Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Sartorial Questions - 2: The elusive Grey Homburg Hat

Q: I spent some time trudging round St James', hoping to buy a light grey Homburg, and all the shops there deny the existence of such a thing. A google search came up with your name. Have you managed to acquire one? (John, London UK)

A: Yes, I did get a dark grey homburg a couple of years ago. Here it is:

It was from America, as I recall (and a little darker grey than the picture shows) - naturally, I swiftly removed the somewhat ostentatious feathers.

You could always try somewhere like eBay for a vintage one (I think that‘s where I got mine from) , but be also aware that American hat sizes are different to UK ones, they are one size up (a UK 6 7/8s equals a US 7, and so on). These days it’s best to stick to the inches or cms measurements.

However, I would recommend: Hornets Hats of 36b Kensington Church Street, London W8 4BX [Tel: 020 7937 9192]. they deal exclusively in Christy’s hats - very good hats at very reasonable prices.

Note: if you visit their site, (about two-thirds down the page), you will see they have put up a photo of what looks like a bowler hat - it‘s not a mistake; it’s actually a Homburg shown “open-crown”, ready for you to bash/style for yourself.

But here you will find your Grey Homburg.

Made to order for £55 and in the following colours:
Black, Navy, Bessemer (Grey), Sable, Elm, Red Wine, Beige, Light Sable, Green mix, Grey Mix, Light Grey, Burma, Brown Mix, Cork, Peatwood and Maize. (You will find the exact colour scheme along the top strip of the page - click on a colour for a larger window).

My advice is to try and visit the Hornets Hats shop first, to check on size for fit and to look at the colour variations at close hand (if they have any available), and then order online [these are made to order anyway; besides they only have a limited selection in their shops]…. Or at the very least contact them online first to discuss your requirements [ ]

When ordering online, the postage will be £7.50 extra (within the UK). While you’re at it, you might as well buy a Christy’s hat box too (it’s worth the £10).

My advice is: once you’ve received your hat, take it along to the shop and they will be happy to shape and fit it for you.

You will also find a Grey Christys Homburg being sold for £64 + postage (£5.95-£7.95) at in Cardiff, Wales [they only sell Black and Grey Homburgs].

…and another UK source for a Christy (The Hat Company), this time for £49.95 (plus £2.95 UK postage; hat box = £9.99):

In all cases, expect a minimum of two weeks from time of order to delivery.

Postscript: Since posting this blog, so taken was I by my own words, I decided I was due a belated Christmas present and have ordered a Light Grey Homburg from Hornets myself. [Perhaps next step, the purple….]

And finally, for your enjoyment, another American Homburg creation (yes, you can actually buy this):

…also available in Pink...

...and in Purple....

...and many other colours...


Ray Frensham said...

From Facebook responses:

Sean Rillo Raczka (London):
Ray, I've got a rather dark grey green German one from the 60s, but it's not quite right shape wise. I intend to get a Christy's grey number soon to add to my black one. I have used The Hat Shop before, they seem to be the cheapest.

Kevan R Matthews (Nottingham, UK)
My grandfather always wore a dark-grey Homburg. I can see him now, in winter, striding through town in his Homburg, long dark-grey Crombie overcoat, silver toped cane and very shiny black-oxford-shoes - ahh, a fond memory.

Michael Ontiveros (Los Angeles, USA): I have one of those...

Timothy Steiner said...

Bravo on the light gray! It is a very sophisticated color.

Jake said...

Lovely, I'm after a homburg myself, although I think I may opt for the more traditional black, so I can wear it with dinner dress. Nevertheless, the light grey is an extremely attractive option.