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locations of good hat stores?

raw shark

New in Town
Messages
14
Location
California
I am looking to buy a hat, but I am going to graduate school next year in Ithaca, NY, so does anyone know of a good store around there? I'm sure there is one in New York City, but somewhere within reasonable driving distance of Ithaca would be ideal. Also, my parents live in the Bay Area, so theoretically I could also visit a hat store in northern California fairly easily (Berkeley or SF seem like places that might have a good hat store).
 

Mulceber

Practically Family
Messages
721
Location
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Speaking as a native Ithacan, there really aren't any good hat stores in the area. There is one little hat shop on the commons, but they sell low-quality wool felt hats, if I'm not mistaken. You might want to step in to see what they've got, but this is very much a caveat emptor situation. If it were me, I'd check out either Art Fawcett or Optimo - both can be contacted/ordered from online. -M

Ps. What school are you attending? Ithaca college or Cornell?
 

Thwack

Familiar Face
Messages
65
Location
Upstate NY
Mulceber said:
Speaking as a native Ithacan, there really aren't any good hat stores in the area. There is one little hat shop on the commons, but they sell low-quality wool felt hats, if I'm not mistaken.


You are right. I've been in that hat store and it's nothing but cheap wools for high prices. I was wearing my fed iv and couldn't get the owner to talk make eye contact let alone talk about the hats he had.
 

StylinLA

Familiar Face
Messages
92
Location
Los Angeles
raw shark said:
I am looking to buy a hat, but I am going to graduate school next year in Ithaca, NY, so does anyone know of a good store around there? I'm sure there is one in New York City, but somewhere within reasonable driving distance of Ithaca would be ideal. Also, my parents live in the Bay Area, so theoretically I could also visit a hat store in northern California fairly easily (Berkeley or SF seem like places that might have a good hat store).

I've had some bad experiences with hat stores- including a prominent one in NYC. But the advantage of a hat store if you're new to hats is trying on a bunch of lids to see what feels right to you: size, color, style, brim, etc.

I know as a student, money may be a little tight so the full customs from the many hatters in here may be too pricey.

Your best bet right now if you can't afford to pop for a custom from Art Fawcett or others is to keep trolling this forum and looking for input from the many true experts in here on both ready mades and vintage hats. Vintage hats a good bet that won't necessarily cost a lot (and in many cases cost less than some ready-mades and be MUCH better hats).

Watch out for "mall" hats in S M L XL -- they might be fine to start with I suppose, but for the folk in here, they're usually a cut below. They're usually made of wool, and this joint is full of rabbit, blend and beaver felt lovers.

I got my first felt hats last Christmas and there IS a difference. A big one. You'll feel it every time you put it on your head.
 

StylinLA

Familiar Face
Messages
92
Location
Los Angeles
Thwack said:
You are right. I've been in that hat store and it's nothing but cheap wools for high prices. I was wearing my fed iv and couldn't get the owner to talk make eye contact let alone talk about the hats he had.

That's funny I had a similar experience a couple of weeks ago sporting a Vintage Silhouette in a local hat store.

We're real pains in the neck in those place I'm thinking.
 

carter

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,921
Location
Corsicana, TX
The 1st place I'd look would be in the Classifieds on the Fedora Lounge. At least the sellers know what they're talking about. Prices are generally as-good-as or better-than those you'll end up with on Ebay.
 

blade runner

New in Town
Messages
45
Location
Ithaca, NY
Hello from Ithaca

That hat store on The Commons in Ithaca that Mulceber mentioned is closed. You might be able to find an inexpensive wool felt hat at the TJ Max, but there are no hat stores in Ithaca, or even nearby that I'm aware of. You'd probably have to drive quite a way from Ithaca to find a hat store. Gary White (The Custom Hatter) has his shop in Buffalo (although I believe he is contemplating moving to California) but his custom made hats would run $500 or more. You might be able to find something in Rochester -- a two hour drive from Ithaca. California probably has more options, but I don't know anything about traveling distances there. I don't know if this helps much, but there it is for what it's worth.
 

carldelo

One Too Many
Messages
1,568
Location
Astoria, NYC
In the upstate area, you'd be better off spending your time trolling the local thrift and antique stores to see if there's any treasure buried in plain sight - this depends on your hat size - the smaller the better for vintage. I've a big head, so never find anything. Personally I'm averse to ebay - I echo the suggestion above to use the classifieds here instead.

