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Lock Fedora

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
As in the "type-of-item-I'm-always-looking-for-and-never-find" category, I spotted in one of our better vintage stores a men's fedora with the full "Lock & Co." logo inside. It was just with many American-made hats and priced similarly - $20. I haven't purchased it yet so - no photo. But I can say it is a fairly simple fedora - doesn't seem as complexly made as my Borsalino fedora, for example - with a dark gray, lightweight-velour fabric, and minimal brim. Reminds me of late '60s - '70s, maybe? Fairly thin black band. Looks totally authentic, anyway - just like the florid branding I always see with Lock hats, with the Jermyn Street addess and curlicues. Actually, are they on both St. James's and Jermyn? As I sometimes do, I'm so stunned to see something I actually pointed out to the owner how low the price is for a hat from such an illustrious establishment.

Now, a few questions: Condition seems excellent, without my studying every detail (yet). There was a (cardboard?) label inside the interior rim that had numbers, including a "4/81"; could that be the date of manufacture? Second - hat had "57" size as well as "7." Normally I wear at least a 7 1/8, and used to have a Borsalino flat cap labeled 57 that was plenty roomy. Is the "7" a mislabel and it's larger? I'm wondering if the hat was made to be sold in the U.S. The lady showed me several other hats that came from the same house - they were American and at least one had a local store name in it. I certainly wouldn't call the hat "roomy" but I think it probably fits well enough.

Since the hat has such a shallow brim, not exactly "classic" though a lot like the hats many young guys seem to be buying today, if I get it I might wear it as sort of a funky thing - not as a "serious" fedora (sort of like a baseball cap). Can't say yet. Maybe some of you guys are in the UK and see these hats a lot but for me, in my Midwestern cityl, its a very special thing to come across one fo these. Anyway, the usual big question: what do think of the price? Isn't this a steal? Thanks!
post #2 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'd say hat looks a lot like this current style:

http://www.lockhatters.co.uk/Chester-details.aspx
post #3 of 17
I think it is a good price. Also, the 57 cm equates to a size 7 1/8 american, which is the same as a size 7 european. Why not simply try the hat on and if it fits, just go on and get it?
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Wording probably says "St. James's Street." I had just recalled that's near Jermyn, where I was privileged to walk around in 2007.

So an American "7 1/8" is a European "7." How confusing!
post #5 of 17
Lock is a superb hatter dating to 1700s. In fact Camilla wore a Lock hat to the Jubillee pageant. They are one of the few hatters left in London.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Yes, they say 1676. Everything I see has this great praise for them. I see the Royal family does patronize them. If I get the hat I'll post a photo or two. I'm just asking if it seems a steal. Yes, I see on websites a British "7" is like an "Italian" or American "7 1/8" but I wonder how on earth this disparity started.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Teddibly embarassing, but I went back to our vintage store, purchased the hat discussed above (lady had already packed it to take to a show tomorrow - whew!), showed the lady some information on and praised James Lock & Co., brought the hat back to work and - ! - I peered inside it again and found it's a Bates!!! I thought I had seen "Jermyn Street" the other day but, oh well.... However, probably more important though, the hat is more exquisite than I had recalled and the brim is more graceful. And in excellent condition. I'll be posting photos and asking questions.

Question: In finding out more about Edwards Bates Hatters now, all very interesting but I'm finding much less lore surrounding it than Lock & Co., it doesn't have the royalty and all the famous others associated with it in the descriptions, etc. Why do some prefer Bates over Lock? They seem to have similar merchandise. Is Bates generally inferior? Lower price for the same style of hat? It still appears to be a very outstanding, quality establishment. bigstar[1].gif Interesting how they're now housed with the shirtmakers. Thank goodness they're still around!
post #8 of 17
Why all the hand wringing?

98% of the population won't have heard of Lock. A further 1.9% couldn't identify a Lock hat in the wild from ten paces.

You've got a vintage hat in great condition which you appear to like, for little more than pocket change. I paid $20 for a crushable unlined crappy felt pork pie stingy brim just to wear when my hair is in need of a cut as I can't stand baseball caps. You are a winner. Relax and enjoy your hat.
post #9 of 17
A good resource for hats is http://thefedoralounge.com/
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lafont View Post

Wording probably says "St. James's Street." I had just recalled that's near Jermyn, where I was privileged to walk around in 2007.
So an American "7 1/8" is a European "7." How confusing!
You were fortunate to visit in 2007. Since 2009, strolling privileges have been reduced for tourists and a residence card is needed for some areas of St. James. If you belong to a U.S. club of good reputation, you might have reciprocal privileges that will allow you entrance from the northerly end.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by dopey View Post


You were fortunate to visit in 2007. Since 2009, strolling privileges have been reduced for tourists and a residence card is needed for some areas of St. James. If you belong to a U.S. club of good reputation, you might have reciprocal privileges that will allow you entrance from the northerly end.

Considering this is Britain, I can't tell whether you're serious or not.

post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
As for the Fedora Lounge reference, I love the stuff in that forum but I'm never able to post. I've gone through the password procedure, it comes up I'm a member, but I've also been told I can't post nor will be granted the permission to post because I don't have the proper Internet account. The same thing always comes up. It says "Welcome Lafont" but I cannot post, nor search either, apparently. Snobbish!icon_gu_b_slayer[1].gif (and I can be a snob with the best of them, too....)
post #13 of 17
The rules there require comments on 15 posts (I think 15) before it lets you start a thread.
Keep trying.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
I don't think it lets me post at all. Something about the Internet connection. I don't have my own account - do it on other people's terminals.
post #15 of 17
That's correct - you can post replies but not start a thread until you hit a certain post count. The guys/gals on the Fedora Lounge are some of the nicest folks I've ever had the pleasure of interacting with on the 'Net. Never seen a rude/negative comment there yet!
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