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dupree
03-14-2005, 10:01 AM
I went this weekend down to a hat place with some friends that was featured on "Chicago Works" on the public television in Chicago and saw two hats that I really really liked. My friend bought a couple hats and now I am sort of itching to get one. I was wondering if anyone has any feedback on Optimo Hat down at 102nd & Western in Chicago. A buddy who is into hat's says that they are simply the best. I really liked their Panama hats and their fedora's but don't have a real feel for what to look for or what represents a good value. I did think they were outstanding looking hats. I was also somewhat confused at the numeric rating system for Panama hats and would like some clarification.
Thanks

IndianaGuybrush
03-14-2005, 11:46 AM
Optimo is considered by many here and elsewhere to be one of the finest, if not the finest, supplier of modern fedoras that mimic the vintage feel and style. For feedback on them I suggest using the search utility and typing 'Optimo' , just be ready to sift through quite a few posts. I have 1 Optimo myself, an 'Indy' Brown Indiana Jones style fedora, which is a Beaver/Nutria blend. It's an incredibly well made hat, the felt is very thin, soft, and floppy, and its a joy to wear. As for the Panama hat numbers, I believe those stand for wpi or weaves per square inch. the higher the number the finer the weave, and generally, the finer the weave the higher quality and more expensive the hat. Beyond that I can't help you, but try the search function again, this time for 'panama' 'weave' or both. Hope this helps out and welcome to the lounge.

SHARPETOYS
03-14-2005, 12:20 PM
Just go to search and type in Optimo and there is at least 10 pages.

I think they are one of the best Hatters in the World. I own 6 Optimo's :)

dupree
03-14-2005, 12:35 PM
So what would say be the difference between a grade 20 panama from optimo hat and a grade 23? other than several hundred dollars

SHARPETOYS
03-14-2005, 02:30 PM
So what would say be the difference between a grade 20 panama from optimo hat and a grade 23? other than several hundred dollars

Weave count, color of the straw, is the weave nice and even. The quality of the back weave on the brim, size of the hat. The larger the hat more straw and weave time.

These sites give you some good info. Most hatters don't use numbers. It is fino, fino fino, etc. A fine Montecristi looks and feels like linen!

The finer the Montecristi the more expensive they are. Some charge thousands and some charge in the hundreds for the same quality hat.

http://brentblack.com/index.html#newmens Brent Black

http://www.panamas.biz/ Panamabob a member here

Nathan Flowers
03-14-2005, 05:57 PM
Agreed, you were able to visit one of the best hatters in the world the other day. I have 6 Optimos as well, and I am absolutely thrilled with every single one.

Graham is the best because the hats he makes are of tremendous quality, and he can do styles and finishes that are seriously old school, which is something that almost every modern hatter lacks the ability to do.

Mycroft
03-14-2005, 06:38 PM
Agreed, you were able to visit one of the best hatters in the world the other day. I have 6 Optimos as well, and I am absolutely thrilled with every single one.

Graham is the best because the hats he makes are of tremendous quality, and he can do styles and finishes that are seriously old school, which is something that almost every modern hatter lacks the ability to do.

What about James Lock and Co. in London? Are they any good?

SHARPETOYS
03-14-2005, 07:34 PM
What about James Lock and Co. in London? Are they any good?

I don't think so from what i have read and been told by friends.

This thread is about Optimo that was the mans question.

Matt Deckard
03-14-2005, 11:53 PM
I myself am a big fan of Optimo simply for the fact that the hats are fantastic.

They have a reputation for making a super thin lightweight felt along the lines of the light weight hats Borsalino made in the 1930's.

The newer Optimo lightweights are a bit thicker than the ones from the last few seasons. Their heavyweigthts are supposed to be lighter than their ones from the last few seasons.

The current offerings are their
100% beaver felt and their
49% beaver 49%nutria and 2% hare.

I find that the nutria beaver blend is easy to pack when compared to straight beaver or hare hats.

Graham (the owner and sole hatter at Optimo) has a knack for making a hat that is very very close to what you would have found on the shelf of a department store in the 1930's. He re-pioneered things that haven't been done in the hatting industry for a while such as stitching in the lining, using a hidden stitch on the bow and pre-blocking felt bodies.

Graham's hats are the closest thing I have seen to vintage. They are extremely well made. Their is one flaw they cary which is the same with all modern hats.
With time the felt tends to shrink (This has not happened to any of the vintage hats I or my friends own), though the pre-blocking technique that Graham is using is rumored to take care of this.

graphite grey
Beaver nutria blend from last seasons line.
http://images8.fotki.com/v132/photos/8/83243/1247936/Grapjite2-vi.jpg
http://images8.fotki.com/v128/photos/8/83243/1247936/Graphiteroll1-vi.jpg

SHARPETOYS
03-15-2005, 07:17 AM
This would be good to read about Montecristi Panama hats.

http://www.thefedoralounge.com/showthread.php?t=2630

SHARPETOYS
03-15-2005, 08:16 AM
Agreed, you were able to visit one of the best hatters in the world the other day. I have 6 Optimos as well, and I am absolutely thrilled with every single one.

Graham is the best because the hats he makes are of tremendous quality, and he can do styles and finishes that are seriously old school, which is something that almost every modern hatter lacks the ability to do.

Sure would love to see the pictures of the Real Milan Optimo Straw. ;)

Mycroft
03-15-2005, 01:54 PM
I don't think so from what i have read and been told by friends.

This thread is about Optimo that was the mans question.

Sorry, just wondering. Sorry to but in.

Andykev
03-15-2005, 04:51 PM
Dupree, I have about 15 Optimo's, and love them. Been a long time customer. I even flew 2000 miles just to spend two days in Chicago visiting the shop.

You won't find a better hat, nor a more helpful person than Graham.

You are lucky to have gone there. You saw the styles, and the quality. You can always call and ask directly whatever you need clarification on.

773-238-2999

Panamabob
03-15-2005, 06:05 PM
All you hear about Graham are good things. I'm sure he'll serve you well.