High quality English hats in San Francisco (credit: Laurie Jo Miller Farr)
Hats define the moment and the mood. In California wine country, the Ecuadorian Panama is ubiquitous and useful. Although it was a modern cultural statement when JFK took the presidential oath bareheaded, the cycles of fashion have re-ushered the hat back onto our collective heads. Get your noggin outfitted with hats from these Bay Area shops.
Giants Dugout Store at AT&T Park
24 Willie Mays Plaza
San Francisco, CA 94107
There’s nowhere better than AT&T Park to buy a San Francisco Giants cap. Open every day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the headquarters store is especially busy starting 90 minutes before a game, but it does stay open for an hour after the game, too. Choose from 25 variations including Nike, New Era and 47Brand, a licensed partner of MLB. Most popular is the on-field authentic cap by New Era that the players wear. The second best seller is the on-field alternative with an orange bill, worn by the players on Sundays. The store is packed with hundreds of caps priced $15 to $39 for men, women and children.
1446 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
Wouldn’t it be great if every store offered you an ice cold beer and some popcorn while you shop? One of the city’s finest hat collections has some of the nicest staff with a personal touch that’s a throwback to the 19th century. Established in 1895, San Francisco is the proud home to this the fourth-generation family-owned hat maker. It certainly knows about hats of all shapes and styles, what looks best and how to care for your purchase. Take a step into gentler days when you shop the men’s and women’s vintage-inspired collection near the corner of Haight and Ashbury, in Union Square, in Berkeley or at the flagship store in North Beach.
6525 Washington St.
Yountville, CA 94599
Elegant without being too formal, handwoven straw hats are a perennial favorite. Just add a glass of wine to complete the look. Handmade in Ecuador, each toquilla hat is woven by a single artisan, and this could be the largest collection in the United States. Choose beige, natural, white, banded, ribboned or felt for winter. Head for Napa or browse the terrific website where you can shop online and have the perfect choice shipped as a gift.
Cable Car Clothiers
110 Sutter St.
San Francisco, CA 94104
Here’s a proper gentleman’s haberdashery, courteously serving well-dressed men of style in its one-stop shop for 75 years. From the extensive fitted hat department, browse the very best quality in Stetsons, tweeds, fedoras, Panamas, newsboy caps and even bowlers. Think Duke of Windsor as you spy the brass plaque that reads Lock & Co., the St. James’ Royal Warrant of Appointment hatter founded in 1676. This is the closest Union Square can come to the shopping arcades of London’s Jermyn Street.
450 Stanford Shopping Center
Palo Alto, CA 94304
If the clothes make the man, as the saying goes, then Wilkes Bashford is right. The vision behind Union Square’s ground zero for the best dressed men in town, with himself at the top of the list, has been a part of the city’s fabric for nearly half a century. Who says so? The dapper Borsalino fedora-hatted fashionista ex-Mayor WIllie Brown says so. There’s a second location in Palo Alto, in case hoodies give way to homburgs.
Decades of Fashion
1653 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
Nothing here is new and nothing here is two of a kind. Name the occasion or name your decade, from the 1880s to the 1980s. Go Victorian, Edwardian, Roaring 20s, Fabulous 40s or Swinging 60s. Above the rails of dresses and shoes, there are loads of hats. Find especially wonderful vintage choices for the ladies, who can probably find white gloves to complete a “Downton Abbey” dowager look to rival Dame Maggie Smith.
Oakland, CA 94612
Specializing in dress hats and fedoras, The Hat Guys have been selling hats, just hats, since 1988. The staff tells you how to measure for your perfectly fitted hat, and the shop stocks XXL and up to size 8-1/4 inch in its inventory of 22,000 hats. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, just talk to The Hat Guys, largest on the West Coast. This spot has Pork Pie, Dobbs, Tilley, Biltmore, Lagomorsino derby hats, Henschel leather hats, Scala Fedora and thousands more. Change your look anytime.