WILDHAGEN, 575 Queen West, 2nd floor, 416-830-8589, www.wildhagenwear.com Rating: NNNNN
The first customer to visit Wildhagen's second Toronto location bounded up the stairs past the plastic deer sculpture and giant inflated light sausage and breathlessly proclaimed her joy at finally finding the shop in her western neck of the Toronto retail woods. She left the store with a "Bumper" style (a woolly helmet-shaped hat brimmed with puffy bolsters front and back), and owners David Greig and Sheri Wildhagen knew they'd made a smart move by opening a sister store to their original Distillery District outpost.
A Wildhagen hat is instantly recognizable for its combination of fabric patterns, colours and textures and a geometric twist on classic chapeau shapes. Fall styles include striped knit toques that finish at an elfish point, and the signature Samurai style whose look can be described as flying nun lite.
The shop is designed with comfy mid-century furniture and mirrors galore that inspire lingering try-on sessions so even those among us with a my-head's-too-big-for-a-hat complex leave with a cozy newsboy or cloche.
Wildhagen picks: The Gordon golf hat, named after Greig's father, combines acid-coloured tweed and olive pinstripe fabric, $150; a red felt panel sweeps across abstract camouflage on the Ardemis cap, $125; three brims stack up on the brown felt Trilobite, $100.
Look for: Necklaces, bracelets and earrings made from pastel dotted ceramic sand dollars ($30 to $50) by Denmark's Anne Black.
Hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday noon to 6 pm, Thursday and Friday noon to 7 pm.