Hats are prevalent in New Mexico and we are having more fun with the options than most of the country. I realized this several years ago while living in Atlanta. Like other regions, baseball hats and baseball caps are de rigueur, but there was little variation in head wear other than which sports team or brand was being represented and the rakish angle preferred by the individual.

As someone with a fondness for hats, I searched for a hat shop in Atlanta. Nada. If you want a top hat or bowler in Georgia, you will need to order it online. There are more people in Atlanta than in the entire state of New Mexico. How is it possible that they overlooked the necessity of hat choices?

I realized while looking for a haberdashery that I had been spoiled growing up in a place with numerous well established hat shops that cater to a wide range of tastes. From Panama to Pillbox, you can find every style of hat you might fancy in several locations.

Fashionable & Functional

There may be well documented reasons for the hat affinity in the region. Feel free to message me or leave a comment if you know the answer. My theory is that hats aren’t optional here. There are few trees, little shade, and it is very hot. The intensity of the summer sun at this elevation should not be underestimated. Perspiration evaporates before sweating provides the signal that you are over-heating. Sun stroke is common. Wear a hat. Seriously.

Conquistador Helmet
This is a fantastic example of what NOT to wear in New Mexico.

I can’t help but wonder if wearing tin cans as hats is what contributed to Spanish surliness when they initially made contact with the inhabitants of this region. Heck, I need gloves for my steering wheel in the summer. They may have inadvertently broiled their brains on the journey from Mexico to Zuni. Metal is not the ideal choice of material material…unless you anticipate an adversary lobbing projectiles at your head.

Sun Protection for Your Head

The New Mexico sun is intense. Locals have almost an uncanny sixth sense about shadow, automatically going into ‘search for shade’ mode whenever a cell phone call requires pulling over. Much of the state is high elevation. Most of the state is a ‘bring your own shade’ sort of scenario. Hats are an essential part of the defense strategy. This would explain the popularity of the cowboy hat, which competes with the baseball hat/cap in terms of local popularity. However, New Mexicans don’t limit themselves to the standard fare. Bowlers, top hats, caps, fedoras, pork pies, sunhats and safari hats are common. In fact, you can get away with wearing pretty much anything as a hat in New Mexico, which is demonstrated daily by eccentric and/or fashion forward individuals throughout the state.

Local Haberdasheries

Men wearing hats
The Man’s Hat Shop in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque Hat Shops

Santa Fe Hat Shops

Las Cruces Hat Shops

  • A Real Man | Hats and shoes for men who want some flair

Man wearing cowboy hat

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