The hat is one of the boldest fashion statements one can make. From the subtlety from a baseball cap to the austere of a top hat, what you put on your dome says a great deal about who you are as a person. A hat can even change your personality altogether… if you go for the gusto. Today, we dive deeper into the world of headwear with one of the most knowledgable haberdashers I’ve met to date. I sat down (read: emailed back and forth after I left Denver) with Larry Nix, store manager and all-around cap aficionado of Goorin Bros in Denver, CO.
Who are you? Where are you from? What do you do?
My name is Larry Patrick Nix, and I’m from Hamilton, Alabama. I’m a musician, and I spend my days helping to keep hats alive at Goorin Brothers Hat Shop on Larimer Square in Denver.
When did you first starting getting into hats?
I’ve been wearing hats since the beginning. I just turned 30, and there hasn’t been an era in my life that I didn’t have a hat collection in rotation. I don’t see it getting any better any time soon…
How did you hook up with Goorin Bros?
Like I mentioned, I’m a musician, and 4 years ago I was living the dream: collecting unemployment and playing music every night. One day, my mother was in town so I took her out for breakfast at the Market on Larimer Square. Afterwards we were walking the block when we discovered this tiny little hat shop that had been open for about 3 days. We stopped in, and since my mother hated the fact that I was unemployed she asked them if they needed a live mannequin to stand in the window to model hats. They said no to that, but they needed a model for a morning show here in Denver the next day. One tv appearance and 10 days later I had a job. Been roaming around this store ever since.
Tell us something about Goorin Bros we might not already know?
One of our biggest claims to fame since the outfitting the 1976 American Olympic Team has been creating the Heisenberg hat for the hugely successful Breaking Bad tv series. We knew it was a big deal, so we treated it like one. The H-Berg is one of my favorite Goorin hats of all time by the way. It’s impossibly cool.
What has been the most exciting part about working with Goorin Bros?
Easy, meeting people. From customers, to shoppers, to other merchants in the company, I am impressed every day by the caliber of people this brand attracts.
Sold a hat to anyone famous? Who?
Aww man. Have I?! Just to list a few: Robert Plant, Chris Robinson, Billy Joe Armstrong, Ryan Adams, PINK, Ty Burrell, about a hundred other “famous people,” and I missed The Boss by about 5 minutes one time. Saddest day ever. Come back, Bruce!!!
Who, throughout history, do you feel has worn the hat the best? Feel free to name a couple, the style of hats they wore, and what made them so great…
LBJ. His Stetson Open Road collection is something to admire. His hat closet is bigger than me and my lady’s apartment. Bob Dylan, too. That man can wear a hat, and I feel like every musician is trying to match his game. And Stevie Ray, my style god. He could wear anything from a wide brimmed telescope crown to a ultra baggy apple cap, and do it with Texas Taste. I’ve always been inspired by him, on many different levels.
What’s the best trend you’ve seen as of late in the hat game? What has been the worst?
Best trend I’ve seen (since I live in Denver) is people getting back to the classics. You don’t have to dress like you’re going mountain climbing just because you live in Colorado. Ditch the beanie and the down jacket for an ivy and a peacoat. The worst trend I see is people being afraid. That’s what I love about this company and our products, we dare people to be bold.
What is your favorite style of hat and why?
I can usually be found in a wide brimmed western fedora of some kind. I have my favorites, but a lot of my closest friends have never seen me in the same hat twice.
If we turned on your car radio right now, what song would be playing?
In Rowdy the Audi for a drive to my next gig? Easy… I have a cd of Waylon Jennings’ “Dreaming my Dreams…” record that a friend put to cd from the vinyl I own. That hasn’t came out of the cd player for a few months now.
What would you like to see more of as far as hats go in the future?
More American hand made. Everyone knows there has been a resurgence of American made products and materials, but it never really left the Milliner’s world. I have hats made by fellers here in Colorado that have been running their business for 30-40 years, them making these extremely high quality, American Made, handsome-as-hell hats that will outlast the man wearing them usually/unfortunately.
If one were to start wearing a hat, what are a few tips you’d have for them to get started?
Go to an expert. There’s different shapes for different faces. You have to find the right one for your head, and most importantly your personality. It’s the frosting to your cupcake, so it’s a pretty big deal. …and if a hat makes you dance, it doesn’t matter what anyone says, THAT’S your hat. Sold.
For more on Goorin Brothers, check them out here:
Thanks, Larry, for taking the time to speak with me. I’ll be in for a new hat soon.