If you prefer to buy new online, use a vendor with a forgiving return policy - two that come to mind are noggintops and villagehatshop. In both cases, if your hat is the wrong size, they will ship the proper size for free - you only pay return shipping on the wrong size hat. I've had good experiences with both. Beware that some vendors have no-refund policies and you can get stuck with a hat you don't want. Others accept returns, but charge shipping for the replacement as well. Online shopping success depends on knowing what you want, though. It can be daunting to order an Akubra from Oz without being sure you will like it. The return charge will be prohibitive, although you would probably be able to sell it on the classifieds here.

Good luck
 

JJWord

Familiar Face
Messages
83
Location
Buffalo, NY
blade runner said:
That hat store on The Commons in Ithaca that Mulceber mentioned is closed. You might be able to find an inexpensive wool felt hat at the TJ Max, but there are no hat stores in Ithaca, or even nearby that I'm aware of. You'd probably have to drive quite a way from Ithaca to find a hat store. Gary White (The Custom Hatter) has his shop in Buffalo (although I believe he is contemplating moving to California) but his custom made hats would run $500 or more. You might be able to find something in Rochester -- a two hour drive from Ithaca. California probably has more options, but I don't know anything about traveling distances there. I don't know if this helps much, but there it is for what it's worth.

I live in Buffalo and just found Gary White's website. Do you have any experience with him? I've got an Akubra via eBay coming that may need to be cleaned and reblocked.
 

Lefty

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,640
Location
O-HI-O
Search the word Gary in the hats forum and you'll find a couple of posts. He seems to be quite well received.
 

Lefty

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,640
Location
O-HI-O
Search the word Gary in the hats forum - in the title of the thread - and you'll find a couple of posts. He seems to be quite well received.
 

blade runner

New in Town
Messages
45
Location
Ithaca, NY
Gary is very friendly and likes to talk about hats. I haven't yet bought one of his (I already had a couple on order from Art Fawcett so I wasn't really in the market at the time) or had him do any cleaning or reblocking, but I suggest you give him a call. As far as his website, his current one has a hyphen between "custom" and "hatter". I mention that because the old one without the hyphen is still out there and the prices on it are outdated. Good luck.
 

Sargon

Familiar Face
Messages
97
Location
Rochester NY
I've got a hat from Gary and like it very much, but as stated students are often on a budget and this may be difficult. It would still be worth the trip just to look around and talk perhaps if he isn't too busy. Apart from the aforementioned TJ Max or Burlington Coat Factory S, M, or L hats there isn't much around here.
DSCF1455.jpg
 

Barefoot Friar

New in Town
Messages
16
Location
Alabama
I'm going to DC this week and part of my Xmas pressie from my wife is a new hat. What stores are in the area? I know about the one in Alexandria but might not be able to get there when it's open. Any in DC proper?

I want a navy fedora, or maybe a nice gray one.
 

Dm101

A-List Customer
Messages
498
Location
Maryland
Whatever you do, dont go to the stores in baltimore. They fleeced me good.
"Hats by Haber" in silver spring is a good shop.
 

Jel

New in Town
Messages
18
Location
Singapore
Will be doing probably a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the above cities. Need your help for recommendations on must visit legit Hat shops (if any). So far the ones I found are from far away states like Oregon, Seattle and Texas. Looking for either hemp or felt.

No vintage for me though since I have a fairly small head (hard to find size). I currently have Borsalino Trillby (size57) and Panama (size56).

Sent from my ALP-L29 using Tapatalk
 

jlee562

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,846
Location
San Francisco, CA
JJ Hat Center in NYC, Bencraft in Brooklyn. Worth and Worth is also there, but I do not recommend their straws.

Paul's Hat Works in SF does custom felt and Panama hats. Small, but very old shop. We don't really have any proper hat stores anymore, though Goorin is around for wool hats. Berkeley Hat co. across the bay has some high end stuff, but caters mostly in cheaper hats and novelties. I believe City Vintage (appointment only) also has vintage hats.

Baron Hats is in LA, Wellema Hat co. is out in Altadena, Gunner Foxx is in Hollywood but I think he might be appointment only.
 
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