A Fine Man Once Said:

"Part of the 10 million I spent on gambling, part of it on booze, and part of it on women. The rest I spent foolishly."

- George Raft

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

An Uptown Dandy: Felled by Mother Nature

The Uptown Dandy surveys the damage to his palatial estate caused by Hurricane Irene.

Just a quick post to let you all know that I'll resume posting (hopefully) later in the week. Unfortunately, a 150 year old oak fell victim to Hurricane Irene and , on its way down, decided to take several power lines down to the ground with it. As a result, we're still without power  - a situation which we can only hope will be rectified sooner rather than later.

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Harlem Dandy: A Rich History That Encompasses Black Dandyism

The Uptown Dandy and Big Vic circa 1985(?)
Matching boutonnieres and, oh yes, that's a 3-piece suit at around 10 years old.

I'm always slightly annoyed by these articles that crop up periodically that create the false narrative that men's style has been hibernating somewhere in a dormant state, but now, thanks to the efforts of [fill in the name of our new sartorial savior here], style is back. Much like the clockwork-like trumpeting of the return of the doublebreasted or 3-button suit, I often find myself wondering whether I'm 10 years ahead of the curve or 10 years behind it.

[Note: My father has a closet full of guayaberas in a rainbow of colors. Opening his closet door is like entering the Puerto Rican Charvet. This would put him roughly 40 years ahead of said curve.]

Most recently, several people suggested that I read the New York Times article about the Street Etiquette blog. The piece seemed to follow the same narrative mold - burgeoning dandies adrift amongst a sea of unenlightened simpletons.

Now, I have stopped by that blog every now and then. While I'm not as big of a fan of the 1950s prep look (if you don't know by now, I have a soft spot for the golden age of men's clothing: the 1920s and 1930s), I can appreciate the aesthetic, and I certainly have individual clothing items that could be characterized as vintage trad (I recently came across a pristine houndstooth raglan overcoat with huge leather buttons, half-lined, from that long-ago bastion of New York men's clothiers, Rogers Peet). So while I'm not a huge fan, I do like some of the articles of clothing that they choose to focus on, and I must say their photography skills are truly impressive - basically, its a pretty nice site.

While I understand the author's attempt to diagram a linear heritage dating back to Harlem during the 1920s and 1930s as an example of a "black dandyism" that has "run through generations of black American style", this omits so much of what made Harlem unique at that time by simply referring to the Harlem Renaissance - which of course carries with it a decidedly African-American overtone (no one associates Owney Madden with the Harlem Renaissance despite the fact that he owned the Cotton Club - and rightfully so, as the term "Harlem Renaissance" is not meant to include Irish gangsters who doubled as nightclub owners in their spare time).

Precisely because Harlem was a melting pot for sartorial dandies of all ethnicities from all walks of life, particularly the colorful, larger than life racketeers of the era, a more robust discussion would focus on white racketeers like Vincent Coll as well as latinos like Alejandro Pompez, known as El Cubano. Owner of the New York Cubans, a negro league baseball team, Pompez was also one of the more successful policy banker in Harlem. Eventually taken over when Dutch Schultz muscled into Harlem's numbers racket, Pompez was a noted dandy of the era. Always nattily attired, he was subpoenaed to testify at James J. Hines' corruption trial in 1938 and arrived to testify in a white summer suit with matching Panama straw (more on Pompez later).

While the writers and musicians associated with the Harlem Renaissance are no doubt worthy of even sartorial accolades - in the 1920s and 1930s, Harlem was a diverse community in which people of Irish, Jewish, Caribbean, and African-American descent mixed together. As some of the only people with money in their pockets after the Depression settled over the country, the racketeers were actually in a position to indulge their sartorial appetites.

In any event, a great piece for the young men of Street Etiquette. However, let's keep in mind that Harlem's vibrant and robust history of dandyism should not be confined to racial demographics as simplistic as "black" or "white".

Sunday, August 21, 2011

At The Jazz Band Ball

I love the jazz of the Roaring Twenties, but my enjoyment is usually restricted to digitally restored recordings from private collectors and admirers of such stalwarts as Louis Armstrong and Bix Beiderbecke. One rarely hears those old standards of the era performed live, but Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra not only dust off some tunes that I like, but they can handle the standards, the ballads, and the hot jazz with equal aplomb.

