Shop Highlight: French Quarter, New Orleans

Get to know Claire Mangano, the store manager of our NoLa shop!

Shop Highlight: French Quarter, New Orleans

Q: Introduce yourself! A: My mom's side of family is from New Orleans but I was born in Hawaii. Me, my mom and my little brother moved to a tiny beach community in  San Diego when I was three years old and moved to New Orleans to be closer to family in 2008 and I’ve lived in the city since then. I’ve only been with Goorin since December 2020 but worked right across the street from the French Quarter store for years prior so I’ve been pretty familiar with it for quite a while.  

Q: What are your favorite local spots in New Orleans? A: Everyday I walk into work I feel really lucky to have access to so much vibrancy. The creativity and passion that motivates the people of New Orleans is unmatched & it comes across in the way a lot of local business are structured to serve that community. The French Quarter has plenty of tourist driven ventures but it’s pretty easy to spot some of these special little spots that might not be on the map. Myself and my stylists would be nothing without our beloved coffee spot right around the corner from us SpitFire Coffee (@spitfirenola). It’s a TEENSY WEENSY coffee shop but IMO has the absolute best coffee for miles. Glitter Box N.O. (@glitterboxno) is a shop & community space w/ unique gifts + one-  of-kind offerings made with love by & for local women + nonbinary folks that’s just a few blocks from us. Pre covid, I’d often walk past and see them leading a headdress making workshop or bio degradable glitter. Last but not at all least is the absolute best nails salon in New Orleans ( maybe even the entire state of Louisiana ) M.A.D. Nails (@madnails) We get asked about our nails constantly and it’s all because of the amazing artists there - every single tech there is extremely talented and kind. They’re also insanely popular so if you wanna get the best manicure you’ve ever had make sure you book it early on their website.Q: Have you always like hats? Anyone/anything (family, celebrity, musician, movies) that introduced you to hats? A:  I was intimidated by hats before I found what shaped suited me. It was less of a single person who drew my interest but more realizing that all of my super stylish friends or people whose style I admired have a really good and solid hat that would transform and elevate some of my favorite looks. Intentional or not I noticed its a staple for anyone with great style.

Q: Every hat-wearer is different but is there a particular style that you tend to gravitate towards in showing a first-timer? A: It really depends SO much on the person and the time of the year / weather that it’s hard to say one or two that always work. I think a lot of people who want to make more of fashion statement want something with a medium to large brim, if that’s the case handing someone a Colonel Pierce always seems to inspire a smirk or make their eyes light up. Someone whose still fashionable but with a little less of a statement hat drive love porkpies. They look cool but relaxed and adapt really well to a diverse wardrobe.Q: What is your go-to style for everyday wear? What about for a night-out? A: My everyday style leans a little closer toward a western or country aesthetic. I tend to prefer hats with an upturned, medium to large brim. For my face / head shape I’ve found Block No.18 is the most complimentary and casual. So something like a nighthawk is easy for me to wear casually during the day. For a night out I might choose something like a Tronador or some kind of gambler / gaucho with a really wide stiff brim.

Q: If we could bring back ONE seasonal style from years past, which would you love to see back in the mix? A: GREEK FISHERMAN CAP PLEASEEEEEEEEEEEE. These things look amazing on everyone, they’re casual but easy to dress up when you don’t always wanna wear a brimmed hat.

Q: When you’re not at the shop, what do you love to do? A: I have two big dogs that I’m maybe annoyingly obsessed with so I spend most of my free time with them exploring. When I can manage it, I’m a big outdoor enthusiast. I love to hike and camp.Q: What do you love most about being in the hat world? A: One of my things to tell people is that you very rarely if ever see someone out or on the street with a hat on and think ‘wow, they look weird ‘ Most of the time you’ll notice how confident and stylish the hatted person is. Every time I say that to someone, I feel like I can see the confidence engine turn on and start to power up. I really like giving people permission to explore and play with their image so they can continue to rev that confidence. In the same way you have a favorite t-shirt or jacket, I think if you have the right hat it can make you feel good all day long.

Q: What makes your shop unique? A: The French Quarter is such an interesting and unique place. It’s charming and quaint but simultaneously wild and energetic. We get a ton of tourism in New Orleans but especially in the French Quarter and our shop is a block off of Bourbon street so there are days when literally hundreds of people might walk through the doors but we will also have someone who lives a block away come in looking for a hat to do their gardening in . There is a certain toughness required to work retail in any tourist destination, but especially one where a lot of the culture revolves around drinking. We care about what we're doing and want to make sure people who need our help get it but also want to leave a good impression on someone whose stumbled in after happy hour. Myself and my team work constantly on communicating with each other to work with every different kind of person that walks in and knowing our limits and when we get to them.--- visit Claire and her team at the French Quarter Shop location in New Orleans, Louisiana --- 709 Royal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana 70116 // 504.523.4287

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