Hat Honcho Ben Goorin on Summer’s Must-Have Accessory
Ever since Goorin Bros. hat boutique set up shop on L.A.’s Larchmont Boulevard (a charming walker-friendly thoroughfare known for its boutiques, yoga studios, coffee houses and farmers’ market), it’s been attracting in-the-know gents who stop in to buy fedoras, flat caps and other toppers.
The first Goorin hat was sold off a horse-cart in Philly, but they eventually set up roots on the left coast, in San Francisco’s quirky North Beach neighborhood. Operating since 1949, the Goorin Bros. flagship has been an indispensable shopping spot for guys and girls alike. So when the company expanded to include locations nationwide, including spots from Seattle to Nashville to East Coast spots in the West Village and Harvard Square, it meant everyone could get their hands on a classic hat.
With the warming weather and re-emergence of Mid-century staples and classic menswear pieces, it’s the perfect time to engage your inner gentleman. So, we went to Ben Goorin — a fourth-generation hatter at the family business — to wrap our heads around the best way for a regular guy to make a statement with a hat and not look a chump.
FTD: Hats are back in a big way. What do you think influenced their return?
BG: Classic dress from the 1920s, ’30s and ’40s. People are nostalgic for an earlier time in American history.
FTD: What are some hats every guy should have this spring/summer?
BG: Wide brim Panama Straws. These hats are hand woven in Ecuador and are very special. Also flat caps, or Ivys as they are sometimes called, are easy to wear every day and put you in style.
FTD: OK, so we’re in a shop and we’re looking for a hat, what’s the process?
BG: Make sure it fits right. Try several styles to find one that fits your head shape best. Once you have the right fit, it’s simply a matter of confidence to show the world you can, in fact, pull it off…[and] keep it on because it sets you apart from the crowd.
FTD: As a fourth-generation Goorin, you probably had no trouble wearing hats, but not everyone grew up around them the way you did. What advice do yo have for guys purchasing their very first hat?
BG: Make sure the person helping you gives you honest advice. In our hat shops, our merchants fit people in hats hundred of times every week. It’s what we do. You can also bring a friend in who knows you. But if you love a hat, dont listen to anyone but yourself. It’s your chance to be who you are.
FTD: What are your go-to hat styles?
BG: Our heritage fedoras in felt. Simple and classic, very well made in America. You can wear them with jeans or in a suit.