of Paris to recreate the cap (the original of which is in a famous picture of John Lennon), and this very full cut newsboy in a toothy 100% Irish linen is the result. Imagine.

For those of you who pay attention to such things, yes, both The Ventilated Montecristi and The Linen Lennon are exclusive to Hartford York, in addition to being part of 2X and 3X hat selection.

Thanks for reading,
Steve Singer
CEO Hartford York

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