This is the season for the finest of top hats. Weddings, Buckingham Palace Garden Parties, May Balls, the Epsom Derby, Royal Ascot—they are all upon us. If your top hat is a family heirloom that still fits, good for you. If not, and if you want an heirloom in the making, Christys’ of London, the world’s oldest milliner, is the one to have—and through the Club you won’t need a second mortgage to own this piece of English history and craftsmanship.
Christys’ was founded in 1773 by Miller Christy, 24 years before the first top hat was worn. It caused actual panic on the streets of London. Nobody had seen anything like it: ladies fainted, dogs barked, horses shied, somebody broke an arm, and the hat’s wearer, John Heatherington, was fined £50—a small fortune at the time—for disturbing the peace.
Having perfected the art of making proper fur top hats at the outset, Christy passed his skills to the next generation and now, more than two centuries later, to be wearing a luxurious handmade Christys’ of London hat is to wear a classic, an original, as worn by an 18th-century gentleman, ready to be handed down to your son and heir, as the best top hats always are.
We have all Christys’ of London top hat styles. The black polished melusine fur felt is always correct: choose either the traditional tall crown (6 1/4 in) which has now come back into favour as the most stylish, or the more modern lower crown (5 1/4in). Some opt for grey nowadays, and the Christys’ Fur Ascot Grey has a 5 1/4in crown.
All are handmade in traditional fur, with a black grosgrain hatband, and are beautifully lined in silk with the resplendent Christys’ of London gold, red and blue emblem in the top of the lining.
Black fur top hat, the best, with traditional tall crown (6 1/4 in).
RRP £379. CCUK £197. Save £182. Free delivery, UK mainland.
To check your hat size, take a measuring tape and place it around the circumference of the head, slightly above the ears, with the tape held fairly closely to the head. Measure your head. If you don’t have a tape measure, use a piece of string or wool to measure around your head and then check the length using a ruler or other measure.
Equivalent sizes are: 20.9in is UK 6 1/2 (53cm); 21.3in is UK 6 5/8in (54cm), 21.7in is UK 6 3/4 (55cm); 22in is UK 6 7/8 (56cm); 22.4in is UK 7 (57cm); 22.8in is UK 7 1/8 (58cm); 23.2in is UK 7 1/4 (59cm); 23.6in is UK 7 3/8 (60cm); 24in is UK 7 1/2 (61cm); 24.4in is UK 7 5/8 (62cm); 24.8in is UK 7 3/4 (63cm); 25.2in is UK 7 7/8 (64cm); 25.6in is UK 8 (65cm).