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Thread: The under-appreciated wool-felt hat

  1. #101
    I'll Lock Up scottyrocks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silvan View Post
    The nice thing about wearing a wool felt hat when you're driving a truck is that it will take any kind of beating you can throw at it, and bounce right back into shape. Run over it, have it blow off your head to land in a ditch, smack it into the bottom of a trailer, turn it inside out and throw it across the cab in a fit of road rage... Sure, it basically looks like a fancy horse blanket stuck on your head, but fine fur felts are just too delicate for this environment.
    I have found this to be completely untrue. In my experience, fur felt fedoras can take a beating, and then return to their original shape better than wool felts. After a rainstorm, a fur felt can be poked back into shape and left to dry, looking like it did before hand. A wool hat shrivels up into something that looks very little like its original shape. The brims get all wavy and the crown tapers unmercifully. They may last a long time, but they don't hold their shape nearly as well as furs, again, in my own experience.
    'There is a fine line between art and fondling.'
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  2. #102
    Call Me a Cab jlee562's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottyrocks View Post
    I have found this to be completely untrue. In my experience, fur felt fedoras can take a beating, and then return to their original shape better than wool felts. After a rainstorm, a fur felt can be poked back into shape and left to dry, looking like it did before hand. A wool hat shrivels up into something that looks very little like its original shape. The brims get all wavy and the crown tapers unmercifully. They may last a long time, but they don't hold their shape nearly as well as furs, again, in my own experience.
    I have to concur with this as well. Don't get me wrong, I had a wool stingy that I wore daily for a long time (and eventually it became a hand me down hat to a friend), but a good fur felt is more durable and you can steam it back into shape.
    ~Jared

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  3. #103
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    Quote Originally Posted by Undertow View Post
    AdamW - have you tried the Stetson Cashmere hats?

    The Fedora Store

    The only place I can find them on the web is the Fedora Store, however I've encountered them at two hat shops in Des Moines. They aren't bad hats, honestly. They're a little more luxurious than plain wool and yet much less expensive than fur. You might look into it.
    Nice call! That looks nice for sure. Sad they only seem to have that precise style, but hey, it's a nice style.

  4. #104
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    Since the Pachacuti hats are on sale at the moment I've decided to pull the trigger on a couple for use when I'm in the UK (I go back to visit family sometimes). So I'll have them delivered over there are try them out when I'm there next month. Can't hurt too much for 20-30 quid a pop. Only hat I have in the UK at the moment is a pretty nasty M&S one.

  5. #105
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    Since I promised pictures - here's the homburg:



    And here's the wool felt fedora, for comparison:



    Sorry for the poor pictures, bit tricky taking pictures of yourself in a mirror with an SLR...

  6. #106
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    Quote Originally Posted by jlee562 View Post
    Knudsen works with wool felt, though they deal most in Western hats.

    The Fedora Store also has customizable wool hats through Beaver Brand.
    Knudsen do actually have rather a lot of pretty fun styles in wool, now I look at their page. They have a wool Homburg which is rather more expensive than the Bailey one; maybe that'd be better quality. Thanks for that reference too!

    Guess I have a lot of spending, I'm sorry, research to do...

  7. #107
    Practically Family Gin&Tonics's Avatar
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    This is a fascinating thread, and extremely helpful/tantilizing for me. Being a relatively new "bold" wearer of hats, my currently collection includes the following:

    a crappy $10 straw hat I bought on a whim in Mexico, sort of a fedora style
    a blue with gray flecks cotton cloth trilby with a grey herringbone band that I bought on massive discount for $8.99 and wear almost daily
    a black wool felt homburg by Scala with leather sweatband and silk(satin?) lining and black grosgrain ribbon and bow
    and my oldest hat, a black western (slouch hat?) made, I think, of wool felt with a red silk lining that I received in highschool for christmas over a decade ago

    What's interesting is that I've worn that western hat on various camping trips and in horrible weather, it's been completely soaked with rain, sweat, worn in hot sun etc, and while the lining has discoloured over time and there's some salt stains (should remove those using tips from FL) the crown has not tapered nor the hat shrunk even one little bit, and the brim retains its shape beautifully. A few times it's been bent in funny ways because of where I have to store it, but it always bends back quite well. I'm fairly sure it's wool felt, and by the sounds of it, it's a special gem to hold up so well for so long.

    We'll see how well my homburg holds up. I'm not ethically opposed to wearing a fur hat, but over $100 for a hat is a mighty tough sell to my wife, who isn't a huge fan of my recent appreciation of fine dress clothing to begin with. It took convincing for her to be okay with me spending $34.50 plus shipping for the Homburg! It occurs to me that wool should be respected in the sense that it can be such an excellent "gateway" hat for those who wish to try wearing hats daily, or wish to try a new style, yet are apprehensive about how it may look or about investing so much in what may prove not to be their cup of tea. With a $30-$50 hat, if it turns out that you either don't like the particular style, or don't like wearing hats at all, no big loss! In my case, for example, I'm considering buying and wearing a bowler hat on a frequent basis, and I'd hate to shell out $255 for a Christy's fur felt bowler only to find that the style doesn't suit me and I don't like wearing it. If I buy a felt one for $50ish and end up rarely wearing it, well, that's no big deal.

    I'll try and post some pics of my good old western hat if I get a chance, as it certainly seems to have withstood the test of time.
    Last edited by Gin&Tonics; 03-19-2012 at 12:44 PM.
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  8. #108
    Call Me a Cab jlee562's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AdamW View Post
    Knudsen do actually have rather a lot of pretty fun styles in wool, now I look at their page. They have a wool Homburg which is rather more expensive than the Bailey one; maybe that'd be better quality. Thanks for that reference too!

    Guess I have a lot of spending, I'm sorry, research to do...
    The Knudsen hat would be custom made to your head measurements with a leather sweat and proper ribbon work. A lot of the factory made wool hats don't have the attention to detail that a custom hatter can provide.
    ~Jared

    '''Greed: It ain't goin anywhere,' they should have that across a big billboard in Times Square!"
    Joe Strummer
    1952-2002

  9. #109
    I'll Lock Up scottyrocks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gin&Tonics View Post
    What's interesting is that I've worn that western hat on various camping trips and in horrible weather, it's been completely soaked with rain, sweat, worn in hot sun etc, and while the lining has discoloured over time and there's some salt stains (should remove those using tips from FL) the crown has not tapered nor the hat shrunk even one little bit, and the brim retains its shape beautifully. A few times it's been bent in funny ways because of where I have to store it, but it always bends back quite well. I'm fairly sure it's wool felt, and by the sounds of it, it's a special gem to hold up so well for so long.
    Just curious. Does this hat have a wire in its brim?
    'There is a fine line between art and fondling.'
    - J.H.P.

  10. #110
    New In Town HHCassius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gin&Tonics View Post
    ...I'm not ethically opposed to wearing a fur hat, but over $100 for a hat is a mighty tough sell to my wife, who isn't a huge fan of my recent appreciation of fine dress clothing to begin with. It took convincing for her to be okay with me spending $34.50 plus shipping for the Homburg!
    I'm so with you on this...

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