Lady Gaga has Jo Calderone. Beyoncé has Sasha Fierce.
Nina Thompson has Nina Falana — her alter ego and new hat collection’s namesake.
The Chicagoan by way of Australia understands the need for heavy-duty noggin protection. On a trip to France with her husband (owner of Optimo, the city’s best bespoke hat company), Thompson discovered molds from the ’30s and ’40s at a defunct hat-making factory.
She stopped begging him to make women’s hats and started doing it herself. Today she painstakingly presses two types of high-end straw (braided Milan and woven Montecristi Panama) onto those very molds to create hats that are classic, clean, fitted, and truly luxurious.
Five timeless, built-to-last styles are available with different brim widths (so they fit your face and your head); each comes with three removable grosgrain ribbons.
Because you wear many hats.
Available at Optimo Hats Southside, 10215 South Western Avenue, at 102nd Street (773-238-2999); Downtown, 320 South Dearborn Street, between Van Buren Street and Jackson Boulevard (312-922-2999 or optimohats.com); at suitorlife.com and ninafalana.com, $325-$350.
Photo: Chris Lake Photography / Courtesy of Nina Falana