“When it comes to fashion, I’ve always been ahead of the crowd.

I first wore hats in my 20s, and really loved the look. There was a time after that when it became impossible to find any I liked, but I began wearing them again 20 years ago and have worn a hat each day ever since.

It’s important to have the right kind, and over time I developed my own style that I now have custom made in Paris. Some call it a pimp hat.

People have referred to me as the fashion cowboy, but I definitely don’t wear any clothes that come from Texas — including cowboy hats.”

“I bought this at MAXFIELD’S, in Los Angeles, many years ago.

Hats provide that extra edge I look for and, because everybody sees me wearing them, I feel I’ve had an impact on the fashion world. VOGUE BRASIL ran a story about my influence on HEDI SLIMANE’S [S/S 2015 men’s] SAINT LAURENT COLLECTION.

That felt great. It also made me wonder why Saint Laurent still refuses to invite me to their shows.”

“The python jacket [underneath] was made for my clothing line, JAMES GOLDSTEIN COUTURE, and then we designed the hat to match. The silver details are hand-painted. The collection isn’t distributed in the United States yet, but hopefully a store will be opening in Los Angeles this year.”

“Python is a perfect material for me, so I don’t even bother with alternatives.

My milliner, JEAN PIERRE FRITZ, used to design hats for JEAN PAUL GAULTIER. He spent months looking for this shade of white. My collection’s worth? I don’t know, but I can say that it costs roughly $4,000 to buy one of these bespoke styles.”

“Buscemi made this for me. It’s a very nice cap, but because I’ve been wearing wide brim styles at night almost exclusively, I haven’t gotten much use out of it.”

“This was also custom-made in Paris. From time to time, I find restaurants won’t allow hats. It’s mind-boggling that some silly regulation can stop me from entering when I’m wearing a $4,000 piece that’s as stylish as it gets. One time I asked a maître d’ what the problem was and he said, ‘The ladies will be very offended.’ But women love my hats — they always want to try them on.”

“I had this made in North Hollywood, to go with a suit I wore 20 or so years ago on New Year’s Eve. I didn’t think an outfit could be more festive; nevertheless, I was turned away at Hugh Hefner’s party because I technically wasn’t in black tie. That’s how bleak the Los Angeles fashion scene can be.”


Photography byBramble Trionfo

As told to Anthony Rotunno

James Goldstein is an architecture, basketball, and fashion enthusiast based in Los Angeles.

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