Anyone still make a soft Open Road/Alessandria style hat?

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Richard Warren, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. Richard Warren

    Richard Warren Practically Family

    Messages:
    667
    Location:
    Bay City
    I was in the hat store the other day and came across a very nice Borsalino Alessandria (sp?). It was a steel grey color and very light, soft, and pliable. Just what I wanted except three sizes too small. I was told that it had been sitting on the store shelves for a while.

    The salesman showed me some newer hats of the same model but different colors. They were much thicker, harder, and heavier.

    So, the question is whether it is now possible to get a soft, light, pliable, Open Road style hat (non-vintage), either open Crowned or not so hard and stiff that it cannot be reshaped?

    Its possible some vendors still have soft Borsalinos in stock. Is there any vendor I can contact and rely on to tell me honestly what kind of stock he has?
     
  2. FurFeltFedora

    FurFeltFedora A-List Customer

    Messages:
    320
    Location:
    Great White North
    Well the Akubra Campdraft is an Open Road clone. That is to say, Akubra used to make the Open Road under license from Stetson years ago and they still make the same hat but call it the Campdraft.

    Not as soft as vintage (what is?) but open crowned and easily shaped. I've got two now, another on it's way and one more to order once the Spring comes.
     
  3. Jauntyone

    Jauntyone Practically Family

    Messages:
    790
    Location:
    Puy-de-Dôme, France
    I second the suggestion to buy a Campdraft. It's really amazing how much like a 1940s hat it is. The felt is a bit coarse, but pliable and rugged. From a few feet away, no-one notices the rougher finish on the felt; also you can lightly sand it and it makes a big difference. Great hat--but it does have a 2 3/4" brim which is pretty wide (though some around here like those wide brims:D).
     
  4. jwalls

    jwalls Vendor

    Messages:
    741
    Location:
    Las Vegas
    Richard Warren

    I am in the process of making a very soft Open Road style hat, with the help of my hatter, from a very old body I found in his old stock. When it is finished I'll get pictures and post here.
     
  5. Not anymore...

    Comparing my 1980's Borsalino to my recently acquired 1950's Borsalino, not even Borsalino is making soft, pliable hats like that. The Akubra Campdraft as stated above is closest modern production hat to the old Stetson Open Road. Also look at Miller Hats' Douglas model, but nobody has posted first hand knowledge of this hat. I'm waiting on a Stetson Roadmaster to deliver that is not supposed to be as stiff as modern Open Road.
    My ArtLite custom is closest felt to that vintage Borsalino, see Boraslino Brotherhood thread for more on it...
     
  6. Inusuit

    Inusuit A-List Customer

    Messages:
    356
    Location:
    Wyoming
    Art Fawcett at Vintage Silhouettes made an "Open Road" style hat for me. It is the softest hat I own, softer than any of my vintage Stetsons, including the 7X Clear Beaver OR. Art's hats are an excellent value for the money.
     
  7. kaosharper1

    kaosharper1 One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,304
    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    If you're willing to shell out for a new Borsalino, why not buy a vintage one? It's higher quality and generally cost a less that $300. If you can afford $300 have Art Fawcett make you one custom fit out of 100% beaver.
     
  8. Richard Warren

    Richard Warren Practically Family

    Messages:
    667
    Location:
    Bay City
    I am aware of the Campdraft and it seems to be a good hat and quite possibly superior to the current Open Road. They don't seem to make it in grey, however, and by most reports I see here it is probably a bit stiffer than what I am looking for.

    The nice Borsalino I was looking at was by no means vintage. I cannot say how it would compare to vintage. It was comparable to other Borsalinos I have bought in the last 5 to 10 years. I really looks to me like the company is in a steep quality decline even in just the last couple of years, at least from the perspective of people like me that like soft, pliable hats. It may be that people now just expect and want a stiffer, thicker product because that is what they are used to. The salesman said the current hats were selling pretty good.

    I always had it it my mind to get an Alessandria one day. I may just have waited too long.
     
  9. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,032
    Location:
    Arkansas
    I don't know about the stiffness issue, but I think the CD does come in Glen Grey and Moonstone.
     
  10. fedoralover

    fedoralover Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,006
    Location:
    Great Northwest
  11. Mr. Paladin

    Mr. Paladin My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,133
    Location:
    North Texas
    Pick me! Pick me! I resemble that remark! ;)
     
  12. I've never been successful in getting Jimmy Pierce to respond to either emails from his website or phone messages. You & Carter seem to be able to do business with him tho... [huh]
     
  13. Richard Warren

    Richard Warren Practically Family

    Messages:
    667
    Location:
    Bay City
    I had not seen that glen gray campdraft. It sure looks tempting.
     
  14. All of my inquiries were made before this was ever posted on his website. I know he does good work but don't understand reluctance to get more work. I have taken my business elsewhere & was hoping to save others any undesired frustration.
     
  15. RBH

    RBH Bartender

    I would say holler at Mike Moore and ask about one of his MooreLites... but I am not sure he can make them anymore. {the thin felt is reallly hard to block}

    The MooreLite I have is super thin and and a really great hat.
     
  16. Spats McGee

    Spats McGee One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,032
    Location:
    Arkansas
    Good suggestion & certainly worth asking. If I remember rightly, The Covington is a Moorelight & it's really soft and light.
     
  17. RBH

    RBH Bartender

    Yep Spats The Covington is a MooreLite.... but I have to say you need to see and feel one of the 'original' MooreLites! [my Memphis Blues].
    That fedora is something else!!!! And it was a hum-dinger for Mike to make.
     
  18. elvisroe

    elvisroe A-List Customer

    Messages:
    319
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    Stiff Hat

    I checked out a few campdrafts recently and agree with comments on the stiff felt. I was steadilly working my way through a shelf full of fedoras and by comparison it was a very hard hat. Perhaps after a bit of a dunking it might soften up?

    As far as the Akubras go something featherweight like a squatter has a really nice pliable felt. Of course it's also got a lower crown and broader ribbon but it can be bought unblocked and a ribbon is easily swapped. Just a thought.
     
  19. RBH

    RBH Bartender

    The CampDrafts will soften up with use.
    They are a great hat.... I softened up my first Campdraft on a flight from Little Rock to Houston. I just worked the felt in my hands and now, the felt is really soft.
     
  20. Richard Warren

    Richard Warren Practically Family

    Messages:
    667
    Location:
    Bay City
    Just ordered a glen gray Campdraft. Thanks for the advice and comments all.
     

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