The Hat Shop

The Hat Shop

Photo: The Hat Shop

Neighborhood: SoHo
Type of Place: Hat Shops

Did you know that cigarette holders were invented for women with veils
on their hats? Or that what kind of hat will suit you is based in part
on the circumference of your head? Linda Pagan, owner of Thompson Street's charming and well-curated The Hat Shop, explains that "we sell two
things here: hats made from exquisite materials and everything we know
about them."

The shop has been in this location since 1995 and represents 35
milliners, 95% of whom are in NYC (the hat boxes, too, are made in Brooklyn).
Its offerings tend to range from $150 to $350, with one quarter of its
sales from custom orders and customer service a main priority. As a
result of this focus, word-of-mouth is strong and the shop uses no
advertising budget at all. It does, however, cultivate a lighthearted,
personal atmosphere ("Running a shop is like throwing a party, except you're
not sure exactly who's invited or when they're arriving," says Pagan),
complete with photos of its milliners on display.

With help from Jillian, a sweet-natured (and hat-wearing) shop
assistant, I looked around and admired the wares. A sharp black-and-white
houndstooth fedora was a hugely reasonable $68; a green and copper cloche
with a subtle brim from Abigail Aldridge was $188. I fell totally in love
with a navy blue felt fedora decorated with gold safety pins from Ryan
Wilde ($248); and a beaded cloche from Nini K ($478) demonstrated
beautiful handiwork.

In every detail, you can tell you're dealing with experts here. Pagan
chatted knowingly about what types of hat would (or would not) suit me
as I wandered appreciatively among the creations; their materials are
obviously chosen and assembled with care. How great to know that a place
like this still exists: a hat shop in the grand tradition, featuring
hats raised to the level of art and sellers who know their stuff. Jolie
chapeau, anyone? Now you know where to look.   - Pamela Grossman; Jan 28, 2007

The Hat Shop
120 Thompson St
New York, NY 10012
(212) 219-1445