Shopping for Hats

Vintage white straw and black velvet pillbox hatI’ve often asked where I get my hats. Well, some of my hats I’ve had for more than 15 (or even more than 20!) years. But I do buy several new hats every year. So here’s a list of some places where I’ve gone shopping for some of my more recent hats, vintage and contemporary – along with photos of what I bought there.

I got this mannequin head (I call her Natasha) so I could take pictures of my hats – I didn’t want to be the model for every hat. Frankly, I don’t have much patience to pose in front of the camera for more than 10 minutes (kudos to those who can!).

All Things Vintage – This little shop in Oakland, California (3506 Woodruff St.) sells clothes, accessories, and an amazing array of vintage hats in mint condition. On my first visit there this summer, I tried on numerous hats before I finally narrowed down my selection to a black straw hat with a veil (the one I’m wearing on my About page) and a small velvet hat with a gold pin. Both of the hats were in perfect condition and each one was less than $30 – an excellent price for a vintage hat. On my second visit a couple of months later I couldn’t resist getting this white straw hat with a black velvet accent (above right). I’ve worn both of them a couple of times. I’ll be going back to check out their wool hats soon.

Molded woven hat with brown ribbon
Hats of the Fillmore

Hats of the Fillmore – This San Francisco shop (1539 Fillmore St.) sells a range of reasonably priced contemporary hats for men and women. When I popped into this store last year, I couldn’t resist getting this cute straw hat with grosgrain ribbon (left).

Vintage wool beret from the Vintage Hat Shop
The Vintage Hat Shop

The Vintage Hat Shop – I discovered this Etsy store when I started following it on Twitter (@yesterdayshat) and saw the owner Cindy’s tweets describing the vintage hats she had for sale. I had never purchased a hat online before but I decided to take a chance and get this grey felt beret with a big button on it (see photo below). It was only $18 and I didn’t have to wait very long for it to arrive – just a couple of days.  The hat was carefully wrapped in tissue paper tied with a bow and came with a nice handwritten note. The beret was in excellent condition (yay!). I’m sure it’ll be hard to resist buying more hats from this place.

Urban Outfiters – Yep, this national chain often carries some hip hats – though some of them can be rather cheaply constructed. So you may have to sift through a bunch to find the best one. I’ve had good luck with the wool felt hats though. My most recent purchase was this so-called “5-way” (or was it 6-way?) black wool hat – you can flip the brim all the way up or down or just turn up one side – just the front or the back. I bought a few different ribbons from Britex Fabrics to wear with this chapeau.

Vintage wool shaped hat - reminds me of a Shar-pei dog.

Goodwill in San Francisco– Earlier this year when I was in the Haight, killing some time by window shopping before Amy Chua‘s reading at Booksmith and I spotted this unusual wool hat in the window. It reminded me of a Shar-pei – you know, the dog with all the wrinkles? I haven’t worn it yet but I think it’ll look pretty snazzy with a black jacket and some pants that match the hat’s taupe color.

Shopping for hats in the San Francisco Bay Area - CSews.com