I visited San Francisco’s oldest haberdashery, Cable Car Clothiers, to meet with the proprietor, Jonathan Levin and to get some tips on men’s hats and hat care. He shared the following based upon the stores 74 years of history in hats and menswear.
- When putting on a hat or adjusting it, handle it by the front and back brim, never by the crown.
- Do not pick up a hat/fedora by the pinch; it will misshape it over time. A straw fedora will crack and a felt hat may split the seam.
- Touch your hat with clean hands; oils from your hands may stain a light hat
- Always hang a hat. If no hook is available store it by inverting it and placing it on its crown. Placing a hat on its brim may flatten or cause a hat to loose its curve, especially if wet.
- Do not leave a hat in a car or in the sun as humidity may cause any hat material to lose shape, shrink or distort.
- Hats of any material may be sensitive to prolonged exposure to direct sunlight causing colors to fade.
- Brush your hat periodically with a soft brush.
When Purchasing A Hat
- Seek out a quality hat store where someone with experience can guide you through the options that most compliment your complexion, shape of your face and needs.
- Look for hats that have a specific size and avoid S, M, L, XL for the best fit and comfort.
- Sizing will vary by manufacturer and even among the same hats. So, don’t rely upon the tag size. Only trying on the hat will assure you of the best possible fit.
By The Way…
Panama hats aren’t made in Panama. When the Panama Canal was being built, this was the most popular style of hat on the project. The name “Panama” thus became forever linked to these hand woven straw hats from Ecuador.
Cable Car Clothiersis located at 110 Sutter Street, Suite 108, San Francisco, CA 94104. Phone 415 397-4740 or you can see a sampling of their hats at www.cablecarclothiers.com
Panama Hat - With San Francisco temperatures in the high 70’s yesterday it was the ideal time to select a hat for Spring and Summer. Like most guys, I have plenty of baseball caps. But, there are times when something a bit more dressy is required and appreciated. I headed over to Cable Car Clothiers to meet owner Jon Levin and peruse the stores extensive inventory of quality hats.
The process of trying on hats is fun and experimental. Yet, when you find the right one, you know it….it just “works”. I settled on this ivory colored (called “bleach”) Ibarra model Stetson. The “skin” is hand woven in Ecuador and the finish work including a partial lining and full leather band is completed in Houston, Tx. The interior proudly says,” John B. Stetson Company, Made In USA, GENUINE PANAMA”.
As I left the store wearing my new hat people looked at me and smiled. A gentleman told me I looked “dapper”, the barber said I was “looking sharp” and the waitress who brought me my gin & tonic said, “I like men in hats”. I think I’m going to enjoy this…