In the old days, men were always dressed up from head to toe. In order to go anywhere, a hat was indispensable. And without a doubt, you could be sure that the good hats were from Tardan, the 170-year-old iconic hat shop in Centro Histórico. In fact, Don Porfirio, Zapata, and Lindbergh have all been witnesses to the quality of the headgear. Today, its store with a view front and center of the Zócalo continues to sell its most popular product.
The history of Tardan
Tardan was founded during the time of Santa Anna. That is to say, US troops had just raised their flag at the entrance of the National Palace. Especially because of the foreign invasion, under the “Portal of the Merchants” (now Plaza of the Constitution), stores began to prosper, including a hat shop that imported pieces from Europe and the United States. It was called “El Castor” and was subsequently bought by a French businessman named Dallet.
Dallet frequented the café “El Cazador,” just around the corner from the hat shop. It was there that he met Charles Tardan, a French teenager who earned his living as a waiter. He soon invited the boy to work with him around 1880.
Tardan proved to have a keen eye for hats and business. In 1899, he definitively bought the store, along with his brothers, and converted his surname into a brand that everyone would come to know. “Tardan hats are worn from Sonora to the Yucatan.” This phrase (and the hats it mentioned) took the country by storm at a time when headgear was an essential part of men’s fashion.
Now, with the coming and going of fashion, hats are no longer a necessity but a choice. Tardan’s trademark continues to be exceptional quality headgear made from anything from wool to silk and rabbit hair. (There is, of course, animal cruelty involved behind the use of some skins, so we recommend limiting yourself to the skins of edible animals). Prices range from 500 to five thousand pesos ($25 USD – $265 USD). There is something for everyone; hats made of soft Panamanian palm ($ 2,000 MX), Walton wool felt ($ 1,286 MX), or 100% wool ($ 1,050 MX).
When hat sales declined, Tardan expanded their horizons and began to manufacture and import belts, wallets, blouses, and guayaberas. However, their prized products remain the hundreds of hat models waiting to be worn. Moreover, at the entrance, clients are greeted by a coffee shop inaugurated some years ago with tables overlooking the National Palace.
In addition, Tardan also has an online store presenting their products. However, it is better to walk around the shop, try on a few options, and choose the most special of Tardan hats just for you.
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