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FrankMc

Familiar Face
Messages
56
Location
memphis
My Stetson is size 7 5/8 that has been stretched to 7 3/4. My hat keeps shrinking back to the smaller size, will it ever stay a 7 3/4?
 

GamaH

A-List Customer
Messages
406
I've got a question that is likely going to be subjective, but how much should one pay for an entry-level Montecristi Panama from Optimo, at most?

On the website it states that prices start from $500 to several thousand. I certainly don't need a $15000 hat. But say, if a $750 Montecristi is enough to make me happy, would a $500 one do the trick as well? Certainly, if connoisseur had his eye on a $7500 one, a $750 wouldn't cut it, but is the difference between Montecristis of a similar price range negligible?

That is to say, while I appreciate a good hat, I am not a connoisseur of Panama hats. While I would most certainly be able to differentiate a 100 hat from a 500 one, I'm not sure if the same could be said between a 500 and 1000 one. That's not to say that I can't tell the difference, I just don't know if I can, being that I've had little to no experience handling Montecristis -- hence, "entry-level."
 
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Messages
14,802
Location
Buffalo, NY
My Stetson is size 7 5/8 that has been stretched to 7 3/4. My hat keeps shrinking back to the smaller size, will it ever stay a 7 3/4?

Not likely. A short and gentle revisit with the stretcher before (and after) wearing can make a difference and allow you to keep the hat in rotation.
 
Messages
14,802
Location
Buffalo, NY
I've got a question that is likely going to be subjective, but how much should one pay for an entry-level Montecristi Panama from Optimo, at most?

On the website it states that prices start from $500 to several thousand. I certainly don't need a $15000 hat. But say, if a $750 Montecristi is enough to make me happy, would a $500 one do the trick as well? Certainly, if connoisseur had his eye on a $7500 one, a $750 wouldn't cut it, but is the difference between Montecristis of a similar price range negligible?

That is to say, while I appreciate a good hat, I am not a connoisseur of Panama hats. While I would most certainly be able to differentiate a 100 hat from a 500 one, I'm not sure if the same could be said between a 500 and 1000 one. That's not to say that I can't tell the difference, I just don't know if I can, being that I've had little to no experience handling Montecristis -- hence, "entry-level."

Subjective, yes. I don't think the issue is about entry level vs. experience. More budget, tolerance for the cost of luxury items and your lifestyle. Hats suffer the slings and arrows of the outdoors. If you enjoy walking and exploring in the summer months your hat will be a great companion but it will also see the effects of perspiration. I was in NYC last spring and enjoying everything about a mile walk uphill to Penn Station carrying my suitcase on my shoulder... except for the stopping every block to mop up the perspiration building on my vintage Stratoliner's sweatband.

I spent some time looking through the fine straws at Optimo. They have some wonderful hats. I think style and weave character are as much a factor in selection as the fineness and cost. Had I been tempted to buy I would have found myself in at $1500 - 2000, which begins to get into a hat where the weave disappears and the feeling of a linen fabric emerges. Personally, I find this the magic point, though the actual weave count might be modified by age and eyesight. That is a great deal of money to spend on a hat. Beyond that is beyond me. But I passed at that time, being happy with the assortment of vintage panama hats I've been able to cobble together from Ebay.

Good luck with your search and keep us posted on what you select.
 
Messages
10,524
Location
DnD Ranch, Cherokee County, GA
Not likely. A short and gentle revisit with the stretcher before (and after) wearing can make a difference and allow you to keep the hat in rotation.
+1...I have a couple of vintage 7 1/2 LO gems that need continuous training to be worn by my 7 5/8 LO noggin.
A band block from Art that is made from his conformer to the shape of my noggin is a sweet tool to use along with a Hat Jack & vintage stretchers....

Forgot to add = you are changing the size of the sweatband mainly. As leather ages & loses oils, it draws. So not only are you fighting against its "memory", you are fighting against effects of time....
 
