John Helmer-Haberdasher

969 S.W.Broadway
Portland, OR 97205
503-223-8451

Today our team met a true “haberdasher” named John Helmer the 3rd. It’s not a word we see often, nor do most know it’s meaning. For those who need a bit of  refreshing here you go:

hab·er·dash·er [hab-er-dash-er] noun

1.  a retail dealer in men’s furnishings, as shirts, ties, gloves, socks, and hats.
2. Chiefly British . a dealer in small wares and notions.

How often do you take a walk in the streets of Portland, OR and see a display like this. Hats, and lots of them.  Matt, Emily, Maria and I skipped along SW Broadway, the 900th block in Portland. We were on our way to the famous Portland sign to have our picture taken.  This lovely window display caught our eyes and into the shop we went.  I believe in that moment we all stepped into a taste of refinement that many of us lack.  We transformed our English into a British slant. 

John Helmer window display with city reflection.

We  began trying on hats that we favored. We acted out in the age of who might where such a hat. We laughed, we giggled and then he walked up. This distinguished dapper man. None other than John Helmer the 3rd.  Emily and Maria went off into the fantasy of hats while Matt and I took notice of the history on this corner street in downtown Portland.  Asking Mr. Helmer all sorts of questions.

John Helmer the 3rd & Matt L. Morrison

“Quality Hats, Caps & Men’s Accessories for over 85 Years” is what their website reads. Be sure to visit that here: http://www.johnhelmer.com/index.itml

2013-03-27 10.19.14

John Helmer the 2nd & 3rd
Portrait Proudly Displayed in the Store.

I have taken the liberty to cut and paste from their website,  a brief explanation of what “John Helmer” carries.

Irish Tweed Cap, French Beret, Safari Hat, Sleeve Garters or…

Greek Fisherman Cap. We carry classic hats, specialty hats, and the latest hat styles from top brands like Stetson, Borsalino, Kangol and more. Whether you’re searching for an Irish tweed cap, (newsboy cap/touring cap), Greek fisherman cap, felt fedora hat, a stylish straw hat, porkpie hat, top hat, or sleeve garters, we have the hats and men’s accessories you want.

Mr. Helmer went on to explain, “we are in our third generation of family ownership, and dedicated to customer service for more than eighty-five years, we feature one of the largest selections of hats, caps, berets, unique headwear and specialty men’s clothing accessories in the Pacific Northwest. I am a 3rd generation Helmer.”  Mr. Helmer went on to share some of the stores history. Right down to the sign out front being the original signature of his founding grandfather John Helmer the 1st.

2013-03-27 10.24.39

Hans, a John Helmer employee models a hat with Emily Otteson

I am one who fancies a dressed up man no matter what age.  My young boys have their belts, trousers, hats, button up shirts that need pressing, and a few times a year I can get them all into some nice duds.  This store  caries the history of Portland. It took me back to a time, when all the men you met, shook hands with, and shied away from were dressed in the fashion in which John Helmer takes great care and pride in.

Plenty of hats for the ladies as well.

If you want the care and service from three generations of Helmers I suggest you take a drive into Portland.  If you live outside the area, do visit their website.  Thank you Mr. Helmer for allowing us to come into your shop and schooling each of us in the fine trade of a haberdasher.

2013-03-27 10.23.12

They take their hats quite serious.

2013-03-27 10.23.23

Simply stated this was an extraordinary day.

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Posted in Portland Fashion

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