Arenella and his band have been hosting the Jazz-Age Lawn Party for 6 years now, and I thought it was high time I made my way out to Governors Island to enjoy a day of hot jazz, cool cocktails, dazzling dandies,  and flirtatious flappers.

I wasn't disappointed. Dressed in a navy blue Borrelli blazer with tan buttons, cream linen slacks, tan socks with light brown polka dots, brown and white Edward Green for RLPL spectators, a light blue shirt with white collar and cuffs shirt from Turnbull and Asser (with matching pocket square from T&A), striped brown/cream/navy blue Luciano Barbera tie, and vintage silver cuff links (with an actual link), I was happily surprised to find that a good portion of the spectators were also done up for the day despite temperatures in the high 80s. Unfortunately, I forgot my vintage Brooks Brothers straw boater in the car, but my Swaine Adeney & Brigg golf umbrella came in handy as the sun settled in over the island.

Michael Aranella and His Dreamland Orchestra in action.
The band was swinging, and the horn player knew his way around a Beiderbecke solo.

You don't often see the action-back jacket anymore, but it's still a sight to see. This jacket had the pleated edge along the shoulder seam and at the bottom along the belted waist, with a center vent between the pleating. I believe the front pockets on the jacket were also center vented.  That is old-school right there. 

A choreographed dance routine highlighting some of the wild dance numbers of the jazz era.

Some of the true-to-the-era outfits on display by some of the spectators.

All in all, it was a wonderful day - the music was great, the vintage dances were fun to watch, and the prohibition-era cocktails were fantastic. I'm already looking forward to next year's party!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Vintage Edward Green for Cole Haan: The Cadogan

Vintage Edward Green Cadogan, made in the mid-to-late 1980s for Cole Haan
(from part one of the vintage Edward Green collection).

I was and still remain a great fan of Elmore Leonard, who came to fame as a writer of westerns before penning such crime fiction classics as Get Shorty, Out of Sight, and Rum Punch (later filmed under the title "Jackie Brown").

One thing that used to confuse me in Leonard's later crime stories was his use of Cole Haan as a signifier of the ostentatiousness of the criminal nouveau riche, be he native to Miami or Detroit. Invariably, Leonard would have his sockless yet suave villain fitted out in a pair of Cole Haan loafers.

At first, I was baffled. By the time I was looking to purchase decent dress shoes, Cole Haan had seized production in the United States and had become a purveyor of the dreaded square-toed glued shoe. In fairness, it should be noted that the company never ceased to produce an appealing version of the saddle shoe with the red rubber sole, which harkened back to Cole Haan's glory days.

In any event, my apologies for ever doubting you, Mr. Leonard. In addition to once producing well-made shoes in the USA, Cole Haan apparently also contracted with the "shoemaker to the discerning few," Edward Green, to provide shoes made in England to its own customers. As you can see, the pristine condition of this pair of shoes almost 25 years after it was produced attests to the high standards and commitment to quality once held by Cole Haan.

Full-Frontal of Edward Green's 33 last. I'm not a big fan of the flat laces,
but I believe those are the original laces from the 1980s.

The shoes were in very good condition when I discovered the pair. There was some minor creasing in the normal places, but the Saphyr Renovateur really revived the leather and eliminated any obvious creasing.

If there was an issue with the shoes, it would be the mild discoloration around the perforations on the medallion. This could just as easily be described by someone else as patina or burnishing. I'm not entirely sure what may have caused that.

Classic broguing from the master, Edward Green.

The soles are stamped "Made in England." The heels appear to be original as well. The wear on the sole and rubber heel counter is pretty mild. The shoes really don't appear to have been worn very much in the last 25 years.

The inner sole stamp reads "Cole Haan - Made in England." I have seen other Edward Green models for Cole Haan where the stamp reads "Edward Green for Cole Haan."
Obviously, these are not quite as easy to spot, so keep your eyes peeled :-)

These pics do look a but blurry to me (some do anyway),
so I may replace one or two in the next few days.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

" . . .the more things stay the same" - Edward Green @ Brooks Bros.

