The women’s hat stores in Jerusalem can be divided in three major store types, and a fourth store type that stands alone.
- Chain stores, mostly found in the malls in Jerusalem offer a sampling of women’s hats, usually worn by mannequins in their windows. If you need professional help with a hat or are looking for a perfect fit for your head, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
- The majority of women’s hat stores in Jerusalem (like most of Israel) cater to tourists and groups who have recently discovered the power of the sun in Israel. They are the low-end hat sellers, where you can by cheap paper hats that look good but rarely last a season. These stores are located on Jaffa Road and at the cross section of Jaffa and King George roads. If you’re looking for sun protection, these hats don’t offer much and you’ll almost never see a tag indicating they are UV protected. Their big advantage is that most of their hats fold so you can put them in your bag. Since many of these hats are made out of paper straw and are on stands outside the store you have to be careful that the straw is not dried up and cracking from standing in the sun. At the same time, it’s imperative that you keep these hats away from water because the paper will inevitably unfold if it’s damp for too long.
- As you move away from Jaffa and further up King George you’ll find the next level of women’s hats stores. Almost all of these stores sell hats produced by local milliners and/or imported hats from the local importers of Kangol, Betmar, Ecua-Andino, and a few other brands. They cater primarily to religious women who need to have their wigs or their hair completely covered, Israelis who have begun to understand the importance of protecting themselves from the rays of the sun but have very little interest in style, and those who want to look good without concern for quality. These women’s hat stores display an abundance of colorful hats in their shop windows, but usually have limited choices of hat style and you would be hard put to find a selection of quality international brands.
- Near the beginning of King George, next to the age-old belt shop, is a new concept in women’s hat stores: SherlockS Hats. Wall-to-wall wooden paneling, poster size pictures of people wearing hats, an espresso bar and an array of delicious muffins from the Muffin Man, create an ambience that is rarely felt in even the most elegant of hat stores. A giant deerslayer hat, used as a hat symbol in most Sherlock Holmes movies, and recognized today as a Sherlock hat, hangs proudly at the entrance to the store. The hat mayvens that welcome you are always smiling and, most importantly, give you space to drink in the vast selection found in the store. Women’s Borsalino, Baileys, Stetson, and many other stylish hats from leading hat companies line the walls. There’s even a small table with antique chairs where you can sit and drink your espresso while purveying the often striking stylish hats.
There are men’s hats here too, also created by major international hat houses. That’s because the store services both men and women, and has found that many women love the elegance of men’s fedora and trilby hats.
The clientele is varied; at any given time young people will be trying on the hipster hats produced by Goorin Brothers or Santana (of legendary fame), while women in their 30s and 40s will be checking out the Panama hats from both Borsalino and, for the first time, original SherlockS designs and colors. Older women love the protection the wide brim hats give, as well as the upscale hats that can be worn to synagogue and on holidays.
But service is key. Hat cleaning is available, as well as an assortment of feathers and hat bands. The two women (M&M) who tend the store are knowledgeable and know how to widen or tighten a hat so that it fits perfectly. After all, sometimes a person’s head is in-between a 7 and 7 1/2 inch fedora or just a tad larger than a 7 3/8 inch trilby. Actually, the motto of the store is: If The Hat Fits, It’s SherlockS.