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Oct 16, 2013

Feeling low? Buy a new hat!



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.

Have a great day, everybody!

35 comments:

  1. You are MORE than capable of sewing a new raincoat!
    ...your biggest problem will be settling on the perfect fabric.... (grin)

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  2. Hey, I've been consumed with waxing and waterproofing lately! I did a couple of blog posts about it, here:
    http://couturearts.wordpress.com/2013/10/12/for-a-rainy-day/
    http://couturearts.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/if-your-head-is-wax-dont-walk-in-the-sun/

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  3. TaylorTailor has been working on making his own waxed canvas bag and he has some details here which you might find helpful.

    http://www.taylortailor.com/2013/09/canvas-roll-top-backpack-version-2-0/#.Ul8zifkZt4I

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  4. A long time ago, there was a company called Frostline Kits that made kits for all kinds of outdoor wear and bags. I made several of their kits. One of them, a piece of soft-side luggage, my husband still has, and uses! It's just a matter of following the pattern instructions. Some items did require searing, but that's not complicated.

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  5. I good professional friend (wealthy), took me to the hat shop in SoHo after another diagnoses of cancer. We had a blast!! After a couple bloody marys at lunch, we tried on every hat in the store. A great gift from someone special. Hats are amazing....I am so jealous of kate middleton. ..only for the ability to wear Phillip Tracey hats every day.

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  6. Thank you for buying local, and supporting union workers. The hat becomes perfection on you.

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  7. Adorable -- we're big fans of hats in this house -- my partner is a professional jazz musician!

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  8. Great new hat! You look very pulled together. And, I love the idea of the wax canvas bag - and of your following the owner of the one you saw on the street until you could get a glimpse of the brand. I think that would make for a fun adventure!

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  9. Love the hat! And I've recently made a bunch of fold over tote bags like that. It's a great design, I use mine all the time!

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  10. A new hat and a new attitude! Amen!
    If only it were as easy as that in real life.
    *sigh*

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  11. I'm a huge hat fan (huge hats and a huge fan), and your new hat is lovely.

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  12. Love the hat. My husband has been looking to replace one that looks exactly like yours!.. I will look for a new Capas for him. Thanks for the lead.

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  13. LOVE your blog and the hat! I am a big hat fan. Thanks for all your inspirational posts. I am trying to ditch daily at the moment too over here in Australia, as there is a possibility my husband's work will move him over your way next year...well actually over Dorothy's way (Kansas). Would love it if you would have a glimpse at my brand new bumbling blog some time. I am a bit sewing obsessed and sew everyday so figured it was about time to share my adventures. http://lilysageandco.blogspot.com.au/

    Also, Merchant and Mills http://merchantandmills.com/products/cloth/
    have some lovely English fabrics including waterproof duck canvas and oil skin.

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  14. Australian waxed canvas yardage: http://etsy.me/1glQTEp

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  15. My husband bought a beret in that store once. He loves that place.

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  16. Longtime reader, first time commenter. Try seattlefabrics for the goretex, and specialtyoutdoors for info on construction.

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  17. I love the fact that you followed the bag owner until you could see the label :)

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  18. I'm interested (on my hubby's behalf, actually) to find out more about the bikeshare programme. We're planning (well I am, mostly, but he'll be along for the ride) to be in NYC in October next year, and he rides a lot and might enjoy riding around the city. Is the programme open to international visitors? Or only for locals?

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    Replies
    1. Yes -- it's open to anyone (with a credit card). You can join for a day, a week, or a year.

      https://citibikenyc.com/pricing

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  19. Peter, your hat is fab!

    I saw those citybikes when I was in NYC last summer to see Jersey Boys (which was fabulous, by the way). They looked totally fun!
    PS: I think Burda (the online store) has a couple of caps similar to that style available. Narrower, more English, less newsboy.

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  20. The title of your post reminded me of that scene in "The Bishop Wife", which is set at Christmas time, where Loretta Young admires a hat in a shop window loaded with flowers and a veil. Totally inappropriate for December. Cary Grant buys it for her anyway. Well, he was an angel in this picture.

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  21. GREAT HAT! And it is a great style for you. You should be much happier when wearing that, Peter!

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  22. There are some good bag tutorials on this website: http://bagntell.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/utility-tote/
    Wonder what waxed canvas is like to work with?

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    Replies
    1. That looks just like my Baggu tote. Thanks!

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  23. I love that tote! I want to make one but I'm not sure how to do the waxing.

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  24. I was fortunate enough to accompany my sister on a visit J J Hat Center in August.She was on a mission to buy her husband a hat as a surprise, and it was the dapper, gentlemanly Jose who assisted her. Yes, a delightful spot. The hats and the salespeople put a smile on my face.

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  25. Love the hat! Perfection. I admire your commitment to purging--I do a full sweep of the house on a regular basis (with four kids in a small row home, it is a necessity!!). Also, bike sharing is great! We've done it in Europe and I'm so happy to see it come to NYC! Now to spread the idea outside the City!

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  26. Peter, go over to fabric.com and look for their laminated cotton. You'll need a roller foot to sew the stuff but it's waterproof and comes in a ton of different colors and patterns.

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  27. Check out www.fabricline.com (Rose City Textiles in Portland, OR) for wonderful waterproof, breathable fabric for your raincoat. I am partial to the ones that have fleece on the inside and are $18.96 a yard.

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  28. How about a tote sew-a-long? I love that one.

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  29. Oh I want to go there! Next time I'm in the city...I've wanted a leather newsboy ever since doing "Something's Afoot" and I kept wearing one of the actors' to track it down to the dressing rooms. Yum, waxed canvas! I have a waxed canvas hunting jacket that I LOVE.

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  30. You're a Peaky Blinder now - presumably without the razor blades?!

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