“Y’know when a dog tastes blood for the first time and you’re like, ‘Welp, Fido is obsessed with catching squirrels now’?” Kendall Word recalls picking up a Stetson from a vintage shop in Austin: she comes from a long line of Stetson-wearers, but there’s nothing quite like your first time. The Queen of Commerce is a title that begs a certain amount of grit and grace – and Kendall would know: she’s writing the rulebook.
* Commerce Goods + Supply is located at the stunning Adolphus Hotel in Dallas, Texas. Visit their website here.
Hat: Stetson King’s Row
RC: You’d be hard-pressed to live in the South and not be familiar with Stetson, but would you say it’s been ingrained in your heritage? Or are you the Stetson pioneer in your family?
KW: I’m a 7th-generation Texan, so you had better believe I knew about Stetson! Stetson has been woven into the fabric of my family for generations. As a kid, I would always see hat stands at my uncle’s ranch in South Texas full of Stetson cowboy hats: straw, felt, etc.
My great-grandfather was a rancher who always wore khaki pants and a white button-down with his Stetson. There’s one video of him carrying it around while he counted his cows in 1937. My other favorite familial Stetson sighting is this video of my grandfather, McGehee, in college laughing and taking his Stetson fedora off and putting it on again for the camera.
RC: Reflecting on the quote, “Stetson today embodies the resourceful, authentic, and diverse American Spirit…ever-revolving and timeless,” how do those core values resonate with your own?
KW: I feel like this is one of those moments when you meet someone new and they’re describing themselves… leaving you hastily trying to reiterate how ardently you resonate with them without sounding like an absolute copycat!
I count myself very lucky to have been raised by parents who exemplified these principles very well. My dad is an absolute legend in my mind. His default is enterprising and his heart holds strong in the face of defeat. My mother is timeless in the sense that she is perennial, like an evergreen. She’s unending in her fruitfulness and love.
I hope all of these things for myself and revel in the values listed above. They’re strong, unencumbered, and have a sense of beautiful grittiness to them. Should Stetson be that “someone new” I resonate with, I would add that I am bold in my benevolence.
RC: So, from where does Kendall Word draw her inspiration?
KW: As a kid, I’d spend hours in my room ripping out my favorite pages from different magazines and compiling them into my own magazine. Structure, movement, and drama were components I was visually drawn to and enjoyed nothing more than…emulating that in my day to day life. Everything ignited an idea or a longing in me and I wanted to be a part of something beautiful. Style is that for me – engaging in something beautiful and expressive. Getting dressed, for me, is usually a merging of mood and experimenting with shape.
RC: What would a perfect day in the world of the Queen of Commerce look like?
KW: I’m at the shop, aka my second home, [and] it’s filled with my staff and I greeting guests with big smiles and Topo Chico. Visiting with the menagerie of people that come — locals or guests — is high on my list of favorite things, as well as working with local partnerships, like Stetson, on special projects for Commerce.
A perfect day includes interactions of all sorts: learning from our shop curator, Christine Visneau, eating at City Hall Bistro, and getting to pet at least 3 dogs. If you can’t find me doing any of those things, it’s because I’ve run off to a nearby coffee shop to answer emails.
RC: Leave us with some ever-important parting words of advice: what is crucial in picking the perfect hat?
KW: Picking a Stetson is picking an extension of you! Mine has almost become a calling card; I’ve had people not recognize me when I go without it.
I take three things into consideration when picking a Stetson:
Proportion: I go for wide-brimmed hats because I have a square face, I’m quite tall, and my hair is longer than my attention span.
Fit & Frame your Face: Fundamentally, it’s good to know your head shape. I’m a long oval. There’s nothing worse than picking the wrong size and paying for it in forehead marks and aspirin. When in doubt, size up and employ Stetson’s foam pads to apply to the liner of your hat for the perfect fit.
Style: I’m constantly experimenting with my style; I will wear a ballgown and a boiler suit in the same week, but I’m also very picky. If an item doesn’t resonate with me, you couldn’t pay me to wear it. At the end of the day, go with your gut.