          Several pairs of my vintage Edward Greens were re-badged shoes originally made for Brooks Bros.' (now-defunct) Brooks English and (still-offered) Peal lines in the 1980s. Apparently, after almost 25 years, Edward Green shoes are once again available at Brooks Bros. Well, at the flagship store located at 346 Madison Avenue in New York City, at least. The pairs that I saw on display were not re-badged for Brooks Bros., but this is a minor quibble. The price listed for 4 of the 5 pairs was $1100, with the lovely dark oak Dovers retailing at $1200.

          At the moment, the offerings include a split toe blucher, a monk strap, a full-brogue, a black cap toe, and a brown suede captoe.

          No clue as to whether the shoes will be included in any future promotional sales. One can always hope.

          As always, Edward Greens look exquisite in person.

The Edward Green shoes were featured prominently at the entrance to the men's shoe shop, located on the first floor to the rear (to the right of the escalators) at 346 Madison Avenue.

Edward Green's Dover on the 888 last in exquisite dark oak.
The company's way with a patina is on full display here.

The Inverness in burgundy antique.
Also on the 888 last, the Inverness is not a traditional full-brogue (it is fashioned from fewer pieces of leather), which probably contributes to its overall sleek appearance.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Carmina - The Barcelona Shop

          Having heard rumors that An Uptown Dandy's erstwhile European correspondent Jessie Butler had been sighted several afternoons in a row strolling along Barcelona's Passeig de GrĂ cia with camera in tow, I thought now would be a most opportune time to see if she might drop into the relatively new Carmina shop to snap a few photos and perhaps enquire about the mythical factory store on Mallorca.

          Unfortunately, Mrs. Butler's dance card was more or less booked, due to previously scheduled private tours of the exhibits on display at Gaudi's La Pedrera, tanning sessions at Terragona, and a hike up the pilgrim trail to the Benedectine Abbey at Santa Maria de Montserrat (the latter was the basis for a particularly dastardly prank concerning the aforementioned Mallorca factory).

Our ever-elusive European correspondent originally provided this photo with the caption "View of our approach to Carmina's mythical factory store on Mallorca . . ." Alas, it was not to be - unfortunately for me, it was only a wonderful image of the Benedectine Abbey at Santa Maria de Montserrat.

          I have yet to purchase a pair of the Albaladejo family's shoes; nevertheless the company seems to be doing fine without me and is developing quite a following. The quality of the shoes seems to have improved gradually and is now said to be on par with Grenson's Masterpieces and Crockett & Jones' handgrade offerings; as such, the current pricing is particularly enticing. More impressively, Carmina seems to be threatening to (if it has not already) supplant Alden and Vass as the pre-eminent shell cordovan shoe manufacturer. If I do end up in Spain in October, I plan on getting a closer look at the shoes and perhaps make a purchase or two.

          But enough about me - on to the wonderful images. Many thanks to Ms. Jessie Butler for taking the time to provide so many great photos - there were so many that I'll probably supplement this post in the next few days with additional photos. Enjoy!

Suede offerings from Carmina. The shoe trees look substantive and
the shoe care kit looks equally impressive.

Always a sucker for a well-done spectator - these don't appear to be white suede;
 nevertheless, lovely shoes. Extra points for the wonderful wallpaper!

Floor-to-ceiling Carmina.This sublime image speaks for itself - 
but that Gillie in the bottom left is talking to me. . .

A close-up of the bottom left portion of the image above -
also known as The Uptown Dandy's "Wheelhouse."

After the variety of leather colors available, the rather elegant lasts are the next thing I noticed. Based on the photos, the patina/burnishing isn't as striking as Edward Green or John Lobb's museum calf, but then again, the leather tones are nonetheless impressive and one must remember that these shoes are being offered at a fraction of the price of those higher-end English shoes. 

A close-up of one of the many Carmina offerings:
a plain toe brogue with a nice medallion and adelaide or u-throat.

This model was originally displayed at the 1929 World's Fair and speaks to the company's illustrious history. The image belies the actual dimensions - the shoe is actually about 3 feet long.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

More from Sotheby's Auction Book: The Duke of Windsor Collections

[To see part one on the Sotheby Auction Books for
the Duke and Duchess of Windsor Collections, click here.]

          One could spend weeks flipping through the pages of Sotheby's Auction Book for the Duke & Duchess of Windsor collections. From a historical perspective, the Duke's personal belongings and keepsakes are particularly interesting, as even small family keepsakes have significant historical importance. His wardrobe, however, is equally illuminating for any student of 20th century culture, as the Duke was one of the leading style icons of his day.

