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Akubra (or other) rain-day commuter hat recommendation and / or Stylemaster tweaks

thirdofthree

New in Town
Messages
6
Location
Chicago
I've spent endless hours trolling through new and old TFL posts gleaning bits of information here and there, enjoying the many pictures posted (and wishing many of the older "missing" ones were still available), and checking out basic specs on a variety of hats from here and websites like Akubra, David Morgan, Everything Australian, etc., and generally enjoying all the pictures and commentary.

I've owned an acorn fawn Stylemaster for the past year or so, which I generally like, but: I find it a touch too formal for my tastes, I'd prefer a narrower ribbon / band, and I'm considering a slightly wider brim. Here's me in the Stylemaster (apologies for the incandescent lighting):

2015-02-12_akbura-sm_zps5979ade2.jpg


And with the trench, pre-beard:

akbura_sm_trench_zps12d03793.jpg


I figure I have two options: modify the Stylemaster (accepting its 2.5" brim) or buy a new hat.

(To skip all the background and over-thinking, jump to the bottom for my specific questions.)

My intended usage, and the traits for which I'm looking in a hat:

  • Business casual rain hat to wear in rainy / threatening weather with my olive Burberry trench coat or super light weight khaki trench coat for walking to and from the train during my downtown Chicago commute. This hat will be primarly my rainy-day hat, with only occasional other, casual use.
  • Middle of the road styling: not too formal, not too country.
  • Some sort of brown / fawn-ish color, not too light, not too green.
  • Brim in the 2.75" - 3.0" range, ideally bound, which I'll wear turned down all the time. Not worried about sun coverage with this hat, just rain, and I find my 2.5" Stylemaster brim just a bit short for my tastes. I suspect 3.25" and more would be too much.
  • Some taper to the crown, as I'm not yet at a point where I feel comfortable with a full-blown, untapered crown that some of you sport so well.
  • As cool as possible, so I may wear in warmer rainy weather; I will not wear it for warmth, ever. (If I need warmth, I switch to wool flat caps, with or without earflaps, for warmth...unless it's raining, in which case it's warm enough to wear a fur felt hat). This is potentially related to...
  • Ideally, I'd like eyelets for ventilation to keep cooler during warmer rainy days. I've found they don't do all that much, but they surely don't hurt. One thing I can't tell, not having access to a variety of hats in person, is whether hat A with eyelets but thicker felt would be cooler / warmer than hat B with thinner felt, but no eyelets.
  • Not terribly concerned with the hat band, as I can always change it, but overall I prefer thin (0.5") ribbon or simple leather band (ideally not braided).
  • Perfectly happy to tweak or re-bash the crown, and I no doubt eventually will do so (even if only minimally), irrespective of the hat.

Based on all of the above, I'm leaning towards the following Akubras, in roughly the following order:

1. Stylemaster, modified

Swap out the 1.25" ribbon for a thin (~0.5") ribbon of the same color or even a simple leather band (perhaps a leather band would look funky, given the more formal overall styling). The 2.5" brim is long enough to be effective for me in the rain, so I don't have to have the wider brim. Another thing I don't like about the Stylemaster: the shape of the rear brim when snapped down. I prefer a more outback-style slope of the brim in the back, rather than this:

akbura_sm_brim_down_zpseeee9df9.jpg


Is it possible to shape the rear brim to be more outback-like?

2. Angler

Overall, I find the styling reasonably middle of the road. Nice, basic, understated band. 3" brim, cut edge rather than bound, not a deal breaker. Available in a color I like: regency fawn.

3. Leisure Time

Overall, I find the styling (again) reasonably middle of the road. Not too crazy about the band, but I might like it in person, and I could always swap it out. 2.75" brim, cut edge rather than bound, not a deal breaker. Also available in a color I like: regency fawn.

4. Campdraft

Nice styling, but perhaps too fancy / formal for my tastes (very much a personal view, as I recognize the thin brim and overall styling is considered fairly casual within the broader spectrum). I think I like the thin ribbon (tried temporarily folding my Stylemaster ribbon in half in the front, and quite liked it). 2.88"-ish bound brim, a bonus. Not crazy about the taupe fawn color, thinking it's a bit too light for my tastes, but it might be okay (will need to troll the archives for more photos in natural light). I gather the CD is fairly thin / soft / flexible felt, which appeals to me, and perhaps renders moot the desire for eyelets as ventilation. Not crazy about the non-tapered crown, but unsure to what degree I may taper with a rebash. Also not sure how the CD would look with the brim turned down all around.

