Hats have unfairly gained a bit of a bad reputation as of late. From the ubiquitous 'new era' baseball caps which look like they are simply made of 'clip-art' flooding instagram feeds, through to flat caps or beanies being used only as tools to cover up baldness in a trend affectionately known as 'hatfishing' : the Hat seems no longer to be loved as it once was. I found myself in the same boat, relegating this crowning jewel of men's accessories to police television dramas, or to unfortunate men who were stuck in the Dandy era of the 20's. However, before Lockdown 3.0 came into full effect, I was lucky enough be strolling around London for the day, and found myself perusing the artfully curated shelves of Laird's Hattery.
While I obstinately saw myself not a hat guy - something mysterious and intriguing lured me into this Soho den. On a non-assuming side street tucked away in the thick of Soho lies this emporium, floor to ceiling on each side covered in countless styles, cuts, colours and furs of exotic hats. With room barely for two people, and only one mirror available, the experience of finding your hat here is wonderfully intimate - something that has been long been missing from any shopping experience recently. The bohemian assistant threw piece after handcrafted piece at me, refining my tastes after every try. There were fedoras, pork-pies, trilbies, horse-riders, official sheriff wear, stetsons, and countless others that he threw at me, eager to find something that suits my individual style, character and personality.
We settled on this unique, handmade, tall American cowboy hat in a light 'rabbit fur' brown. I was a bit hesitant at first, unsure whether my large face and deep set features would suit such a tall and iconic hat, but a moment in the mirror reassured me that this little beauty was made to be mine. As my head was crowned with this beast, my posture suddenly elevated, my stance became more masculine, my pose powerful and authoritative. Perhaps this was the person I wanted to be. Surprisingly, the hat also fit right into my wardrobe, not only accessorising my January staples of a white cable knit jumper and aviator jacket, but with a number of casual outfits that I rely on.
My dear readers - if you are in need of some joie de vivre - get thee to a hattery!
Laird Hatters: 18 Sherwood St, Soho, London W1D 7HN