This Town Needs A Good Haberdasher

The current issue of Forbes Life has an article about a Manhattan hat store:

This is such a dead art that all of the people who know how to do it are actually dead,” jokes Ryan Wilde, the director of millinery at New York’s historic J.J. Hat Center, as she adjusts a bright orange fedora. “There’s no one to ask.”

But as the 34-year-old Wilde explains it, that’s half the fun of her work. Her decadelong career has been filled with experimentation and boundary pushing. “I love when a client walks in here and they’re like, “What can we do?’ ” she says. “ I like making it happen. I like challenging myself. I like being afraid to make something.”

The online article doesn’t include the photos that the magazine does, but, Heavens to Betsy, it almost makes me wish I lived in NYC just so I could go to that hat store.

Here in the Midwest, hat stores are pretty rare; there’s one I visited in Kansas City last year that’s good, and Donge’s used to be good in Milwaukee before it closed up.

I’m sure I have previously noted I’ll buy shirts off the rack and slacks and jeans from the stack at Walmart without trying them on, but if I get into a hat store, I have to try on pretty much every fedora in the store before selecting one after much consideration.

So perhaps it’s best I generally have to order hats by mail these days. The actual elapsed time including days of reviewing options and several go-rounds of ordering, trying, and returning is probably more efficient than me going into a hat shop and browsing.