5. Banjo Paterson

Middle of the road styling, "Heritage" quality felt. Acceptable band (and different, depending on DM or EA). 3" brim cut edge rather than bound, not a deal breaker. But as best as I've found, not available in a color I like. I find the Heritage Fawn too light for my tastes. Were it not for the color issue, this would probably be my #2 choice vying with / behind the Angler.


So, my main questions:

  1. What is the thickness / weight / stiffness of the Angler felt relative to, for example, the Stylemaster? Likewise for the other models listed.
  2. Is it possible to re-bash a crown like the CD so it has more taper, or is the taper (or lack thereof) not much tweakable by bashing? (It seems obvious to me that you can't remove taper with a bash, but not as clear whether or not it's possible to add taper with a bash.)
  3. Is it possible to re-shape the Stylemaster's rear brim to be more outback-like?
  4. Recommendations for a Chicago-area hat shop that will swap out my Stylemaster ribbon for a thin (~0.5") ribbon of the same color? Alternatively, recommendations on sources for leather bands (presuming I could replace the band myself)?
  5. Any particular pros or cons I've missed, specifically with respect to felt weight / ventilation / style?

Thanks, all!

Off I go to continue digging through old threads...
 

KyleK

One of the Regulars
Messages
172
Location
Philadelphia
1. Angler is a much stiffer, definitively outdoors hat. I have one, it's great for camping, fishing, etc.

2. You can make a deep c-crown or diamond bash on a CD and then really push in the sides or go for big dents so it's not so squared off from a front view. After a little wear and some rain the Imperial CD's start to taper a bit anyway - the angles "mellow" with age. I have a 1-2 year old deluxe that has not exhibited that behavior very much.

3. Yes, I've flattened a brim on an old hat using a thin towel as a buffer and steaming with an iron on an ironing board. Didn't take much! Wasn't perfect, but not offensive. Alternatively, see below.

4. Optimo Hats in Chicago would probably change a ribbon and re-flange your brim to a different style.

5. An Akubra Sydney is an option, too. It's pretty much a Stylemaster that comes open crown and without a bound brim. Same brim flange, but in Regency Fawn it's pretty casual and would serve your purposes.

I'm pretty sure I've been where your at as far as what you want from a hat. Go for a tawny or silverbelly CD. It'll feel large at first, but you'll get over it. If you want a chocolate brown get the Stetson Premiere Stratoliner since I don't think Akubra's making the mid-brown anymore. My opinion, fwiw, is that a fuller crown hat would look much better on you. Good luck!
 

tommyK

One Too Many
Messages
1,789
Location
Berwick, PA
I'm pretty sure I've been where your at as far as what you want from a hat. Go for a tawny or silverbelly CD. It'll feel large at first, but you'll get over it. If you want a chocolate brown get the Stetson Premiere Stratoliner since I don't think Akubra's making the mid-brown anymore. My opinion, fwiw, is that a fuller crown hat would look much better on you. Good luck!

+1 here, The Stylemaster crown seems low on you (this may be me projecting my taste here). A Campdraft, Bushman (has eyelets by the way) or Stratoliner would be better and more casual in look. I will wear these hats with jeans and a t-shirt at times. Ultimately bigger brims are just more practical in terms of sun and rain protection
 

thirdofthree

New in Town
Messages
6
Location
Chicago
Kyle, RJR, tommyK -- thank you all for your feedback, both detailed and seconded.

tK -- I neglected the Bushman since I thought the crown was even bigger than the CD, but I gather the crowns are both 5.5" (though I've seen conflicting heights for both). It's also a wider brim, at 3.25". But I definitely prefer the Bushman's Nullabor Tan to the Campdraft's Taupe Fawn (if only the CD was still available in mid-brown the decision would be done). Hmmm...maybe the slightly wider Bushman brim at 3.25" would be okay, too.

Do you guys think a 3.25" brim would look too big on me for my intended usage? You've seen a couple pics, and I'm 5'11", 195 lbs, if that helps. Thoughts?

Argh, now the Squatter (after a swap to a thinner ribbon) has caught my eye, too. Decisions, decisions!
 

tommyK

One Too Many
Messages
1,789
Location
Berwick, PA
For comparison I'm 5' 10" 200lbs;

2015-02-13141832_zps6fc5f701.jpg 2015-02-13141915_zpse2431d73.jpg
Bushman and Campdraft

To me the Bushman is in the cowboy hat realm, the Campdraft more fedora but they're close

2015-02-13141558_zps64c084c7.jpg
 
Last edited:
Messages
10,523
Location
DnD Ranch, Cherokee County, GA
Thin ribbons are considered "country" hats, as opposed to wider ribboned "city" hats = hats for dressing up & going into town....