Walking sticks/canes acquired by the Duke at various stages of life. Some were gifts from his father and mother, at a time when the item was still a part of a gentleman's wardrobe.

As the Duke traveled the world during the era of luxury steamships and sleeping train cars, his collection of luxury steamers and trunks appears to have been extensive. This particular lot included several large Goyard suitcases and other exquisite leather pieces. The second piece from the top left, Lot #3251, was an attache case of tan hide from Davies, London, circa 1950s.


As one can see from the numbers in the photo below, the Duke must have traveled with a quite an impressive set of Goyard suitcases. Surprisingly, the lot had a price of $1000-1500 listed next to it - I wasn't sure if this was the price that Sotheby's expected each case to sell for, or whether $1000-1500 was the expected price for this entire lot. It seems like a very reasonable price, bordering on "bargain basement deal" territory if that is in fact the case, considering the particular provenance and general high quality of these suitcases. This particular set, Lot #3254, was comprised of a  Goyard suitcase, a shirt case, and a shoe case, circa 1940s.


Top right: A gentleman's fitted toilet case from Cartier, France, circa 1930s, with a luggage tag dating from the period when the Duke served as Governor of the Bahamas.

Top left and bottom left: Fitted kit bag and fitted toilet case from
T. Anthony of New York, circa 1950s.


For me, it all comes back to the wardrobe. One can still learn quite a bit from the Duke's choices of color, texture, and fabric.

The Duke of Windsor's dressing room at his Paris residence.

The Prince of Wales at the Brigade of Guards point-to-point meeting, 1928. The check overcoat was listed in lot 2862. It was unclear whether the lot included what appears to be the matching cap.

          Despite the fact that Sotheby's auction of the Private and Public collections of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor took place almost 15 years ago, the auction book is an invaluable resource for anyone looking to draw inspiration from one of the great dandy's of the 20th century.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Quintessential Business Shoe? John Lobb's City II

A close-up of the understated elegance of the leather stitching on John Lobb's
quintessential conservative business dress shoe, The City II.

          I've been on something of a vintage Edward Green kick lately, which you've probably picked up on if you've been dropping by An Uptown Dandy the last few weeks. Although Edward Green's are probably my favorite manufacturer of ready-to-wear English-made shoes - because of (in my opinion) the lasts, the exquisite antiquing and burnishing on every shade of brown that the company produces, and of course their often sublime broguing, John Lobb has a loyal following for many of the same reasons.

          Lobb enthusiasts swear by the 7000 last and their "museum" calf offerings, and I long ago became an ardent admirer of both (see my previous post on the John Lobb 2008 here). While my understanding is that the company has recently switched from production of the "museum" calf to a "misty" calf with the same something of the same antiquing qualities on display, you can still find some of Lobb's classic models in the old "museum" calf leather.

          Shoe enthusiasts will debate which Lobb offering is the quintessential conservative dress shoe: the Phillip II or the City II, the only real difference between the two being the Phillip's broguing at the toe cap and along the five-eyelets. Obviously, one can hardly go wrong with either, but if you're looking for an elegant shoe with sleek lines and no broguing, the City II is truly a shoe without peers. Accept no substitute.

          At the time I purchased this pair, I had only recently picked up a pair of John Lobb Tudors, a chelsea boot, in parisian brown museum calf. I was leaning towards the City II in either a dark or light brown - with the recent acquisition of the Tudor in Parisian Brown ultimately pushing me towards the City II in a lighter shade of brown. I eventually came across a museum calf in a chestnut-type of shade called "new gold museum calf."

          To put it simply, museum calf is really something that one needs to see in person to fully appreciate. I've tried to capture the "liveliness" of the leather attained by virtue of the museum calf's "mottled" color, but I'm sure my photos don't do it justice. What I've really come to appreciate is the juxtaposition of the classic styling of the City II with the energetic tone of the new gold museum calf. In my opinion, the same shoe in dark brown museum calf or parisian brown is quite conservative. But I like that the gold museum color succeeds at spicing things up a little - of course, sticklers to the rules of traditional business dress would argue that the color renders these shoes inappropriate for business. And, traditionally speaking, they are probably right. However, in this age of business casual and dressing down at almost any social event, I'm sure I'll be able to find enough events to keep these shoes in circulation.

