I never thought I would buy anything featured in Vogue, let alone from the cover , the prices would usually be out of my league.
I posted Lock & Co Hatters shop on Instagram and was researching a caption when the September Vogue cover came up on my Google search . The hat caught my eye, and as it was affordable I thought I would go into the shop to try it on and use it as an opportunity to have a quick look around. I have passed the shop before, but Locks is one of those shops that I wouldn't usually feel comfortable going into unless I was buying something. I needn't of worried as I was made to feel welcome, and I ended up impulsively buying the beret. Hardly surprising though as the only shops I have been in for the last six months have been the local farm shop or Co-op. I think it was about time I brought a treat for myself .
As the hat was worn so well by Adowa Aboah ( it looks much better on her than me ) I am not going to post a picture of me in my new beret here anytime soon. Despite me not resembling a super model I still purchased the hat, it really felt super comfortable to wear. The shape seems to sit around the head rather than the way a lot of berets seem to just perch on top. It's slightly wider than the usual Lock Beret at 12inches, I think that's why it's such a comfortable fit . The top is lined which also helps it to sit really well . The beret is priced at £55.00 . Not cheap, but a classic wool beret will last and so price per wear should make it work out to be good value. As this one is a limited edition only available from the shop I decided it was worth investing in. My Daughter has even very kindly offered to help me get wear out of it too. I am sure I/we will get a lot of wear out of it over this Autumn and many more .
Locks even packed it in a great cotton drawstring bag making it easy to store when not worn.
~ A look into the Worlds Oldest Hat Shop ~
Legend has it that a postcard was once delivered to Lock &Co addressed only to
"The Best Hatters In the World, London."
I was intrigued to go into the shop find more .
Lock & Co is a world renowned London Establishment with two Royal Warrants (HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales) trading since 1765 from No 6 St James.
When James and Mary Lock moved from Charles Davies shop (founded in 1676) across the road they began to establish what is now the second oldest family business in London. With 7th and 8th generation members it is also one of the oldest family businesses in the UK.
They have been making mens hats for over 300 years and for women just over 30. Traditional methods are still used in their manufacturing. Most of the hats are made in the UK, mainly in Manchester , but ladies couture hats are still made on the premises . The Panama hats however are handwoven in Ecuador using centuries old techniques.
Famously discrete, they won't talk about celebrity customers unless they are no longer alive. However a Google search revealed a long list that included David Beckham who favours the Muirfield Tweed Cap (as seen below on Instagram).
Customers come from all walks of life, and in London Locks hats are very popular with Taxi Drivers : "Cabbies" .
Probably they are known best for inventing the Bowler Hat wayback in 1849. The Coke was worn from 1912 in films by Charlie Chaplin who made this hat his trademark. A thank you letter sits in their archives.
Another Hollywood Movie Star customer was Douglas Fairbanks Jr who actually lived above the shop. The Fairbank Trilby designed and named after him is sold by Locks today . Interestingly a collection of his Locks hats were sold by auction after his death in 2011 at Doyle in New York .
Locks has an extensive archive and following an article in the Times in 2000 a fan settled an unpaid bill left by Oscar Wilde for his 1882 US Book Tour Hat. A cheque was sent to No.6 for £3.30 to cover the outstanding bill which he left behind due to his incarceration.
The Archive Room at the back of the shop is usually open to the public but due to Covid-19 this particular area of the shop is temporarily closed . It would be great to visit again when it reopens to explore a bit more and to see the Lord Nelson Archives.
I may even treat myself to another hat !
Do you let me know if you go to visit.
Lock & Co Hatters
6 St James St,
Opening Hours are 10-5pm Mon -Sat
Locks shop photos and video - my own.
David Beckham image - Instagram
All other images are from Lock & Co website