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An Inquiry Regarding Presently Available Bowler Hats

Delthayre

One of the Regulars
Messages
258
Location
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
I wish to purchase as a surprise gift for a dear friend of mine, who will be graduating from college very soon, a new bowler, but am unsure as to which make I should purchase. A vintage one would, of course, be ideal, but given that my friend is a size 7 5/8, and I mean this to be a graduation gift, not a retirement one.

He does own a bowler, which he liked and looked very well wearing, but it is a cheap wool thing and the crown was accidentally crushed by some very heavy books whilst lying on a shelf, thus it is now beyond reconstruction, or at the very least wouldn't be worth restoring.

I then must ask if anyone here might suggest the best source of a new bowler for him. While price is a concern, I have a fairly generous sum saved away for such purposes, so I hope to have considerable options at hand. I had intended to purchase a Christy's bowler for him, which should indicate fairly well the sort of price that I intend to pay, but as I am wanting for particular knowledge on the topic, I thought it best that I call upon the information that the members of this lounge might have at hand to aid in my decision. Suggestions and facts regarding both brands and vendors are invited.

-----

And as a secondary inquiry, does anyone know if American vendors that sell Christy's hats adjust for the differences between American and British sizes such that if I were to purchase a Christy's bowler from the like of Miller Hats in 7 5/8, I would get what is really, if my understanding is correct, a UK 7 1/2, or would I by so acting end up with a hat that is the equivalent of an American 7 3/4? I would expect them to, but I prefer not to presume when a possibility for errors clearly exists, especially when dealing with online retailers.
 

Davidson

One of the Regulars
Messages
153
Location
US
Christy's is of course the obvious choice. I believe the sizes used by Miller are US sizes, even for Christy's. But you would always ask them to verify during ordering. If the bowler wearer is used to a wool felt derby, then he might be surprised by the stiffness of the Christy's. Please see http://www.millerhats.com/hatcare_index/derbycare.html

The Miller bowler is built to be more conforming to the head. I'm sure there are others as well. Just something to consider.

Also, I enjoyed your writing, it was a pleasure to read.
 

WEEGEE

Practically Family
Messages
996
Location
Albany , New York
Size and quality

I own a Christy's bowler (black) and it is tagged at 7 1/4 (English) and measures 23 1/4 inches or a US 7 3/8. Its a fine hat. Also own a Miller bowler in grey tagged as a 7 3/8 that measures out at 23 5/8 or a US 7 1/2 ( so the Miller seems to be tagged for size in the English system) .
The Miller is of good quility much softer then the Christy's. Still my best derby/bowlers are my vintage ones a 1920's Stetson lined and a Mallory from the 30's unlined i presume for summer wear.

http://www.hatsuk.com/hatsuk/hatsukhtml/bible/hatsize.htm


Most regards,

WeeGee
 

besdor

Vendor/Sponsor
Messages
1,726
Location
up north
To my knowledge , Christys bowlers are not made in the UK anymore . We used to carry them a few years ago and we were told that the hats were now being made in China. I can't verify this this though.
I have seen some bowlers made in Italy by Guerra as well as Lagomarsino from Argentina. But the best ones out there are the vintage hats found on Ebay. The good thing is that there are a lot of them out there because they lasted a long time due to their rigid structure. Be very particular when buying a vintage one. I have a few that look as if they were never worn .


Steven
www.bencraft.com
 

Delthayre

One of the Regulars
Messages
258
Location
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Impurity of exemplification

The Locke bowler seems rather nice, but at that cost with present exchange rates, I think that I must eliminate that option. Are there any other makes or vendors that would be particularly worth considering?

A vintage hat would, of course, be my preference. But size 7 5/8 (or equivalent) hats seem to be rather difficult to come by, so I have guessed that waiting on such an opportunity would be slightly futile. A situation that is exacerbated by the frustrating ignorance of easily found hat terminology among sellers. Bowlers, at least as of late, seem to have a particular problem of being listed with dimensions other'n circumferences (i.e. 7 3/4"x 6 3/8" instead of a circumference or size, and I confess I know not how to calculate such from those figures)
 

Topper

Vendor
Messages
297
Location
England
As far as UK Hatters:


Olney: Softer Bowler http://www.olney-headwear.com/catalogue/catalogue.asp?action=hat&hat=E190&cat=11, which has a flat brim, that allows easier "at home" confirming to own desired shape" but does not have a blind stitched brim binding unlike the Christys.

Olney is a lot softer which would possibly moreso suit most fedora wearers. Also comes as a fur felt as standard there is no wool felt options. I order Olney on request.


Christys': is a stiff bowler - favoured by the English as we traditionally have a very rainy season so like to have our bowler stiff not soggy somewhat like our preverbal upper lip ;) Over the last couple of years whilst remaining a good product - the same model has varied slightly with production runs, and as such i would recommend trying one in a local shop if possible before buying to confirm your size is the same as what is presently produced ( the label inside shows both European, UK & US size, US being 1/8 bigger than UK).

Remember with Stiff hats ( Toppers/ Bowlers/ Boaters/ Pith ... hummm sell all of those the only one i sell that isn't stiff is my newly to be launched Smoking Cap range :D ) the shape of your head is equally important as to regualar/round/long oval. Unlike softer felt hats they can not easily confirm to a new head shape, and would need fitting by a hatter.

