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Thread: Proper hat, proper apparel?

  1. #1
    Familiar Face JJWord's Avatar
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    Proper hat, proper apparel?

    Hello all, I've been looking into purchasing my first fedora for close to 6 months now. I've been a ball cap wearer all of my life but feel now I'd like to add a touch of a higher standard. My worry is, well, I don't want to look like a fool.

    I'm 31, 6'1", and bald, so hats are becoming important just to stiffle sunburn in the summer and windburn in the winter. My job is pretty relaxed (IT) so my normal daily fair is jeans and a polo. I think I wore a tie a total of 6 times in 2008. As far as outerwear, considering the weather here in Buffalo its usually Columbia jacket and winter boots.

    I do have some nicer black leather combat boots (I actually wear these with my suit because they pass as just black dress shoes if I don't pull up my pant legs) and a black leather jacket. Actually, alot of my stuff is black now that I think about it.

    So I guess my main 2 questions are, A) can I just throw on a fedora with my current waredrobe and not look like some silly poser? and B) if I start wearing my nicer stuff do I need a black fedora to match or will that all look too formal? I've read on here that many of you feel black is a very formal look.

    Thanks in advance for all of your input!
    "Dice have six sides for a reason, my friend. There is no thrill in surety."

  2. #2
    Practically Family Goose.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJWord
    ...
    So I guess my main 2 questions are, A) can I just throw on a fedora with my current waredrobe and not look like some silly poser? and B) if I start wearing my nicer stuff do I need a black fedora to match or will that all look too formal? I've read on here that many of you feel black is a very formal look.

    Thanks in advance for all of your input!
    Guess I'm not the best one to ask...

    In all seriousness, I wear my Fedoras with anything. Well, except my Speedos...that calls for a Panama.

    If you get just one lid, I think a Grey is the way to go for all around use. That being said, I'm about to order a black Akubra Homburg (which is not a Fedora, bit it's a suit hat) for picture day. And a Bogart or Stylemaster in a grey as well to mix it up. I think I will like the bound edge for suits...and I can still wear those in everyday clothes...just because I can. Don't concern yourself with other's and what they think...if you think the hat looks good on you, then it probably does. Confidence will come as you wear it.

    The Akubra bug has biten me and I figure it isn't going to get any better with the Australian/US exchange rate...so get 'em while they're hot.

    Search in the Bogart and Federation threads and you will see many a daper gent wearing suits.

    Nonetheless JJWord, you will wish you'd started the fedora gig a long time ago. Do it.

    Your mileage my vary Don't run with scissors.
    "Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not." ~Samuel Johnson

  3. #3
    My Mail is Forwarded Here Rick Blaine's Avatar
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    Hiya JJ glad to see ya' here! You might consider an Akubra Campdraft. The thin ribbon mutes the formality factor and the price right now is very nice.
    "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.
    Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness,
    for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children."

    -Jules Winnfield

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    "A List" Customer MCrider's Avatar
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    What kind of hat?

    Personally I'd go along with Goose's recommendation for a grey fedora to help offset the black clothing, plus it allows you to wear it with other color combo's. Probably the toughest thing to get over is the actual wearing of the hat itself. If you're a person who worries what his co-workers may say or think, you may feel a bit sheepish about wearing it. On the other hand if you can just smile at the jokes, then they come to realize that the hat is here to stay. As an example, just tonight in Walmart, I had a person chuckle at the fedora I was wearing. I just smiled along with him. But for me a better example is having women smile and tell me they really like my hat. It's a tradeoff, but sometimes it's worth it!
    The roads we take are more important than the goals we announce. Decisions determine destiny.

  5. #5
    Familiar Face JJWord's Avatar
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    Thanks Goose and Rick!

    Sorry Goose, didn't mean any disrespect with the "looking silly" comment, but you have a good point. As long as I like it I shouldn't concern myself with what others think of it....except my wife who has that pesky power of veto.

    Rick, I'm going to checkout that Akubra now. I've been leaning toward a Bailey Curtis in that nifty serpent color, not only for the frugal price but for the XXL availability. But if I can get a good deal on a better quality hat then I'm all for that.
    "Dice have six sides for a reason, my friend. There is no thrill in surety."

  6. #6
    My Mail is Forwarded Here Rick Blaine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJWord
    ...I've been leaning toward a Bailey Curtis in that nifty serpent color, not only for the frugal price but for the XXL availability. But if I can get a good deal on a better quality hat then I'm all for that.

