A man in a hat exudes a confident swagger; comfortable in his skin, a care and affinity for style. And I like that. Leigh Magar, a Southern girl from Spartanburg, South Carolina has always loved what a hat can do for an outfit and one's personality. Which is why, after studying hatmaking at the Fashion Institute in NYC, she began her hat business, Magar Hatworks, in the charming sea town of Charleston, South Carolina.
As stated on her site, "Leigh embraces the ancient millinery techniques while adorning hats with whimsical, sculptural embellishments. She uses the technique of blocking to make and stitch hats by hand. Her trims include hand dyed and vintage materials so that they are unique and one of a kind." Featured here, the Cashmere Johnny and the Johnny Slate from her 2010 Autumn/Winter collection.
The secret to finding the right hat is to be open to different looks, keeping in mind that a Fedora is always a classic. Leigh shared with me, "I always tell people to try on all the styles so that you can find the right shape for your stature, face shape, style and spirit." She adds, "A man should feel like he will never want to take it off and start to walk with a little strut."
Leigh's collections have been inspired by various Southerners including Vic Chestnut, Edna Lewis and her grandmother to name a few. She believes that "A hat is sculpture for the body. A stylish hat on a man is sophisticated and romantic." Women, it's fair to say, look twice at a man in a hat...
I look forward to the day, sometime this year, that I meet Leigh in person at her Charleston studio. It's an 1825 Southern abode, "laden with original wooden floors, fireplaces, porches and a blooming garden." Leigh mentioned she has tea parties and fashion shows in the space so I look foward to experiencing that first hand. Her mantle, adorned in accessories and materials, new and vintage, is reason enough to pop in for a visit. See all of her lovely work, including women's hats, here. And may I encourage all men to be a little more manly today...and buy a winter hat.
Photos: Magar Hatworks Content: Sweet Peach