Christys comes in Wool or fur felt - be causious as big price difference and not always clearly labeled on some sites. The fur felt can also come with a soft "Hunting pad / Devon" instead of standard leather sweatband which is nicer to wear ( note: it is not a saftey riding hat).

www.christys-hats.co.uk presently shows my prices ( US shipping is Extra)


Lock: I do not deal with so cannot speak for.
Bates: I do not deal with so cannot speak for.
Failsworth: I am awaiting stock for review
Burgess: Hopefully will be reviewing in the Future


Bespoke - I can arrange for a traditional "true" hard shell bowler that is bespoke made and covered in fur felt - This i can get individually made but prices start around US$800 upwards

pip-pip
Doug
 

Delthayre

One of the Regulars
Messages
258
Location
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
If it but were another time

Thank you for that information, Topper, and of course thanks to the others for what they presented. I have some remaining considerations to broach, if my 'bumping' this thread can be suffered.

The Christy's bowler remains the leading candidate, and the stiffness is a desired trait in this instance, but I do worry that a bowler of like quality could be had for less through other sources.

I am, unfortunately, very restricted with regards to whence I can buy hats as there are not, to my knowledge, hatters in either Albany or Allentown, which are the two places which I am restricted to presently, so I must rely upon online retailers. I shall keep an optimistic outlook in that regard, at least, as I've had very good luck with those so far.

Topper said:
Christys comes in Wool or fur felt - be cautious as big price difference and not always clearly labeled on some sites. The fur felt can also come with a soft "Hunting pad / Devon" instead of standard leather sweatband which is nicer to wear ( note: it is not a safety riding hat).

I am falling into confusion by reason of a slight, as linguists say, syntactic ambiguity and I would be much obliged if you could offer a clarification. Does you mean to say that the variant with the hunting pad, which I had noted curiously in the past, is comfortabler than the variant with the sweatband, or vice versa?

And, if I may note, I will be looking forward to that line of smoking caps. I may well be in the market for the like of those soon.
 

Delthayre

One of the Regulars
Messages
258
Location
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
My secrete location has been discovered

WEEGEE said:
Delthayre,


We are in the same city. Give me a call. (518) 852-1306


(during the time frame of 11am-11pm)

WeeGee

I might try on Wednesday, if I can work the courage up. I have the silliest phobias and hang-ups about telephoning even the friendliest people.
 

Topper

Vendor
Messages
297
Location
England
Chrstys' Options.

1768 = Fur Felt, with Hunting Pad , colour black only "The Devon"
1889 = Fur Felt, leather sweatband, colour black only
1889w= Wool Felt, leather sweatband, colour black, brown or grey

The 1768 is nicer I think than the standard sweatband, whilst the leather is good, the pad is easier fitting as conforms to the shape of a head better.

1889 & 1889w style is the same ( though the brim curl is more prominent this last years), just outer felt is a different material. 1889 and 1768 have same outer fur felt just the lining/pad differs.

Internet preices: err on caution. Nothing can replace a proper fitting. Sizes can vary between production runs slighlty, and nearly always vary between makes. Sometime a hat maker is known to be slightly smaller, or larger. For off the shelf someone who is a 61cm soft fedora may need a 62cm Bowler due to being a long oval, merely to match the shape of the head. Internet retailers are often cheaper .... I have sold to the US frequently :) Though It is always recommended you trying on a hat before you buy otherwise just end up paying additional postage fees.
 

besdor

Vendor/Sponsor
Messages
1,726
Location
up north
Topper, since you are located in England ,can you clarify some information(or misinformation) for me. Are there any factories still producing hats there? I know that caps and similar cut and sewn are still made in the UK but I was told that hats were basicaly a thing of the past .







Steven
www.bencrafthats.com
 

Marco Felth

New in Town
Messages
2
Location
Madrid, Spain
Christy's Bowler Fit

Hello there!

My name is Marco and I'm from Madrid, Spain. Nice to meet you all.
A few months ago I went to a hatshop with a relative's Christy's fur bowler hat. It was tagged as 60, but when measured, they said 58. It just fitted right to me (I am 57cm) from back to front, but it was to wide in both sides. They said that if I asked for the 59cm in Christy's, It would be too small.
When I got my own 60cm bowler, we had to put strips in both sides, to fill the empty. But it wasn't enough yet, and had to put strips also in front and back.
I can't help thinking that perhaps a 59cm would have fitted me right!
What do you think, guys? Should I sell it and get another one or am I just to obsessed?

Thank you

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zetwal

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,343
Location
Texas
Hello there!My name is Marco and I'm from Madrid, Spain. Nice to meet you all.

Hello and welcome ... :yo:

If you had to use spacers to adjust the hat front to back and side to side, it is indeed too big for you. Even though it's not always easy to find a hat that fits just right, I prefer to wear hats that fit (and to my eye are proportioned) properly. If you are comfortable with how it feels and looks, maybe it's not worth worrying about at this time. It's your own comfort that is the final judge. All else being equal, I would prefer a hat that's a little large over one that's too tight.
 

mrwilmoth

Familiar Face
Messages
58
Location
Redlands, CA
Christys are now owned by Dorfman Pacific and are not the hat they once were. Many corners are cut and they use lots of glue on the interior.
 

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