hats in toronto

The top 10 hat stores in Toronto

The top hat stores in Toronto can transform the staunchest of headwear naysayers into true believers - or, dare I say, mad-hatters. Our local milliners treat the head like it's a temple: it's the most important part of the body to clothe. While comfort and practicality are always taken into consideration first, these professionals still know how to make a hat that starts conversations. Want to drastically change your look with a single accessory? Head to one of these Toronto hat shops (or go for the hat-trick and check out three).

Here are my picks for the top hat stores in Toronto.

Goorin Bros.
Goorin Bros., established in 1895, is a fourth generation hat company with several locations across the U.S. and two in Canada (the other is in Vancouver). The big name brand touts hat products to match every lifestyle choice: everyday wear, special occasion, outdoorsing (for the "dandy sportsman" no less). Their selection of styles also corresponds with whichever era you're into - 1920s Gatsby, late Victorian - and since they've been in business through nearly every hat trend anyone cares for these days, you might leave with a little history lesson in the fashion of your choice.

Brimz is a marker of Queen West's fashion district, located less than a block west from John St. The four-year-old storefront stocks up-to-date, youthful fashion hats like snapbacks, beanies, and the latest hot piece, the bucket hat, along with a handful of classic shapes for more mature styles. Here you can find the Canadian company's very own brand, designed and produced in Toronto for prices ranging from $45 for streetwear and near $100 or more for classic pieces.

Found in Little Italy just west of College and Bathurst, Lilliput sells a mix of ready-to-wear and couture creations. Patrons need not go far for a custom cap as the workshop is found onsite. Their showcase of romantic, bridal, cocktail, casual, and menswear pieces take inspiration from old and new styles to inspire their one-of-a-kind designs - some of which can be found in the closets of famed Canadians like Rachel McAdams, Celine Dion, and Sandra Oh.

Jack and I
Mount Pleasant's resident hat store is Jack and I, a quaint boutique equipped with a gallery of classic imported pieces like French Basque berets, Panama straw hats, and European-inspired wool caps. The rustic shop, named partly for owner Colin Lam's dog, Jack, hosts a seamless mix of contemporary goods and vintage styles. Other gems include handmade fedoras, re-purposed vintage goods, and lots of plaid.

David Dunkley Fine Millinery
David Dunkley's millinery studio can be found on Bathurst. It's the only shop in the city where you can get a custom, couture headpiece designed by a student of the former royal milliner to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mother. The selection of products includes a couture bridal collection and fascinators for the ladies, along with fedoras, boaters, and even bow ties for a more masculine appeal.

Owners David Greig and Sheri Wildhagen use three words to describe why they design hats: for shelter, comfort, and confidence. The husband-and-wife duo own a shop on Queen West just east of Portland where they create their funky, lasting designs for longstanding hat-lovers and first-timers looking for the best hat for their face and comfort level. Customers go back for the hand-made to size accessories, personalized fabric choices, and helpful service.

Gwendolyne Hats
Gwendolyne Preboy and William Brown have been crafting their vibrant hats and fascinators since 1991 and operate their store out of 401 Richmond St. Their designs are quirky and colourful and offer an inventive take on an otherwise conventional trade. The store also carries bags, purses, and jewellery of a similar taste, although hats like these are worth stopping by for.

Hat Depot
Louis, the elderly Greek man who runs the Danforth's Hat Depot, has been working in the millinery business since the age of 14. The modest shop's stock includes well-known hat styles like the fedora and newsboy cap, with prices that range from the easily affordable ($20 or less) to a bit more of a commitment at $100. Returning customers rave about the vast selection of hard-to-find pieces, like Crocodile Dundee-style hats and Indiana Jones-like attire.

New Era
These hats aren't for golfers, dandies, or for wearing to classy, old-fashioned parties. The Queen West New Era flagship store attracts a young crowd for casual snapbacks, fitted caps, wide-brimmed baseball hats, and proud NBA gear. Well-lit walls of stock offer a generous selection of colours and sizes by brands like Frank's Chop Shop, Mishka, Marvel, and DC. Skater boys and hip-hoppers, take note.

Big It Up
Mall-goers can check out Big It Up, a Toronto-based hat company with locations in the Eaton Centre, Missisauga's Square One, and a standalone store off the Queensway near High Park. They carry popular brands like Kangol and Ben Sherman in an array of styles that cover your casual men's basics - straw hats, beanies, and summer cap - as well as women's vacation wear, slouchy berets, and schoolboy caps. Shoppers looking for a more affordable purchase will likely find something they like while keeping within their budget, since most of the products stay within a $30-$60 price range.

Did I miss any? Leave your picks for Toronto's top hat stores in the comments.

Writing by Alex Brown.

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