Tracy Watts Millinery Bespoke Blog Series Part 4
A well-dressed gent should have an array of hats to choose from. I found Tracy Watts hats in Bergdorf Goodman last year and continued to follow her. Her story is unique and one that should be shared. I traveled out to her studio in Brooklyn on a cold wintry day. When I arrived, I entered a phenomenal world of millinery and had the pleasure of meeting some of her in house sewers and assistant Amanda Campbell.
Originally from Toronto, Tracy was a painter and artist by trade. With her love and passion for hats, she moved to NYC and studied millinery at FIT in the early 90’s under the guidance of Janine Galimard who used to work for Balenciaga. Through her guidance she mastered the skill of making her artwork three-dimensional. Tracy started selling her hats on the streets of Soho and in 1993 cold called the buyer at Barney’s which then turned into a long and fruitful relationship. She caters to both men and women and all of her products are handmade with fine quality materials.
Tracy’s style is a combination of old school meets modern era. Her felt fedoras come in an array of colors and can be customized to your needs. One distinct detail is a tether that she applies around the crown of the hat. This used to be done on all hats back in the day and has lost its way. In essence, its an elastic cord that encompasses the crown. On a windy day you can unsecure it and place the tether portion through the buttonhole on your suit lapel. In the event your hat blows off it is securely fasted to your suit. She has also switched to a type of straw called Japanese Toyo Straw that allows the wearer to pack it and reshape it with ease, as pictured on the top left. View this GIF for an example of this packable version. In addition to fedoras, she also makes driving caps, stash caps (pictured center top) and wool/leather baseball caps.
You can find her hats at better stores around the country and abroad. Recently, she has seen a surge in business at Boutique 1 in Dubai, Nanamica in Japan and Galeries Lafayette in Beijing. Her price point for bespoke hats can range from $220-$360. If a new pattern needs to be created, then there will be an additional cost of $200. I am so impressed with Tracy’s work that I will be wearing one to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week here in New York next month. If you are in search for a superb quality milliner, I recommend reaching out to Tracy Watts. Tell her The Refined Gent sent you. Remember looking and feeling good is all that matters gents.