For many of us there are traits and trends that we identify with, that we take pride in. For some it’s a trade or occupation, a passionate hobby, a music scene or a social group. For better or for worse, whether we like to admit it or not, our style choices reflect our identity, even if only in a subtle way.
For me, being a “Midwesterner” has always brought me a bit of pride. From the rural lakes of Northern Minnesota, to the barstools of downtown Detroit, the Midwest is a place I have forever called home. It is a place where modesty and moderation are the keystone of a hard-working lifestyle. For me, these key traits have also been reflected in my choice of clothing. While I may have gone off course during my pop-punk phase, my urban cowboy phase or my time strutting through the halls of West Middle School in baggy orange cargo paints and pukka shell necklaces draped from my neck, I ultimately found my way back to my roots even at a young age.
In a crowd, I am hard to find. Blue jeans and henley long sleeve t-shirts fill the limited closet space my wife allows me to have. Earth tone, solid colors, no logos – these in a way define me. However, while I may paint a bleak picture of my fashion choices, I do have one thing that stands out, that one bright feather in my otherwise vapid palate and that is #MyStormy.
My Stormy Kromer cap. I wear it wherever I go and when it’s not atop my head, it can be a bit of an identity crisis. That cap is everything to me and while over the years I packed that limited closet space with more SK caps, MY Stormy, my waxed cotton cap is the pearl of my eye. It is my one unique identifier, the conversation starter and each day a part of my life. While the cap to me represents my core identity as a Midwesterner, to me and many others around the country it represents so much more.
My Stormy represent the legacy of handmade goods right here in the USA and more specifically Ironwood, MI a small town on the western border of the Upper Peninsula. I wear it for the men and women who clock in each morning and get to work on these hats, one by one. They are my neighbors, my friends and my family all whom represent the quality of products Made in the USA.
My Stormy represents history. Midwesterners tend to not be peacocks in the world of fashion but the hat is a conversation starter and has a story to back it up. (Deep breath in) An early 20th century minor league baseball player in the northern Midwest who was also a train conductor with an occasional temper that was known around town keeps losing his hat in the wind so his wife ties it down to ensure it stays on and eventually working class folk all around town are aching to get their hands on one and a business is born. How cool is that?! Part of me where’s it for George “Stormy” Kromer whose signature on the back of each cap is a legacy that I am proud to carry with me.
My Stormy represents the outdoor lifestyle that I hold dear to my heart and where mentally I drift every few minutes. My Stormy is with me hiking the dunes of northern Michigan, J-stroking a canoe through the BWCA or taking down ring-necks in an open field. My Stormy Kromer allows me to bring the feeling of being in wide open spaces with me, even while in my office writing these words. Stormy Kromer’s handmade quality and premium fabrics make it extremely durable in any condition. My Stormy has seen the dirt of a Minnesota farm, been drenched in the waters of Lake Superior and taken the beating of the sun on the pontoon for many summers. It’s a soldier. I have put it through the ringer and it continues to retain its strength as if it had just come off the shelf.
When it comes down to it, My Stormy represents me. Like many other loyal Stormy Kromer advocates, there is an unspoken bond, a passing tip of the cap to each owner who gets it. While there are bigger brands out there that shout for your loyalty, try looking North for a modest, confident voice calling you to join its ranks.
For those of you who have flown the Stormy Kromer flag, we want to know… what does your Stormy Kromer mean to you?
*Midwestern Gentleman is a member of the Stormy Kromer Ambassador program.