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GamaH

A-List Customer
Messages
406
Subjective, yes. I don't think the issue is about entry level vs. experience. More budget, tolerance for the cost of luxury items and your lifestyle. Hats suffer the slings and arrows of the outdoors. If you enjoy walking and exploring in the summer months your hat will be a great companion but it will also see the effects of perspiration. I was in NYC last spring and enjoying everything about a mile walk uphill to Penn Station carrying my suitcase on my shoulder... except for the stopping every block to mop up the perspiration building on my vintage Stratoliner's sweatband.

I spent some time looking through the fine straws at Optimo. They have some wonderful hats. I think style and weave character are as much a factor in selection as the fineness and cost. Had I been tempted to buy I would have found myself in at $1500 - 2000, which begins to get into a hat where the weave disappears and the feeling of a linen fabric emerges. Personally, I find this the magic point, though the actual weave count might be modified by age and eyesight. That is a great deal of money to spend on a hat. Beyond that is beyond me. But I passed at that time, being happy with the assortment of vintage panama hats I've been able to cobble together from Ebay.

Good luck with your search and keep us posted on what you select.

$1500 - $2000 seems a reasonable investment for a hat that will see quite a fair bit of wear, possibly more than my other hats.

This is probably a rookie question (again, don't have any experience with panamas), but do Panamas with tighter weaves, i.e., Montecristis, trap more heat than a loosely woven one of lesser quality? Cause that might be counter-productive to the the main reason why I want a panama, which is the fact that I simply can't endure the heat in a black felt hat.

As much as I love Optimo's felt hats, my body is simply not (physically) accustomed to wearing a black hat to shul in the Jerusalem heat; I have no idea how some of the other charedim, specifically hasidim, can tolerate wearing a shtreimel under that sun. A panama may not be yeshivish wear, but for me it's either that or a heatstroke. So yeah, are the higher end Montecristi panamas cool? That is, "cool" in terms of comfort under the summer heat, not style.
 

Aerol

A-List Customer
Messages
303
Location
Chicago, IL
The "Dirty Little Secret" of Panama hats is that the better the hat, the hotter it is. Sad, but true. (It's also lighter in weight, though.) Optimo's Milan hats have a coarser weave and are slightly cooler.

You might be able to wear a Tilley hat: http://www.tilley.com/home.asp?countryCode=US. Their hats are not very formal but they're indestructible. Some of them are vented and cooler to wear.
 

GamaH

A-List Customer
Messages
406
The "Dirty Little Secret" of Panama hats is that the better the hat, the hotter it is. Sad, but true. (It's also lighter in weight, though.) Optimo's Milan hats have a coarser weave and are slightly cooler.

That's depressing. :(

I already have an Optimo Milan.
 

MarkJohn

One of the Regulars
Messages
220
Location
Devon England
I bought a Panama hat while on holiday, its a Christy's straight spine using 100% Panama straw from Ecuador... I got it for very little (8GBP) in a secondhand shop, and though its in superb clean condition, it does have a couple of areas that have slight dents on the crown; so the question is about shaping a Panama - what is the best way to do it, if it can be done at all?

The brim is upturned all round, but I like it with a snap-down at the front. It generally stays down when wearing, but it will pop-up now and then and every time when I take it off... so, is it also possible to shape the brim in a permanent fashion?

Thanks in advance :)
 

jlee562

I'll Lock Up
Messages
4,920
Location
San Francisco, CA
I just received a new-to-me Panama Open road that needed a bit of a stretch and I found that steam re-activated the stiffener quite well. YMMV, depending on how much stiffener is in your hat, but it's a good place to start shaping.
 

MarkJohn

One of the Regulars
Messages
220
Location
Devon England
Thank you for the replies :) I did wonder if you could use steam, as you do with a felt hat, but was not sure if straw responded in the same manner, or would be damaged.

I will attempt a gentle 'steam' reshape later.

If anyone knows a supplier of hat stiffener in the UK I would be grateful :)

EDIT: steamed it today, with great results... very happy with this hat, and a bargain to boot.

Thanks for the advice fella's :)
 
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