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Requesting assistance in the details of my first Art Fawcett

Discussion in 'Hats' started by MattJH, Feb 11, 2009.

  1. MattJH

    MattJH One Too Many

    I'm particularly looking for help from those who already own a hat from Art Fawcett, as you'll all know the available felt colors.

    I will be ordering a featherweight "ArtLite" for daily use in the Philadelphia late spring, summer, and early autumn months -- from Straw Hat Day onward, to be specific. While I have two very nice panama fedoras from Panama Bob and a Stetson Koa gambler, I just strongly prefer felts over any other material. I'm only speaking for myself, but I feel like panamas and straws make me look older than I am.

    I do not intend to stash away this "ArtLite" for occasional use. I could never spend $305 to have something look nice in a box, you know? I just can't justify it. This is going to be worn every single day, regardless of what I'm wearing and regardless of forecaster warnings of precipitation. I intend to use this hat!

    I could easily ask Art these questions, but wanted to get a sort of round-table consensus of ideas to work off of. After all, once the hat is made, it's made and the process is over. I want to make sure everything is absolutely perfect.

    HURDLE #1: Deciding on a color. In the summer, I almost exclusively wear short-sleeved, button-down collared shirts of varying colors and designs along with khaki / beige / cream-colored shorts, low-cut no-show athletic socks, and a pair of sneakers (some outlandishly colored and some fairly plain). I want to choose a neutral color -- this hat is not for fashion, but for casual and practical wear. Art already mentioned his "Sahara" color. I'm wondering what your collective thoughts are, though, on a sort of all-purpose color that'll work with anything during the warm season.

    HURDLE #2: Dealing with my sweating during the particularly hot / hazy / humid Philadelphia summer. I know that the "ArtLite" comes unlined, instead having a label affixed to the top of the crown on the inside, so that's a great start. What methods are there, in addition to the leather sweatband, to protect the felt from wicking around the circumference, though? Perhaps this is a better question for Art -- whether or not he has any of that protective plastic stripping you find behind some of the higher-end vintage sweatbands, or if the width of his leather sweatbands are such that it would be unnecessary to add additional sweat protection.

    My final inquiry: If you have an Art Fawcett, is there anything you wish you would've had done that you only know now based on your own experience? It is highly likely that this will be my only Art Fawcett for a long, long time, and I'm a sucker for being extremely thorough. If possible, I'll definitely be getting a wind trolley. Aside from that, I'm drawing a blank.

    I look forward to everybody's input! Thanks to probably the most helpful corner of the Internet.
  2. carter

    carter I'll Lock Up

    DJ, I have 5 of Art's creation but none are in the Artlite felt. Here are some suggestions.

    1. A lighter color will be cooler. The Sahara should be fine.

    2. A reeded sweatband will take care of the wicking isssue.

    3. I suggest a 6" open crown and a brim of either 2 1/2 or 2 5/8".

    4. Two of my hats from Art have a raw edge. If I had it to do over, I'd get a bound edge every time.

    Hope this is helpful. Happy shopping. Carter
  3. Ah, what a wonderful dilemma to have, Dumbjaw!

    Looking at the photos you posted I feel that the 2 1/2 brim suits you better than the narrower ones. The Adam Executive looks like the best combination.

    I agree with Art that the Sahara would be a great all-around color. Beyond that, I'd be tempted to just let Art do his thing!

    But... since you intend to wear it in a wide variety of situations, I'd go with a raw edge. A bound edge tends to give a more formal air. If you do go with bound, make it a narrow binding. That will allow it to work well with casual clothes.

    The ribbon? Art has a knack for picking out the right color to go with the hat. I'd go with a gentle contrast rather than a sharp one. The width, for a more flexible look, probably shouldn't be very wide--1 1/2 inches or so, perhaps slight more to help balance a tall crown but not the full 2 inches.

    Just a few ideas off the top of my head... hope they help!

  4. Thwack

    Thwack Familiar Face

    I'll be curious to see where you end up on this project. If you are worried about the felt "sweating" through you could always opt to have it lined. I agree with Carter on the 6" open crown and the edge binding however I would lean toward the larger brim, 2 5/8 would probably look pretty good. As far as the ribbon goes after seeing the pictures from the Art Fawcett hall of fame I'd feel safe putting myself in his very capable hands.
  5. David Conwill

    David Conwill Call Me a Cab

    I'm intrigued. Nothing really to add, but I'd like to follow this thread as I really want a summer-weight felt to go with my tan cotton suit. I just feel that felt is more conservative than straw, and more suited to cities north of the Mason-Dixon line.

    Still can't justify laying out the scratch for a custom-made jobby, though. Maybe in a year or two.


