Kromer: The Original Working Man's Winter Hat
I've had an original navy blue wool "Kromer Blizzard Cap" since I bought it in a used clothing store back in the 1970's. It's the perfect winter hat: made of natural materials - principally wool and cotton - and thoughtfully designed. My Kromer never itched my ears or made my head feel crawly (like some wool hats do), because of the full soft cotton lining. The wool is pre-shrunken, so the fit lasts. Another Kromer design hallmark is the convertible wrap-around ear flap, which slides up and down without removing the cap.
Brand & Design Recycled By Stormy Kromer Merchantile
Years after the original Milwaukee-based Kromer went out of business Stormy Kromer Mercantile recycled the brand, remaining faithful to the original (perfect in my opinion) men's hat design. They've also expanded the market appeal, offering more colors and materials: clearly leveraging the hat's macho outdoorsy reputation in the banner ad (excerpt) pictured.
Which was why I was surprised a bit, yesterday, to see that Target had a knock-off version in the women's department. Made me recall giving a Kromer to a girlfriend to wear over her long blond hair - man did she look warm in it. Well...what women like, goes around and grows:- Stormy-Kromer now has a more "feminine" version called the IDA Kromer (shown below).
Man Caution:Guys, do not let your girlfriend or wife catch you wearing it while mumbling Elmer-Fudd like, "Where's that cwazy wabbit?." Kinda ruins the macho thing.
For Both Sexes: Want a winter-ready hat made out of natural materials? Do yourself a favor and get recycled design faithful to the original: Kromer.
Share your Kromer cap stories with us. If we get enough good ones I'll consider putting up a pic of me with my Kromer posing with my SKB double, and wearing a red and black check wool coat.
Update: Forgot to close the loop on my analogy. Among the "macho" outdoorsy all male retail outlets that, over the years, have seemingly turned into mass market women's clothing venues are: LL Bean; Eddie Bauer; & Abercrombie & Fitch. Point being, when these marketing gender shifts came to a brand, natural materials and functional designs were commonly supplanted by bright petro-polymer objects that bring high profit and don't last long: either in a fashion sense or a design sense. Long live Kromer!