Handmade hats in San Francisco

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Over at Laughing Squid, my friend John Law visits Paul's Hat Works in San Francisco, a very rare shop in that they actually make hats on the premises by hand. The century-old establishment had a near-death experience in 2009 until four female hatmakers took over the business. I generally feel awkward in hats, but I bet that Abbie Dwelle, Wendy Hawkins, Olivia Griffin, and Kirsten Hove — now known as the 4 Pauls — can help me pick a chapeau that fits, in all senses of the word.

(In the 1970s,) there was a guy, Michael (Paul was a long gone and hadn't been Paul anyway – he was Napolean) who would clean and block your hats.

If you had the dough, he would MAKE you as fine a hat as you could acquire ANYWHERE in the world.

Michael had had enough by 2009 and was to retire, planning to auction off the arcane, singular and irreplaceable hat making tools that Paul's had housed for 90 years. You see, for some indecipherable reason, along about 1962 American men stopped wearing hats. Over the next 30 years, hundred's of men's hat shops and factories shut down. There was a surge in sales of cold, flu and pneumonia remedies and sunburn ointment as more and more men took ill due to unnecessary exposure to the elements. What morons.

A year and a half ago, Paul's was saved from oblivion by four angels.

"Hats are Back at Paul's Hat Works in San Francisco"

Paul's Hat Works