I had a hopeful thought that hipsters were going to repopularize the wearing of fedoras but that trend seems to have fallen by the wayside with the beanies and beards crowd. Pity, because for bald men hats are a necessity not just a fashion statement, and the ubiquitous baseball cap just doesn’t serve in a more formal setting – like anything but playing sports.
Fortunately, there are still some companies making fashionable hats for men and producing the variety called for by the demands of style and situation. There are of course the old standards like Stetson and Country Gentleman, but there are also trendier options like Ben Sherman and Daniel Cremieux. Cremieux stands out as producing the largest line of fashion hats for men on a seasonal basis, exclusively available in the US through Dillards department stores and in their two proprietary showrooms in New York City and Palm Beach.
While other manufacturers only have a few new hats a season, or stick to old standards, Cremieux produces dozens a year with an astonishing variety of materials and designs. Cremieux is a 50 year old French fashion company basically created as a competitor to Ralph Lauren with a bit of a European flair and apparently determined to outdo them in every way. Lauren comes out with a couple of hats a season, so Cremieux comes out with dozens and sells them at a lower price.
To the left you can see a selection of their hats for the Summer season of this year and above and to the right you can see some of their fall selection. As you would expect, the summer hats are in light colors and lightweight fabrics, straw or the new synthetic paper that substitutes for straw. Except for the genuine straw hats they are designed to retain their shape and be remarkably durable. The fall hats are in heavier, darker materials, some with subtle patterns and textures including tweeds and velvet like fabrics. They are mostly polyester and resistant to crushing and weather. I suspect you could even wash them but wouldn’t recommend it.
Stephane Crémieux (son of the eponymous founder) and his design team seem to be relentlessly creative and they have come out with a very nice selection of hats for the late fall or winter season as well.
All of these follow their standard shape for a fedora with a snap brim and a relatively low rise above the head plus a decorative hatband. For winter they have a couple of nice dark tweeds with suede-like hatbands (to the right), two dark felt styles, one black with a plaid hatband and one gray with a fancy patterned hatband (to the left and below).
I can’t be absolutely sure but I think the two felt hats (and certainly the black one) follow a slightly more traditional fedora pattern with a somewhat deeper crease in the crown of the hat, and a crown which is a little higher.
These fall and winter hats are nice designs, but unlike many of the summer styles they are probably not washable or crushable except maybe the felt styles.
For me, the star of the collection is the one real fashion-statement hat they offer, a very stylish gray canvas hat with a formal looking black and gray hatbandwith a bow on it. The fabric is patterned with little fleurs de lys and the effect is quite striking for anyone bold enough to wear it. This is a very similar design to a hat they released last winter in blue with a fleur de lys pattern. The canvas hats should definitely be treated gently. Their brims tend to lose their rigidity if overused and you certainly don’t want to get them wet.
So there’s a look at a great line of hats for the fall and winter. They are priced around $35, but Dillards starts discounting them well before the season is over and they’ll still look great next year too. They only come in two sizes (S/M and L/XL) and there is some variation, so make sure you try them on before buying – you don’t need a dressing room to try on hats. And lest I forget, Cremieux also has a line of very nice selection of flat caps which I will cover in a later article.