Tracy in a Trilby, Hammett in a Homburg. The beloved hats of yore are making a comeback everywhere from New York to Milan, and a little shop out in the Richmond District of San Francisco is stitching them just like they used to.

Paul’s Hat Works, which is not owned by a Paul but by four young women, is one of the few remaining shops in the country to make their hats in-house by hand. “The only other shops we know of that do what we do are in Chicago and New York, but they’re much bigger than us,” co-owner Olivia Griffin says.

What they lack in size, however, they make up for in quality. Their materials are sourced from almost exclusively domestic purveyors, and their straw woven by a women’s collective in Ecuador. The adorning ribbon is made of vintage rayon collected over the years by the shop’s previous owner.

Adding to the shop’s charm is the space itself. The 94-year-old business is a veritable institution and the interior shows its history. The girls inherited all of the original equipment, along with bric-a-brac like old cans of hat powder. “It definitely wasn’t a smart business decision to buy a hat shop, but America is young and saving a neighborhood institution is a big deal for us,” Griffin adds.

Alongside the flanges and irons of a bygone era, the owners have added cufflinks, tie clips and vintage lighters to make the shop a true haberdashery, where they’ll shrink your head, so to speak, and design a hat to your desired specifications. Haircuts can even be had on Fridays from the lovely Miss Janet.

These hats can range from $150-$1500 depending on the material and customizations. But what’s a few hundred bucks for a lifetime of inimitable style? hatworksbypaul.com

Text by William Blake
Photography by Adrian Hallauer