    ...here's the thing, I don't want to discourage you but I must say that accessing your suitability for hats & hats' suitability for you using a wool felt is not fair to you or fair to hats.
    The differences between even an inexpensive (note I did not say "cheap") fur felt like the Akubra and an average wool felt really is "apples and oranges"... my .o2
    EA has the Campdraft up to size 64 (US size 8) Hatsdirect up to size 62 (7 3/4).
    "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.
    Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness,
    for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children."

    -Jules Winnfield

  7. #7
    Familiar Face JJWord's Avatar
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    Is it a difference in the feel of it on your head, or in the durability of the felt to the elements?
    "Dice have six sides for a reason, my friend. There is no thrill in surety."

  8. #8
    Call Me a Cab Tango Yankee's Avatar
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    Welcome, JJ!

    I'm also in IT, though I started back when a computer filled a large, positive-pressure room!

    The rest of the IT department tends to wear jeans and polo shirts, like you. I normally wear business casual, with a tie and sport coat. I do, however, dress down when I know in advance I'm going to be doing installations or crawling under tables and desks.

    Here's what I wore today:



    As has been mentioned, a "thin-ribbon" hat is generally considered to be a bit less formal, but as you can see a basic fedora can work just as well. The suggestions about going with a grey hat at first if you wear black a lot are spot-on. A grey hat with a black ribbon will look great!

    As far as your question about looking like a poser goes, it's possible--if you're not comfortable wearing it. It's been observed around here before that you want to wear the hat, not let the hat wear you. Wear it with confidence and it'll work for you.

    Take some time, look around the Lounge, find others with similar builds and face types to see what size brim looks like it might work for you.

    Good luck, and have fun!

    Cheers,
    Tom
    "One canít stop progress, of course, but Iíd really like to stick out my foot and trip it."

    "A man either lives life as it happens-meets it head on and licks it. Or turns his back on it and begins to wither away."

  9. #9
    Practically Family Goose.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJWord
    Thanks Goose and Rick!

    Sorry Goose, didn't mean any disrespect with the "looking silly" comment, but you have a good point. As long as I like it I shouldn't concern myself with what others think of it....except my wife who has that pesky power of veto.

    ...
    No disrespect taken. But that's nice of you to be concerned as a gentleman.
    Heck, I mean look at me, an Akubra Casual, hot dog chain t-shirt, and SPAM flip flops...as my kids would say "Dork!"...AND, it's not because of the fedoras...but it's loving and fun cuz I'm always clowning with them. Well, maybe I'm in denial...so what...I love my fedoras.

    The hat gig was new to the kids at first...but it's been at least 10 years since my first Akubra and they expect me to wear one. To the point that they don't even mention it at all. But, my daughter saw me for the first time in my Dark Brown Federation last night and said she really liked it. My older daughter said it was handsome. Wife even said she liked it and while for some whack reason, likes my oil cloth Packer, she has never complimented one of my fedoras until I wore the Federation. But she wasn't shy in saying that my black Hampton didn't work for me (I knew that already but wanted to show her it anyway).

    Think about it...when you met someone for the first time and if that person was wearing a decent hat, you would just think that's "him". It's the newness from your old cronies and that goes away after a few weeks.

    Like Tom, I work in IT. We went from white shirts and ties to the polo gig as he stated. Sometimes, depending on what's going on (customer tours or whatever) it's still suits...but I don't wear a lid in the office. But to and from the car...I do. No matter what our apprearance guideline, I've worn a hat from the car to office and back. No one gives it a second thought. It becomes "you" and people will eventually be surprised to see you without a nice hat on your noggin. So give it some time...when they realize "it's you", it's not a problem.

    The first day or two may be awkward, but as Mcrider stated, more gals have mentioned how they like my fedoras than I have had the few buddies that gave me initial jabs. Never once did I ever get a compliment on a ball cap. The fedora compliments are a couple a week...well maybe a month...but you get the idea. That ain't Chinese math bucko

    Keep us posted please!!!
    "Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not." ~Samuel Johnson

  10. #10
    My Mail is Forwarded Here Rick Blaine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJWord
    Is it a difference in the feel of it on your head, or in the durability of the felt to the elements?

    Both. As well as the malleability and long term durability. Wool felts generally seem stiff(er), much coarser and more or less "set" in a single crown/brim configuration. An imperfect analogy but think of the difference between burlap and silk. Wool felt just seems like a "less fine" product than fur felt, quality-wise. I am sure that there is something going on on a microscopic level all down the line. That is why beaver is superior to hare and beaver belly superior to beaver. I am certain a hatter can speak to that better than I can & it may well be covered in the "felt hat basics" sticky too.
    "The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.
    Blessed is he who, in the name of charity and good will, shepherds the weak through the valley of the darkness,
    for he is truly his brother's keeper and the finder of lost children."

    -Jules Winnfield

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