The Bushman is more of a drovers model where Campdraft is closer to a fedora.
Remember, Campdrafting is Australia's version of reined cowhorse so it too is "cowboy" slanted...
 

Fed in a Fedora

Practically Family
Messages
738
Location
Dixie, USA
"I figure I have two options: modify the Stylemaster (accepting its 2.5" brim) or buy a new hat."

Stylemaster looks a bit small for you - I think that you need a new hat.


"Ideally, I'd like eyelets for ventilation to keep cooler during warmer rainy days. I've found they don't do all that much, but they surely don't hurt. One thing I can't tell, not having access to a variety of hats in person, is whether hat A with eyelets but thicker felt would be cooler / warmer than hat B with thinner felt, but no eyelets."

Eyelets help, but they also shift the hat in tone. I like the Campdraft for the balance of business casual from outdoors, but everyone has a different concept here. I have a Bluegrass CD with the brim turned down all round, so it can be done, but most CD wearers stay with the fedora look. The hump wants to be there, but water steam and work can lessen it greatly and it will be down turned.

"Perfectly happy to tweak or re-bash the crown, and I no doubt eventually will do so (even if only minimally), irrespective of the hat."

Tweaking the crown is common and with the Squatter or Campdraft, you can use a variety of crown options to tailor the look to your body and head. Squatter comes in Regency Fawn.

"Based on all of the above, I'm leaning towards the following Akubras"

Akubras should do very well for your needs - they are hats that protect you rather than you worrying about them.

"Stylemaster"

This hat does not fit your need in my view.

"Swap out the 1.25" ribbon for a thin (~0.5") ribbon of the same color or even a simple leather band (perhaps a leather band would look funky, given the more formal overall styling). The 2.5" brim is long enough to be effective for me in the rain, so I don't have to have the wider brim. Another thing I don't like about the Stylemaster: the shape of the rear brim when snapped down. I prefer a more outback-style slope of the brim in the back"

The rear of the brim can be reshaped to a degree. If you buy a Campdraft, you will have the same issue, but it can be fixed with time and work.

"Angler
Overall, I find the styling reasonably middle of the road. Nice, basic, understated band. 3" brim, cut edge rather than bound, not a deal breaker. Available in a color I like: regency fawn."

Coober Pedy has a bound brim, nice band and is available in your Regency Fawn. This would be my suggestion for you - although it is a wider brim...

"Leisure Time
Overall, I find the styling (again) reasonably middle of the road. Not too crazy about the band, but I might like it in person, and I could always swap it out. 2.75" brim, cut edge rather than bound, not a deal breaker. Also available in a color I like: regency fawn."

"Campdraft
Nice styling, but perhaps too fancy / formal for my tastes (very much a personal view, as I recognize the thin brim and overall styling is considered fairly casual within the broader spectrum). I think I like the thin ribbon (tried temporarily folding my Stylemaster ribbon in half in the front, and quite liked it). 2.88"-ish bound brim, a bonus. Not crazy about the taupe fawn color, thinking it's a bit too light for my tastes, but it might be okay (will need to troll the archives for more photos in natural light). I gather the CD is fairly thin / soft / flexible felt, which appeals to me, and perhaps renders moot the desire for eyelets as ventilation. Not crazy about the non-tapered crown, but unsure to what degree I may taper with a rebash. Also not sure how the CD would look with the brim turned down all around."

The CD looks best in BlueGrass which you express a concern about, but it is not all that green, more like a gray/green. The back can be turned down, but it starts out with the hump and you have to work that out. The open crown gives you lots of options. I like to swap the band for a true 1 inch band as I think it looks better than the Open Road style of ribbon.

"Banjo Paterson
Middle of the road styling, "Heritage" quality felt. Acceptable band (and different, depending on DM or EA). 3" brim cut edge rather than bound, not a deal breaker. But as best as I've found, not available in a color I like. I find the Heritage Fawn too light for my tastes. Were it not for the color issue, this would probably be my #2 choice vying with / behind the Angler."

