Is there anything more uplifting than buying a new hat?
I was out and about today in my tan shirt (now with pocket flaps) and the vintage gray leather jacket I often wear, but somehow I wasn't feeling entirely pulled together, you know what I mean? As luck would have it, I was only a few blocks from one of New York City's few remaining men's hat shops, J. J. Hat Center, on Fifth Avenue between 31st and 32nd St. (310 Fifth).
What a fabulous store this is! Immediately upon entering you are
transported into another world, a world where what you wear on your head is VERY important.
I wanted a newsboy-style cap, and they have dozens and dozens of them. The salesman, an elegantly dressed man named José, could not have been more patient and helpful, and when I narrowed my choices down to a Stetson for $85 (!) and a Capas (a brand I'd never heard of) for $35, he steered me toward the cheaper one, which he believed was more flattering. How about that?!
The shop is beautiful inside and very old-world, but there's nothing stuffy or snooty about the staff. Biggest (and best) surprise: my wool tweed cap was made in Queens and has a United Hatters, Cap, & Millinery Union label!
I love my new hat and I know, I know, I need to get rid of two things now.
Fully accessorized, I swung by Mood briefly and picked up some fabric swatches. I was thinking of making myself a rain jacket, but Mood doesn't sell technical fabrics like Gortex. You can find water-resistant fabrics, for sure, but not waterproof and breathable. The inside of my current rain jacket, a four-year-old North Face, is peeling badly inside but I fear I may have to replace it with something similar. I know it's possible to sew something like that but I'm not sure I'm up to the challenge.
My other idea is to make myself a waxed canvas bag like this Chester Wallace tote I saw someone wearing on the street recently whom I followed till I could make out the bag's label. I'd have to figure out how to put it together however.
In other news, last week I joined the new bikeshare program here in NYC and I must say I love it -- I bike just about everywhere (you can only park them south of 60th St. for now, unfortunately). It makes getting around much faster, you don't have to worry about your bike getting stolen, and it's good exercise to boot!
And that's it. I have a new hat and a new attitude.
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!