Men’s hats are back in style – yes, even here in Thunder Bay – and we couldn’t be happier. There’s something about the right hat that will make you give a man a second – or third, or fourth – look, every time, because it’s lent him an element of mystery, elegance, humour or devil-may-care flare that makes him stand out, hat and shoulders, from the people around him.
Laura Collins and her mum Margy at Elli’s Hats and Headbands on the second floor have what we think is one of the best collections of hats in Thunder Bay. All winter they’ve kept their mannequins’ and patrons’ heads toasty with knitted and felted toques and hats just right for the cold weather – and now the stock has been switched out and we’re thinking shade, breeze and cool for the summer.
Shopping with Laura and Margy isn’t like going into a little mall store. They’ve handled every hat they stock, making many by hand and assembling others with carefully-chosen appliques, ribbons and bands to create fashionable pieces that are unique, each one.
Their advice is honest and bang-on: don’t worry, you’re not going to walk out of there with a rubber glove on your head thinking you’re wearing the latest New York fashions. They keep the mirror handy at all times and won’t be shy about letting you know if the lid you’re trying on isn’t quite right for you. Got a narrow face? Check out a nice blocked straw hat with a narrow peak. Is your face rounded? Look for something like a porkpie with a narrow brim to top things off. They know what they’re doing, and they’ll help you pick a hat that says you know what you’re doing, too.
The latest pieces Laura and Margy have been setting out for the warm months are straw fedoras and trilbies in colours ranging from laid-back neutrals to tropical whites with brilliant coloured bands. Men are wearing them with a range of outfits – from casual tees with narrow-legged shorts to cotton sport jackets and linen suits.
Meet the Elli’s Hats & Headbands team on the second floor every Wednesday and Saturday at the Market!