The last thing I bought from London’s Clutch Cafe was a hat. Built from thick ecru cotton, it’s a thing of beauty — generous floppy brim, robust neck cord, leather detail: the quality is superb. The only problem is the brand name: Mr Fatman. I never want to say Mr Fatman out loud. If anyone asks where I got my hat, I say, “Clutch Cafe.” Not Mr Fatman. Never Mr Fatman. For a dude with a committed relationship with family-sized bars of Dairy Milk, it’d be asking for trouble.
Regardless of Clutch Cafe’s passion for oddly titled Japanese brands, it remains a top destination for those with an appetite for millinery. There are two total weapons in store right now. Both will lobotomise your wallet. And both go super-heavy on the boro/sashiko. The ignorant will assume you found your hat in a skip. But you’ll know you paid a fortune. Who’s laughing now?
This one is by The Factory Made and it’s deadly. Anyone frightened by Engineered Garments irregular bucket hats, might want to look away. This is a giant cotton tulip. Remember the helmeted bloke who fires the lasers on the Death Star? This is what he’d wear to the Imperial disco.
It’s difficult to image how this might sit on the head. Would a more defined brim form, or would it keep it’s shape and just hang down? I suspect the latter. The fabric looks lovely and thick, I just wonder if they’d be much give, much of an opportunity to try and shape it a bit. Perhaps it’d soften through wear and washing.
I should mention that it’s reversible. You’ve got the robust sashiko side and on the reverse a softer looking cotton print. I’d go sashiko-up all day every day. Assuming I could somehow tame the shape of the thing.
This number from Kuon arguably offers an easier wear. The shape is all there, ready for action out the box. Clearly we’re in boro territory — an anarchy of shapes, fabrics, rips and stitches. It’s lived many lives, or at least it looks like it has. It’s ideal for adding a spot of haggard glamour to an all navy fit. I’ve always loved the juxtaposition between the crumpled, but still sharp formality of a casual blazer and shirt and a frazzled piece like this. It’s that Popeye Doyle thing. Sort of smart, but oozing with confident idiosyncrasies.
Inspiration-wise we’re talking 1930’s bucket hats. According to the Clutch Cafe write-up, the brim is slightly elongated. Although it doesn’t look especially long to me. Rather it looks easily wearable and, assuming you’ve got the stomach for full-boro, the only thing standing in the way of ownership is the size of your purse.
Speaking of which, neither of these hats are cheap. I won’t spoil the misery here, go and have a look if you’re feeling bold. That said, they are (eye-rolling fashion expression incoming) investment pieces. If you’re committed to the look, either will give you years of service.
Personally, I want to be the kind of man who can harness the power of The Factory Made monster. I’m just not sure the best accessory for a tulip head is an expanding protuberance full of Cadbury’s finest.