  6. Thwack,

    I believe that his concern is more along the lines of soaking the sweatband, which then would lead to the felt wicking up the moisture from there. I sweat a lot myself, and have had this problem. It results in sweat-stained ribbons. :eek:

  7. Lite color cause dark colors draw heat & lite reflects it.
    12 ligne (1") ribbon is a good size, not too casual, not too dressy
    No more than a 6 ligne bound edge to give the ArtLite brim some reinforcement = those I have felt are LITE!
    2 5/8" wide brim, more for shading than for styling, anything thinner is all styling & no function
    I'd get a liner but ask it just be tucked under sweatband & not attached.
    In Georgia warmer season, I pop out the liner of felts for cooler wearing.
    There is perspiring then there is sweating. Sweating is what I do working around the ranch & no liner or reeded sweatband is going to stop that from wicking thru a felt hat. I've got beaters for that.
    Good luck Matt!
  8. Jazzcat

    Jazzcat New in Town

    I actually am in the same situation as you Dumbjaw. I spoke with Art and emailed a few FL members for input. I ended up going with a lightweight "trackside" in Sahara, a 2.5" raw brim with a 12 ligne ribbon. I live in Florida and like you, this hat will be my workhorse fedora for most of the year. I should have it in a few weeks and will post pictures as well.
  9. kaosharper1

    kaosharper1 One Too Many

    Light Colors

    My recent VS is in his silverbelly which is a greyer version than the Akubra silverbelly. Its very versatile in that it goes with browns and greys equally and you can use a lot of different colored ribbons. Mine has a silver hat band and a tan brim binding. Its also a light felt, and it is light and soft, but still keeps its form.

    Light colors would probably be best in the warm months, and I've tended to light colors since I moved to Pasadena, but they do show dirt and fingermarks so that's the downside.
  10. Dj you could always just let Art know that you want it to go with as much as possible and let him come up with it. Everyone that has left it completely up to Art has been pleased! :)
  11. Bound edge or not?

    Why not a welted edge. Works with everything (not just formal like a bound edge) and more stable than a raw edge and nearly looks the same. I'f no expert, but the hats I have with welted edges look good and perform well.
  12. animator

    animator One of the Regulars

    My "ArtLite" hat felt color is "Natural" and it has a welt edge. I think it is the perfect combination. Natural is a really great color. The VS (dress weight) hat in my avatar is "Mojave"... also a nice color... but harder to wear on a daily basis.

    If I was only going to have one VS hat I'd go with Natural color felt.
  13. lc1484

    lc1484 One of the Regulars


    email Art with those pics and tell him what you want....like Indy said..he will know exactley what would suit you and give you some options...

    I have 2 VS hats, the Goodfellow and the custom one I just made...you won't be disappointed in a hat that is in his line or a custom made one..

    I think I liked the 5 1/4 open crown, with 2 1/4 brim all around...that's what I made on my custom and both my VS's have bounded brims..it looks classy..

  14. univibe88

    univibe88 One Too Many

    Definitely make sure Art sees those pictures. I sent him some pictures when he made my first hat. He is very good with proportion. My opinion is that the 6 x 2.5 Adam looks best on you.
  15. MattJH

    MattJH One Too Many

    Thank you very much, everyone!

    The picture / dimensions part has been removed now. I'm still interested in input regarding color and the sweat issue, if anybody has any further input. Otherwise, I've got some good ideas now.
  16. Topdog

    Topdog Familiar Face

    Just curious, why did you removethe pictures? i didn't get a chance to seethem.:(
  17. Color; Sahara is a nice light tan, and it sounds great for the color pallet you plan on for summer. My only other suggestions would be Mojave (an even lighter tan) or light blue for a dash of color.

    I can't help you with the sweating issue. I avoid felt in the summer.

    You did ask about "regrets" and experiences. I have many Art Fawcett hats, and only one regret (but a fixable one). The ArtLite I have has a strange sort of nubuck/flat finish sweatband that, while not as warm as a normal sweatband, just soaks up sweat like a sponge and looks disgusting. It clings uncomfortably to my head when it's damp, and I'm embarrassed to have people see it. I don't know if Art even still uses these, but to be safe I advise asking for a normal sweatband like he uses in his standard weight hats.

    As an aside, let me also echo some previous sentiments by saying that bound and welt edges, especially on this felt, would be my preference.
  18. Jabos

    Jabos A-List Customer

    Dumbjaw-I am in the same boat as you and thank you for this thread. Removable liner? Is that possible with Art? If so, I think that sounds like a perfect solution.

    I would like to know just how much difference there is between the light felt and the normal with regard to warmth. Can someone with both from Art comment? If the difference is negligible I would think the normal felt would be more durable. I've seen many people indicate his normal felt hats are like tanks, and I hate to give up that strength if there isn't much perceptible difference in how much hotter the normal felt is during warm weather wear.
  19. MattJH

    MattJH One Too Many

    Apologies. I just don't like to post images of my face on the internet. It's a career-based thing. Send me a PM if you'd like to see them, though!
  20. Art stitches in his liners. By snipping the stitches, you instantly have a removable liner. :D

    There is a definite difference between the felt weights. I'm the kind of person who can get hot and sweaty in the middle of a blizzard, so I bought my featherweight expecting to wear it in all but the coldest weather. I was wrong. I can only wear it in 40 degrees F or higher, otherwise I feel the wind cut through it. And I can wear it in warmer temps than I can tolerate the regular weight.

    A full liner might actually help with the cold, And the removal of a liner, even in the standard weight, will help in warmer weather. Personally, I find straw better for the summer, but if you must go felt, the featherweight is the way to go.

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