A view from the front: The City II with a single sole,
although there isn't much waist suppression to speak of.

More understated elegance: The stitching above the back quarter.

The sole of the City II: channelled soles with the inimitable "JL" rubber heel design. The waist is slightly bevelled, although prestige line shoes clearly have more of a bevelled waist.

          John Lobb's City II: regardless of your choice of leather color, any aspiring shoe connoisseur and uptown dandy should have a pair in his collection.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"Ruminations on Small Objects": Tender Buttons

Tender Buttons: the name of the shop is borrowed from a
Gertrude Stein piece first published in 1914.

          I recently purchased a three-button navy Borrelli jacket and was forced to come to the realization that I'm awash in navy blazers/sports jackets at the moment. In addition to the traditional navy blazer with gold buttons, I have two other navy jackets - unfortunately (to my eye anyway), each of these jackets have dull blue or blue/black buttons. I have been thinking about adding a lighter brown or English horn buttons to a navy jacket for some time now ( a la Brunello Cucinelli) for two reasons: (1) to give the jacket a more casual look and (2) to have a navy jacket with a splash of color to match the tan slacks and brown shoes that I generally like to wear.

          With that in mind, it seemed like a great time to drop by Tender Buttons, a pleasant little shop on 62nd between Third and Lexington avenues devoted entirely to buttons of all shapes and sizes.  The walls on one side are literally lined with contemporary designs while the other wall has vintage and antique sets.

          I had originally thought that English horn buttons in a lighter color might work best, but I didn't really like how the colors were working together once I saw them in person.  I then started looking more closely at some of the lighter (almost what I would call a caramel) shades of brown. I eventually settled on a set of very light brown buttons with what appears to be a wood-like texture or finish that should succeed in livening things up a bit. I dropped the jacket off at the tailor to have the buttons put on but will be sure to post pics when I get it back!

          So, if you happen to be roaming around on the East Side in need of a little something to pass the time or something to spruce up an otherwise stuffy Navy jacket, more than likely Tender Buttons will have something along the lines of what you're looking for.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Shoe Connoisseur

The Uptown Dandy, at home in his natural habitat amongst brown Edward Green shoes.

          One of the things I like most about the Men's Ex high-end shoe volumes are the various sections of the magazine focusing on shoe connoisseurs from around the globe. Usually, the gentlemen strike a pose and stare in an almost bemused fashion into the camera, surrounded by their most beloved footwear.

A typical Men's Ex full-page splash from the World of High-End Men's Shoes Vol. 4 -  
featuring connoisseur and collection.

          In reality, since my Japanese is not what it used to be, I have no idea what's going on. I like to think the gentleman is being featured because of his comprehensive collection of exotic leather footwear and natty fashion sense. Most likely, they're all salesmen from a  high end men's haberdashery. The photo above could very well be that of a man gracious enough to have donated his shoes to The Salvation Army or Goodwill, for all I know.

          Whatever the case may be, I was inspired to take a couple of extra pictures while I had my first group of vintage Edward Green shoes on the table and ready for their close-ups last weekend. As the theme was "shoe dandy in repose" (with friends, of course), I thought these images captured the spirit of the Men's Ex spreads (if not the professional quality of the photographs themselves).

The Uptown Dandy strikes a pose: light brown glen plaid suit with baby-blue
window pane double-breasted suit for Dunhill (by Zegna);
Charvet MTO shirt, Borrelli 7-fold tie, Alfred Dunhill sterling silver cufflinks, Edward Green Falkirks.

Also, to the right, a teaser for part two of the vintage Edward Green collection.

This post was done only half in jest.
One of my goals has always been a  one-page spread in Men's Ex.
The World of High-End Shoes Vol. 5 is not even necessary - the regular monthly edition will suffice :-)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Shop Around The Corner: J.J. Hatters

J.J Hat Center: Fedoras A-Plenty

          My father, the original Uptown Dandy, has been wearing eight-piece pie caps (or newsboys or Gatsby's) for as long as I can remember. His charcoal cap was looking a little rough around the edges, so I gave him a gift certificate at Christmas for the J.J. Hat Center on Fifth Avenue at 32nd street. He finally decided that he wanted to take advantage of the certificate, so we dropped into the shop.

