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Proper hat, proper apparel?

Discussion in 'Hats' started by JJWord, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. JJWord

    JJWord Familiar Face

    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!
  2. Goose.

    Goose. Practically Family

    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. :D

    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.
  3. Rick Blaine

    Rick Blaine My Mail is Forwarded Here

    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.
  4. 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! :D
  5. JJWord

    JJWord Familiar Face

    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.
  6. Rick Blaine

    Rick Blaine My Mail is Forwarded Here

    ...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).
  7. JJWord

    JJWord Familiar Face

    Is it a difference in the feel of it on your head, or in the durability of the felt to the elements?
  8. Welcome, JJ!

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

    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!

  9. Goose.

    Goose. Practically Family

    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!!! :)
  10. Rick Blaine

    Rick Blaine My Mail is Forwarded Here

    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.
  11. JJ, go for it...

    I just started wearing fedoras last summer after a dermatologist read me the riot act (while removing a small bit of "pre-cancerous" temple). But in reality, that just gave me the excuse to do something I'd wanted to do for a long time.

    Since I teach at a college, I was able to wear some cheap (and I do mean cheap) straw fedoras during the summer break, with no one around, to get the feel of them. Once fall came around, I bought a good fur felt fedora (actually, 2 modern Stetson fedoras). And now I'm wearing an Akubra Federation IV that I'm really enjoying. I only got one "Indy" at work, but from a friend who knew I'd know she was teasing. A few odd looks, but not many. And yesterday, standing around having a conversation with a couple of colleagues while wearing my Fed IV, the college president walked into view nearby...for the first time wearing his own black fedora. There were several double-takes from him to me--looks that said, "Am I missing something?" I haven't caught him yet to compliment him or find out what type of fedora he was wearing.

    In any case, wearing the lid will feel a little odd at first, but as you feel more and more comfortable with it, it will quickly become second nature. I feel naked going outside without a wide brim on my head now. And while the Stetsons were a convenient way to start, knowing what I know now, I definitely would have begun with Akubra's Fed IV or Stylemaster if I could do it all over again.

    Have fun--after all, it's only a hat!
  12. Goose.

    Goose. Practically Family

    PERFECT!!! :eusa_clap :eusa_clap
  13. JJWord

    JJWord Familiar Face

    Thank you sir for your story!

    After Rick mentioned the Akubra Campdraft I went looking. I'm not personally a fan of the porkie pie bash, but then I saw the Stylemaster on their site. Funny now that you mention it, it definately caught my eye. I'm now shifting my focus away from Bailey and toward a Stylemaster, or maybe an Angler. I can't afford a Fed IV at this point so unless I make a major find I'm not including it in my efforts.
  14. Just so you know... the Camp Draft comes open crowned [i.e. no crease]
    the pork pie is only in the adds.
    Check out some of the Camp Draft and Akubra threads, the Camp Draft takes a c-crown, center dent or diamond crease and the classic cattleman with ease.
    Please dont let the picture of the pork pie [not that there is anything wrong with that] turn you off.
    Good luck!
  15. What - you don't think Goose looks silly?

    Waitaminnit. I hear a motorcycle comin' up the street.

  16. carter

    carter I'll Lock Up

    Here's to the man with a different crease.

    I think Goose looks great ...all the time. That's my story and I'm stickin' to it! :p ;) :)
  17. I agree wholeheartedly with what Goose wrote.

    I've been wearing hats just about my whole life, and many different kinds, so whenever I show up in something new, it's kind of expected. IOW, habit bestows normalcy. Wear your hat(s) proudly, like theyre a part of your being, and thatll be the general consensus, at least after a little while. And the more you wear them, the more natural that 'natural' feel will become.
  18. Bob Smalser

    Bob Smalser One of the Regulars

    Don't worry about it.

  19. Carlisle Blues

    Carlisle Blues My Mail is Forwarded Here

    If you can walk around lookin' like your avatar then where is the question[huh]

    Life is short :(

    Hats are fun:D

    You will carry a certain mystique about you. Women will fall at your feet...;)
  20. JJWord

    JJWord Familiar Face

    Haha, my avatar is my youngest son at age 3. Imagine waking up from a nap on the couch to THAT about 3 inches from your face. And he was in full character.

    I think I've settled on an Akubra Campdraft in glen gray. Probably go through HD, but I need to square something away first. I kinda got a speeding ticket this weekend (76 in a 65) so my mad money fund might need to be diverted soon. Going to call my lawyer today first and see how this goes.

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