Yes, you should go to a hat store in NYC—judging by all the fedoras in Brooklyn, hats are making quite the comeback. No longer relics found at vintage clothing stores, hats have recently been one of the most popular articles of clothing found at a little thing called New York Fashion Week. Whether you want something interesting to perch on your head or something you’d be more likely to find at costume rental stores, these are the best places to cop your cap in New York City.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to shopping in NYC
Best hat stores in NYC
Founded during the roar of the 1920s Jazz Age, Worth & Worth is among the very last custom hat makers in the U.S. (there were precisely three at last count). These outfitters will hand-make whatever kind of cap you can conjure up, and they regularly perform delicate and deft repairs.
The 15-year-old shop has a very old-fashioned feeling to it, with chandeliers, golden lighting and antique-y furniture. The majority of the men’s and women’s hats are handmade in the store, but milliner/owner Feinman rounds out that collection with a few manufactured lines. Prices range from $195–$400 for blocked hats to $200–$400 for dressier evening and cocktail hats. “I use a lot of antique findings in my hats, like vintage one-of-a-kind buckles and ribbons,” says Feinman. “When I say that the elements in a hat are exclusive to that hat, it’s really true. When it’s gone, it’s gone.”
Milliners Guild founder Linda Pagan opened this shop 18 years ago, and stocks her own designs, as well as though by Tracy Watts, Heather Huey, Jill Courtemanche, and Cha-Cha’s House of Ill Repute. Most of the inventory is priced between $158–$350, says Pagan, though “you can also buy a $20 beret or a $900 Kentucky Derby–style hat.” The clientele is mostly female, but Pagan boasts of an ever-loyal male customer base.
No one knows more about hats than the men at New York’s oldest chapeau shop, where you’ll find classy gents outfitted in berets ($25–$110), fedoras ($50–$625), newsboy caps ($30–$225), rain hats ($50–$125) and porkpies ($50–$200), the flat-brimmed toppers made popular by jazz musicians. Around since 1911, the wood-paneled store feels entirely masculine, like a place Don Draper would frequent, but ladies are welcome and encouraged to try out the unisex offerings, including 100 percent wool berets ($25) and straw panama-style hats with striped bands ($150). Since prices can go as steep as $625 for Italian fur-felt fedoras, the spot-on sales team will teach you how to care for your new headgear (keep it away from heat and brush it counterclockwise), so that it’s sure to last you for years to come.
Leah Chalfen prides herself on the one-of-a-kind pieces she creates in her private studio (she operates by appointment only). She specializes in bridal, black tie and cocktail hats, which often feature intricate feather work, detailed trim techniques, silk veilings and vintage elements. Although Chalfen’s hats range from $250–$1,250, the average price hovers in the $325–$525 ballpark.
Suzanne Newman’s Upper East Side showroom and atelier has been kicking around for a quarter of a century. Known for extreme and unusual women’s hats, her custom-made creations start around $400 and can reach into the thousands, especially when Kentucky Derby season rolls around. Well-known among New York society, she’s also made pieces for Beyoncé and Tina Knowles, Kate Hudson, Goldie Hawn and several royals.
Ellen Colon-Lugo has a flair for creating ornate headpieces: Says the milliner, “Something different to me means a patent-leather orchid sitting in the middle of some lime-green fur fashioned as a cocktail hat.” Her “jewel box of a shop” opened in 1995, where in addition to creating the bestselling fur hats ($450-$950) and fur felt cloches ($245) that fly off her shelves each season, she has fashioned hats for such runway shows as 3.1 Phillip Lim, Jil Stuart and United Bamboo.