The Lure of the Borsalino at JJ Hat Center

Acquiring crushable felt Borsalinos can become borderline addictive. A few Saturdays ago my friend Randy Goldberg and I stopped into JJ Hat Center, a New York institution for hat buying. I was just going along for the ride because Randy wanted to go to replace a lost Borsalino (which was swallowed by an NYC taxi) not at all intending to buy anything. After about 45 minutes, I walked out with a simple Italian-made felt hat that will last a lifetime (if cared for properly).

That’s how things just seem to go at JJ Hat Center – once you are there it is hard to resist all of the finely made hats. Next time you are on Fifth Ave (between 31st & 32nd streets) stop in and see if you can avoid the lure of the Borsalino.

Comments on “The Lure of the Borsalino at JJ Hat Center

    israel on December 16, 2011 5:57 AM:

    good shop, a paradise for those who love the clothes head, I know this store, but you should see Venezia borsalino branch, has up motorcycle helmets

    Fred H. on December 16, 2011 7:02 AM:

    Borsalino is a GREAT current brand. I have a couple of custom felts from Art Fawcett (Vintage Silhouettes) and a 1920s Stetson. You either “get” classic fur felt hats or you don’t. I’m one of the go-getters! Congrats for joining the scrum, Michael.

    Makaga on December 16, 2011 9:09 AM:

    I love J.J.! They are always really friendly and helpful, and have helped me with the weird hats that I have brought in. Please post pictures of yourself in your new hat, Michael.

    Ryan on December 16, 2011 11:20 AM:

    So what style did ACL land on?

    JES on December 16, 2011 11:52 AM:

    Love them, and they’re still family-owned. Congrats!

    Martin Dingman on December 16, 2011 12:23 PM:

    A tip of the hat to Borsalino (ha ha), a personal favorite!

    halberstram on December 16, 2011 2:17 PM:

    favorite borsalino is alain delon

    Frankie on December 16, 2011 2:57 PM:

    It is refreshing and heartening to see such wonderful traditional skills wonderfully alive. Will definitely check out Borsalinos when I am in New York next.


    Todd Colby on December 17, 2011 7:49 AM:

    Best hat shop, period.

    Common Boston Gentleman on December 17, 2011 9:24 AM:

    Arguably my favorite window display of all time. Fine stuff!

    maria lucia on December 18, 2011 8:49 AM:

    if you want to look silly buy a borsalino u will instantly become a figure of idiocy, an acceptable hat is a trilby

    maria lucia on December 18, 2011 8:54 AM:

    a good alternative is the bogart on sale in monza
    Cappello Bogart Melegari , see the site but rule is dont but borsalinos thet are either godfather wannabees, queens or baldo-s

    reynolds on December 18, 2011 9:12 AM:

    this place is great to wander in and look at, but men wearing a hat in this day and age (unless they are over 60) seem to look every bit a fool. i am not only talking about the fedora that was in style a while back, but in general- a hat looks strangely dated and inappropriate for males (and does not balance what they are wearing). as for baseball caps, those are just stupid.

    Mike V. on December 18, 2011 5:49 PM:

    Odd comment above about hats. What do you mean “this day and age”? And the age cut off is 60? Why 60? Why not 65? Or 55?
    Hats are great, and often serve a functional purpose – like keeping your head warm. And if you’re going to wear one, you may as well make it nice.

    DEEPO on December 18, 2011 7:14 PM:

    In addition to keeping your head warm in winter, hats to have a useful function providing some face protection from strong sun.

    MR on December 19, 2011 12:00 AM:

    … you forgot to mention that JJ Hat Center will clean , steam , block , ect . , for no charge , any hat bought here , for life !
    I was unawares of this service until one winters day while looking for a replacement for the beat up JJ bought hat I was wearing ,one of the gents said gimmie that hat .
    Well , they lost that particular sale but made a customer for life .

    Tim on December 20, 2011 10:57 AM:

    I bought a wool ‘baker boy’ there a few weeks ago. Staff is well-educated (and well-dressed) serving a diverse clientelle. There were men from 70 to 20 in the store, all buying. In a city like NY, there will always be well-dressed men, and men who want to express themselves and their style with a great hat. If you can carry it off, a hat is never out of style.

    Sven Raphael Schneider on December 20, 2011 12:43 PM:

    Very nice report! Next time I am in New York I have to pay them a visit.
    Do they make custom hats like Optimo Hats from Chicago?

    KK on December 20, 2011 2:50 PM:

    Pretty sure JJ is a shop that will clean, block, maybe replace a ribbon – they don’t make new hats from scratch.
    Style specifics aside, a full brimmed hat like a fedora is great to have if you actually spend time outdoors.

    Sven Raphael Schneider on December 20, 2011 8:06 PM:

    Thanks for letting me know! I’ll drop by anyways.

    JB on December 27, 2011 11:36 AM:

    I’m reminded of The Hattery “Kelly Crowns them All” in Akron, Ohio.

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