The window display at J.J. Hat Center - Borsalino

A close-up of some of the summer hats in the window display.

          The old man has a habit of looking around when we enter men's clothing stores and mumbling something like, "I think this place used to be around the corner," or "I used to work here in high-school." But enough of these comments have been confirmed through so many interesting conversations that none of this surprises me anymore.

          A few years ago, we walked into Paul Stuart and he started telling the salesman how the store was configured in 1960. The gentleman called over another man who appeared to be the elder statesman  of the sales force at Paul Stuart. He proceeded to quiz my father on a variety of questions, including which department he worked in (men's custom made shirts), where it was located (second floor balcony), and who ran the department (I don't recall the name, but the name my father gave passed muster). Having established his credentials, they continued to chat amiably for another 30 minutes.

          The same thing happened when we dropped into Eisenberg & Eisenberg on 17th street near Union Square. I was there to pick up a rental tux (for the wedding party) - I happened to be with my father at the allotted pick-up time, and as I was waiting for the suit to be brought out from the back, my father casually mentions that he used to work for such-and-such Eisenberg in the 10th floor showroom around the corner on Fifth Avenue. The man behind the counter was the nephew of the long-ago Eisenberg who gave my father his first job in a men's tailoring shop. My father actually thanked the nephew for the good turn his uncle did by hiring a Puerto Rican from the Bronx at a time when he was having trouble finding any kind of job downtown, and he went on about what good men both uncles who ran the shop at the time were to him. The current Mr. Eisenberg actually got a bit choked up.

          The point of all this is that (a) the man knows something about clothes, and (b) I don't discount any of his past experiences. Of course, he still insists that he once assisted one of the owners of a small but exclusive men's haberdashery, named Mr. Grey, in waiting on the Duke of Windsor. "Assisted the owner . . ." But then again, who would make up such a thing? Only a dandy, I would think.

          In any event, as my father was looking at the fedoras and summer straw hats, he mentioned to the salesman that he remembered being in a shop like this 40 or 50 years ago, but as he remembered it, that shop was around the corner. To which the salesman replied that J.J. Hatters had only been at the current location for about twenty years. Prior to that, the store actually was located around the corner, from its founding in 1911 to the time that it moved. Needless to say, I was probably more surprised to hear that my father had not been in fact also been employed there at one time or another.

          I'm not sure what kind of experience my father had in the shop 40 years ago, but today's shop is truly a pleasure to visit. The staff is knowledgeable, helpful, patient, and extremely courteous.  My father decided to come back in the winter for wool eight-piece pie caps (although they had plenty), and instead focus on summer straws and fedoras.

The wool caps: maybe next time.

          The Borsalino straw hats are lovely. The weaves look well-done, and the vibrant  ribbon colors really add something to the overall effect of the hat. My father picked out a nice one with a brown/tan ribbon with a yellow diamond pattern running around the center. Hats generally look good on him, so he probably could not make a bad choice anyway - he had the brim up at one point and it looked just as good as when the front was snapped down.

A wall of Borsalino summer hats

A case full of panamas and bow ties - a nice combination.

          You cannot walk around the hat center without coming face to face with the wall of Borsalino fedoras. Most people would have a hard time not picking up one of those beauties, but when the salesman mentioned that they also stocked Stetsons, I knew we were not leaving without a wide-brim fedora or two. Let's just say that Stetson must have made quite an impression on my father in his younger days. He holds them in high regard, and left with a dark grey wide-brim model that looked magnificent.

The Borsalino Fedoras - they look good to me. But someone had to mention Stetson. . .

          At this point, I should also point out that, despite continued reports of the demise of the hat, the shop was pretty crowded for a weekday afternoon. Even more surprisingly, most of the customers were women. From what I could see, they appeared to be purchasing straw Borsalinos in navy blue and other colors. There were men in the store as well, but I would say that most of the purchases were being made by older gentlemen who are just more used to wearing headwear.

My father tries on the Stetson. My mother walked in with her own. . .

          So we ended up leaving with the tan Borsalino (on the counter in the foreground in the image above) and a grey felt Stetson fedora (that you can see on my father's head, also in the image above).  I would recommend J.J. Hat Center to anyone looking to try on a wide variety of styles before making a purchase decision. In my opinion, you can also expect honest professional advice on which style will suit you best.