You Can Leave Your Hat On

Sunday, June 15, 2008
Pictures copyright J.J. Hat Company Inc.

Look at any old photo featuring men that was taken before the 1950s and you'll almost always see them wearing hats. It's always been a bit sad to me that traditional men's hats as a wardrobe staple have been replaced by the cheap (and cheap looking) baseball cap. But today's CBS Sunday Morning Show gave me hope that maybe, just maybe, hats for men might be making a quiet comeback. They dedicated one of its segments to the history of the hat (for men) and visited a popular NYC hat shop. Once a mandatory fashion accessory for any man (could you imagine a Humphrey Bogart or Spencer Tracey movie without them?), hats slowly faded into obscurity during the 50s and the rebellious 60s. Since they're no longer the norm today, they've become a way for a man to stand out and make a fashion statement. Many male celebrities have been sighted wearing hats for the past few years.

Being a hat woman myself, I could spend hours in J.J. Hat Center in NYC. Founded in 1911, J.J. Hat Center is one of the oldest hat shops for men (and some ladies) in the city. They sell a variety of classic styles from biltmores to fedoras to caps (not baseball caps) with many of them manufactured in Canada and Italy. The prices range from $50 on up (some styles cost upwards of $250.) I believe they were the shop featured in the CBS Sunday Morning segment (unfortunately, CBS' website has video segments from selected stories, and the hat one is not one of them.)

Here's one that I really like called the Drifter. It's a water repellent pigskin suede hat that sells for $75.


  1. I love how hats made men look back then. I think the image of a man tipping his hat to a lady personifies being a gentleman and that respect that doesnt' seem to exist nowadays.

  2. I remember even in the late 60s, all the men in my neighborhood (Manhattan, Upper East Side) HAD to wear hats never saw a guy without a hat. I was very struck by this...

    Great pics!


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