If you're one of those fashionable guys who grimaces at the thought of slipping on a baseball cap, you're in luck. The Borsalino hat, namesake of Giuseppe Borsalino, who introduced his artisan hat shop in Italy back in 1857, has made a welcome comeback, in or out of the sun.
Back in the town of Alessandria, Mr. Borsalino drew from the finest traditions of European hat-making to create his popular brand. His hand-crafted felt hats were an elegant and genre-defining take on the popular fedora style (which has come to be associated almost exclusively with Borsalino). Hat connoisseurs took notice, and the tiny company's reputation blossomed. They also began using a few materials in addition to felt, most famously straw and cloth, which lead to the crisp, cool styles well-dressed fellas are sporting again today.
Until 1986, when the factory moved to a more modern space also in Alessandria, all of the production was still being carried out in the same space. Over the last decade, however, production has understandably taken a rather depressing drop, mainly because the hat has ceased to be an essential component of a gent's everyday dress (back in the day, though, being seen without one was worse than wearing socks with your sandals). Today, that sexy Borsalino is synonymous with the fedora style that will forever epitomize Southern European charm and joie de vivre. Many still believe the Borsalino to be the finest hat made in the world, and, when worn with the right suit - and at just the right angle - it can still turn heads.
Unworn '40s hats from D / L Cerney, 13 East 7th Street, 212-673-7033.
Sharp chapeaus aren't just for the Dandy anymore -- It's time to tip your hat to the return of the Borsalino.