Hi, I found this place and registered to post to get some input about what “she who must be obeyed,” AKA “The Mrs.,” has agreed to get me for Christmas this year … a first-quality hat.
As a point of introduction, I'm in my mid-50s and have worn hats practically all my life; in my 1-year-old photo, I'm wearing a straw hat that looks something like a homburg. I've had my share of the dreaded baseball caps over the years … don't incinerate me on my first post, but I still wear 'em, although most of my collection isn't your typical junk from today, they were made by a place called the Cooperstown Cap Co. that no longer is in business, which custom made old-school, old-team caps (for example, one of mine is 1939 Washington Senators) the old-fashioned way by hand, with glove-leather sweatbands, etc. I've got numerous wool driving caps that I wear all the time. And back in the 1980s, when “Raiders of the Lost Ark” came out, I had a gray wool felt “official” Indiana Jones fedora that I basically wore until it disintegrated.
However, I've always wanted a really, really, really good felt dress hat. And I've kind of had the itch since I surprised the Mrs. with a hat of her own last year, a derby (wool felt, but still nice quality), which she wears all the time (she had a cheapo one, really like a Halloween costume hat, that she wore when we got married 20 years ago and looked nice in it; it eventually got torn up and tossed away and I had the idea to get that one for her last year, and she appreciated it more than anything I think I've ever given her for Christmas). I'd really love to show off a good hat myself, but at the same time I'd love to go out with her with our respective chapeaus on, and I bet we'd make an impression.
First off, before seeking input, I have a very large head … right at 24 inches on the dot and 61 centimeters on the dot, from both my wife and I taking measurements. My very large head also is very round, like a basketball sitting on my neck, and my face is round as well.
I am looking for a hat in medium to dark gray or charcoal; the Mrs. says I should get something brown to go with my hazel eyes, but I'm thinking gray will be more versatile as far as the whole look, not just coordination with my eyes.
1. Fedora vs. homburg: When I started looking at this, what I was focusing on was a C crown (4 inches or so) fedora, with a 2 3/8 to 2 5/8 brim, your prototypical old-school fedora. However, I'm wondering if the homburg, and I've seen the threads here about how they are more formal hats, would work better for me, given my large head and round face (I've seen photos of folks wearing their homburgs that lead me to believe that might be the case)? I love fedoras, but to me they look better on folks with angular faces, and that ain't me (my face wasn't quite as full in the 1980s so the one I had was OK). And I certainly wouldn't want one with a very high crown, I'm thinking 4 or a little bit more, absolute tops. Any advice?
2. Wool vs. fur: I know fur is better. Our budget is $150 for this give or take a bit, so fur is doable price-wise (I'd absolutely consider used, but the pickins appear to be slim at eBay, etc., in large sizes). The thing is, I'm finding a lot more options for my big cranium, in the styles I like, in wool than I am in fur. Would it be blasphemy to go with a good quality, well-made wool to at least get my foot in the door on this?
3. Sizing: The closest legitimate hat store to me is 120 miles away and I'm not likely to get there, this will be an online purchase sight unseen. I've looked at a jillion different hat dealer sites, and their respective size charts, and there's no consensus on what size the measurements I've cited would be, some have 7 5/8 and some have 7 3/4. Am I correct in assuming, especially since I hate too-tight hats, that I should go with the larger size? Does the sizing tape that apparently can be provided to tighten things up a bit if needed work well? And I'm aware of how wool hats shrink and that fur hats shrink as well; how does fur compare to wool as far as shrinkage rate?
4. Specific hats to look at: Anyone have any specific suggestions, given what I've said about head size, face shape, price range, etc., of particular brands and models of hats I might need to look at?
Sorry to be so long-winded, but any guidance here would be greatly appreciated, and thanks!!