Nice hat, but there is another option to resolve the color problem. For a totally off the wall comment - the Bianca is the same hat with better felt hat which comes in Hazelnut, but the bow is on on the other side. A talented person or competent hatter could replace the ribbon and you can ignore the angled seam to the sweat band. Hey, I just want a nice hat and the hat body is the hat body...

"So, my main questions
Is it possible to re-bash a crown like the CD so it has more taper, or is the taper (or lack thereof) not much tweakable by bashing? (It seems obvious to me that you can't remove taper with a bash, but not as clear whether or not it's possible to add taper with a bash.)"

Yes and no - you can adjust the look with a deep centercrease or some variations on diamond creases, but taper is taper.

"Is it possible to re-shape the Stylemaster's rear brim to be more outback-like?"

From what I have heard, it is a stiffer hat than the CD and the flanging is tighter over a shorter brim, so maybe possible, but difficult to totally remove the hump.

What about the Sydney in open crown? David Morgan has it in a nice Regency Fawn: http://www.davidmorgan.com/product_info.php?products_id=92

"Any particular pros or cons I've missed, specifically with respect to felt weight / ventilation / style?"

You are wanting a winter and summer hat at the same time in your environment. This is possible for Guam, but not Chicago. Having lived in NW Indiana and worked in Chicago, I suggest that you need to think about having separate hats. One cannot do go from frozen and snowy teens to 100+ and dry with the same headgear.
When there, I had a nice light Dobbs Panama and a couple of good Stetson felts (Downs) which were okay for dry times, but the wet times caused them to look a bit rumpled. (Stetson quality was not great at that time and I was not aware of Akubra.) Felts for the trench coat times and Panama for the short sleeve days.

But, I am confident that you would get to that point if you kept hanging out here...

Fed
 
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Bad Co

One of the Regulars
Messages
135
Location
USA
Based on what you say your looking for the Squatter with the brim turned down would fit the bill in my opinion
 

johnnycanuck

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,959
Location
Alberta
With your face I think the cattleman would be a great choice. But if you don't want to take the plunge with straight sided hat the angler is a great choice if you are looking at that outback/adventure look. Two others that look just as good in different ways the Coober Pedy, my sister owns and the Coolabah I own. Love the croc band on that thing. Great choices for fantastic sun protection, eyelets for ventilation, sloped brim and center bash for water drainage.
My two cents worth
Johnny
 

tropicalbob

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,956
Location
miami, fl
Some time ago I was in a hat shop with a good friend who's a very talented painter. He explained to me why certain lines and angles worked for some people and not for others. Really fascinating. When I first got into hats I bought a Borsalino with a slightly slanted body, but wasn't crazy about the way it looked. After considering my friend's advice, all my hats now are wider, as I have a wider face.
 

thirdofthree

New in Town
Messages
6
Location
Chicago
Thank you, all, for your responses.

I'm going to give it some more thought based on all the helpful replies, but I'm pretty strongly leaning towards the Squatter.

The outback styles I think are just too casual, and most seem to have fairly stiff felt. I'm sure they would soften up over time, but one of the things I like about my Stylemaster is that the felt is pretty soft already.

The Squatter also is available in a color I like: Regency Fawn (in 3 mos, anyway; I'm not in a rush). It has a bound, significantly wider, brim. (~3" all the way around or 3" front/back + 2.8" sides, depending on which website specs one believes.) As a bonus, I can get it open crown. And I've seen multiple comments about the lightweight / soft felt used for this hat (ideal for me, since I don't need the hat for warmth). Finally, I can always swap out the ribbon if I want a bit more country or outback look.

Thanks again, all!
 
Messages
11,562
Location
Southern California
...The outback styles I think are just too casual, and most seem to have fairly stiff felt. I'm sure they would soften up over time, but one of the things I like about my Stylemaster is that the felt is pretty soft already...
I currently have four Akubra hats (two Fed IVs and two Campdrafts), and out-of-the-box all four were rather stiff. In fact, the last Campdraft I received seemed to have more stiffener applied to it than the other three combined. But, with shaping and normal handling, all four have softened up quite a bit; not "vintage" soft, but softer than when I first received them. So, regardless of which Akubra hat you purchase, don't be surprised if it's stiffer than you'd like when you get it--it'll soften up eventually.
 

thirdofthree

New in Town
Messages
6
Location
Chicago
Thanks once more for all the input. I placed an order for the Squatter in Regency Fawn today, open crown. Start the clock ticking on the ~3 month wait. :)

Now I just have to resist the urge to also buy a Coober Pedy (or any of 4 or so others mentioned in this thread I quite like)!
 

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