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

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Rollin' with the Long-Hair Felt: The Vintage Borsalino Fedora

I've put together a decent collection of panama hats, straw boaters, and linen caps over time. Surprisingly, though, I hadn't picked up any felt or fur fedoras for the cooler weather. Perhaps because my father always had on a newsboy or eight-piece pie cap, I tend to wear a variety of cashmere and woolen caps to work and on the weekends. And while I generally enjoy perusing the variety of offerings on display at a place like J&J Hatters in New York City, more recently I've found myself looking into vintage fedoras.

Headwear seems to be one of the few categories of menswear where most people seem to acknowledge the superior quality of vintage items. Also, when looking at modern stock, I tended to find the crowns were less pronounced than I think I would prefer (I'm sure this is something that wouldn't be a problem if I went with a custom order). At the same time, the felt on "ready-to-wear"fedoras does not seem to be very substantive (again, this is probably something that could be addressed with a custom order).

So, when I came across what appeared to be deadstock vintage Borsalino fedoras in what appeared to be a lusciously thick, long-hair felt in a beautiful whiskey or camel color, I took the plunge. I'm by no means a fedora expert by any stretch of the imagination. but I was pleased with my acquisition. The felt is really exquisite, and the crown is quite high (about 4.5 inches) and pinched in a way that reminds me of something George Raft would have worn in The Glass Key.

I'm not sure that I'll ever use the wind trolley, but its a wonderful little detail which I believe Borsalino included with models intended for the US market, This particular model was made by Borsalino for a Chicago haberdasher named Thomas & Moore which I believe is no longer in existence. Someone with more expertise than I could probably date the fedora based on the model information inside the sweatband (it appears to be a late '60s/early '70s model), but I would love to hear from anyone who knows more about the store.

With temperatures pushing into the 30s and 40s (degrees fahrenheit) here on the East Coast, I'm looking forward to putting this long-haired felt fedora to good use in the weeks ahead!


  1. A most excellent fedora! Terribly envious here, but enjoy wearing it just the same.

    Best Regards,

    Heinz-Ulrich von B.