“Okay so, I have an idea…” were the exact words I said to Allon Zloof, milliner and owner of Tom Smarte, about a hat I had in mind. To be fair, I’m surprised he didn’t run for the hills the second I said it.
Jackets and overcoats often take pole position when it comes to statement pieces, but as space in my wardrobe is becoming increasingly limited (more on that later), I couldn’t really justify another “investment”. I was in need, however, of an item of clothing that spoke volumes—an intention of how I plan to take on 2019.
Ever since I first started working with Allon a few years ago, I became more and more intrigued with fedoras and began working them into my outfits. I soon discovered that the beauty of a fedora meant I didn’t have to bother styling my hair every morning. When asked how I curate my wardrobe, it’s pretty simple: the majority of my style choices are made primarily on convenience. If it requires minimal fuss (i.e. no ironing, lint rolling, elaborate styling), consider me sold.
Staying on the topic of my wardrobe, my clothes tend to come in various shades of grey (much to the dismay of my wonderfully colourful wife). I really wanted one consistent element to provide that big talking point. A coat—as discussed—wouldn’t work, ties are too niche, and jewellery I tend to steer clear of. Enter, Allon.
My Tom Smarte camel fedora has been a mainstay (I’m actually wearing it right now as I write this post), so the brief was simple: same hat, but yellow. Something I can wear in the winter to add contrast to the grey, but also something that can work casually in the summer. As it turns out, sourcing yellow fabric for just one item is a lot harder than you’d imagine.
“This is a felt sourced from Italy. As yellow isn’t a standard hat colour, I needed to find it in a suitable quality to make this particular style”, says Allon. “Lighter colour felts are always a lighter weight compared to dark ones, due to the amount of dye required. So to keep the shape, I added a stiffener solution. It took about two days to make, including a lengthy drying period after the felt was steamed for shaping.”
In a nutshell, the shoot had to be epic. Thankfully, Jahied is just the man. There’s something poetic about getting a photographer who specialises in black and white portraits to do an editorial shoot where the centrepiece is a yellow fedora. Hats off to him.
I teamed the fedora with my Topman winter overcoat, Turnbull & Asser wool suit and bespoke cocktail cuff shirt (the famed cuff we made for Sean Connery’s inaugural turn as 007 in Dr. No, 1962), Crockett & Jones Chelsea XI scotch grain boots, Drake’s tie and Emporio Armani wire-frame glasses.
The Yellow Fedora is part of Tom Smarte’s AW19 collection, priced between £195-250 depending on the affects Brexit will have on currency and tariffs. tomsmarte.com