Writer: Hailey Allen
Photographer: Ben Easter
Tony Sadiq first got into hats around 2010 after watching old movies and admiring the styles the men were sporting. He shopped on eBay and in vintage stores to locate similar hats, but many of the options he found were in substandard condition and needed restoration.
“Because of the decline [in popularity] of hats after the ’40s and ’50s, there [aren’t] many good hats available anymore. There’s not that many hat services in America,” says the 53-year-old Sadiq, whose style inspiration remains Frank Sinatra. Like oiling nice leather boots to help them last longer, fine hats require care to keep them looking their best, he says, including cleaning and steaming as well as sweatband replacements and proper storage.
He moved away from vintage to buying custom-made hats, discovering Classic Hats for Men in Sherman Hill (654 19th St.) and Optimo Hats in Chicago, places Sadiq says adhere to “the lost art of hat-making.” He makes trips to Optimo frequently, either to service his current hats or to add to his collection. Currently, that totals 17.
Generally, Sadiq prefers to wear darker, muted colors like grays, blacks and deep blues, as they complement most outfits and he can wear them to work easily—he’s a hairstylist at Elevencherry Salon—but he’ll occasionally opt for more color. During spring and summer, he wears a straw version, called a Panama hat. The material used comes in different shades of brown and tan.
“Men don’t typically have as many accessories as women do,” he says, so he turns to hats to upgrade his style. They also are functional, he says: “A good hat keeps rain, snow and sun off you.”
Sadiq wants to introduce more people to the utility and luxury of wearing hats. “I’m a hairstylist, and I have a lot of male [clients]. I help [them] look good and feel good, and so I encourage them to wear hats. If people say they can’t pull off hats, I say, ‘You need to get a good one that fits your style,’ and I’ll help [teach] them how to look good,” he says, adding it’s rewarding to help people find joy in their own look.
Sadiq’s Tips for Choosing and Wearing Hats
- Find out your measurements and get a hat that’s proportional to you. This helps you avoid looking like your hat is too wide-brimmed for your face or too small for your body.
- Hats can come with their own accessories, like a ribbon, band or feather, and these can add style. Try out different accessories to find what you like.
- If it’s your first time incorporating a hat into your outfit, choose a muted color, which may help you feel more comfortable than if you wear a colorful option.
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