Courage to Wear a Fedora

Discussion in 'Hats' started by OddHatter, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. OddHatter

    OddHatter New in Town

    Hello to all of my new friends in the forum!

    I've been lurking about a bit and learning quite a lot as well as thoroughly enjoying all the pictures of you fine ladies and gentlemen in your awesome hats, that I felt the need to join and briefly introduce myself. Also... I have a lingering question I only discovered as I first began wearing a fedora.

    A bit of background: due to a skin cancer concern about two months ago (I'm that new to hat wearing) I learned that my old trusty baseball cap wasn't cutting it and wide-brimmed hats were the way to go. Where I live (central WI) baseball caps and the occassional cowboy hat (usually the straw variety mostly worn by farmers in my neck of the woods) are about it and I just couldn't get into cowboy hats. I remembered the hats my grandfather used to wear and felt that was the only option.

    I also felt I didn't have the guts to actually wear one, let alone where to buy one.

    My wife found an inexpensive fur felt off of amazon she liked and got one for me without my being aware - turns out it's the "officially licensed Indiana Jones" one. I felt a little corny - like a 47 year old man playing Indy in the backyard - but my wife likes it and it's beginning to grow on me. I know it's not a "real" fedora, but I'm learning.

    Anyhow, I'm discovering that I'm either more self-conscious than I realized, or just gutless. It seems to me that it takes a bit of steel in the nerves when you first begin wearing a fedora inspite of all the sound medical reasons in the world to charge on. Honestly, like many of you, I've made the commitment and am not turning back - like I said, it's growing on me - but I still must be honest that I can feel a little uncomfortable, especially in busy public places like a department store or eatery. It seems I'm the only man in my town of 45k that wears a fedora! Standing in line is almost painful sometimes.

    I'm sure this timidness will pass as this becomes a part of my daily routine, but how did you begin? Were your experiences similiar? I never thought twice about how wearing a fedora takes courage - and I only recently learned of all the hating online associated with fedoras which only adds to this (thank God for the fedora lounge) - but it seems that not only am I taking measures to protect my skin, I'm growing more as a man.

    Maybe that was what my wife was thinking? I would love to read some of your stories of those early days to help add steel to my nerves.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  2. GregNYC

    GregNYC One Too Many

    New York City
    This is an important question for many newcomers. I was in the same situation a few months ago.

    That feeling of oddness and self consciousness kept me away from hats for years. But 3 months ago I had a small basal cell skin cancer on my face. It's good now, and the derm surgeon told me "Baseball caps aren't enough." So I was pushed.

    Now I wear a hat and sunblock every day. I won't go back. I can't.

    But what REALLY boosted my confidence were these two things:

    1. This forum, especially the "What hat are you wearing today?" thread. Grown men taking selfies of their fedoras and Westerns and posting them here. Immensely experienced and knowledgeable people. Some of the coolest and most fantastic hats I've ever seen. Vintage, custom, restorations, conversions, as well as retail. This has boosted my confidence immensely. I'm not alone! It's now to the point where I feel naked without a hat. That thread is like a family, and I can't tell you how much it has taught and inspired me!

    2. There are some superb hat shops locally here in NYC. Salespeople with decades of experience in the hat industry. They don't BS me if a hat doesn't look good on me. So I know I'm buying good quality hats that look good. And helpful advisors for a noob.

    I've bought so many straws and now felts retail that I need to move into vintage and custom. My ideal comes from the golden age of B+W films.

    So, welcome! Be encouraged! Let's see some photos!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  3. The Good

    The Good Call Me a Cab

    California, USA

    I think the fur felt officially licensed Indiana Jones hats are OK, although I do not have first-hand experience with them. If the hat is fur felt, it is of a nicer quality than if made from wool. My first fur felt fedora is from a company called Akubra, based in Australia, but right from the start, I had planned on shaping it into a particular version of the Indiana Jones hat. Starting out with a look similar to Dr. Jones' isn't the wrong idea. If your wife likes it, that should be enough of a reason to wear it. I have also struggled for a time with maintaining the most confidence I could muster. Now, I do not think I have these problems, for the most part, although you may encounter situations in which wearing a hat may make it difficult to look your best or most appropriate, such as somewhere indoors. It is helpful to remember some basic hat etiquette rules, such as removing one while eating or indoors for an extended period of time, which should cause you to feel even more confidently about wearing a hat. For your next fedora, I would recommend a light or medium grey one. My suggestion for this category is an Akubra Federation IV in the color "moonstone." Indiana Jones also had a much less seen grey hat, and many here believe that the moonstone Akubra Federation IV hat would look almost identical to it, if you shape it like the version seen in Raiders of the Lost Ark, or The Crystal Skull.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  4. Genuine Classic Gangster

    Genuine Classic Gangster One of the Regulars

    Welcome to the forums.;)

    You are right that wearing a fedora will make you stand out, but that is something about which you can and should be proud. All extraordinary men stand out in one way or another. To feel any kind of shame for standing out due to wearing a fedora would be illogical. Not to stand out is much worse than is standing out, in my opinion.

    Uniqueness is attractive. Almost certainly, the vast majority of people who see you in a fedora are going to admire you for it. They will think more - not less - highly of you because your fedora will make you look like a handsome, dignified, classy gentleman. And they will also have added respect for you because they will recognize that you have the courage of which you are speaking.

    I've been wearing fedoras for about 16 years. Only once have I had a negative reaction to my fedoras, and I suspect that was from a man who had deep, anger-based psychological issues. On the other hand, I have probably had thousands of positive reactions. All the time I get told "nice hat!" or "I love your hat!" or I am asked "where did you get your hat?:" those types of comments often come at me several times per day. Or strangers on the street address me with names like "Johnny Depp" or "movie star" or "Jim Carrey" (I get that one a lot when I wear green fedoras, which make people link me to their fond remembrances of Jim Carrey in The Mask).

    The other day someone said to me, "I love your hat! You remind me of Heisenberg, I'm sure you get that a lot!" - and I was wearing a standard style of fedora when he saw me, not even a porkpie.

    To sum up my point: despite the many fedora-haters on the Internet, in real-life, most people seem to love seeing a man in a fedora.

    In other words, wearing a fedora is going to increase your coolness factor.

    Check out the thread with a title like "How do people react to your hat wearing?" if you wish to read about many other examples that corroborate what I've said in this post.
  5. fedoracentric

    fedoracentric Banned

    Streamwood, IL
    It is an interesting question. For many it really is such a major change in fashion that it is hard to make the jump to wearing such an unfamiliar contraption on their head. For others, though, it is no leap at all. And when you get right down to it, fashion is so watered down these days that there really isn't much by way of dos and don't so, why not wear a fedora? do whatcha want, man!
  6. Rick Blaine

    Rick Blaine My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Saskatoon, SK CANADA
    If you are a hick in the sticks as am I, perhaps a thin ribbon is a solution. It has more casual/rural/working class associations. Less pretension (lacking a better word), perhaps.
    Hank, Woody & such, just a thought. If your bean is small enough, go for vintage, imo.

    :welcome:At any rate; glad to see you, how do you do?
  7. Horace Debussy Jones

    Horace Debussy Jones A-List Customer

    The Bowery
    The venerable Stetson Open Road comes to mind, if you're looking to sort of "blend in" a bit without being afraid of being perceived as a fop. It's a sort of crossover fedora/western that looks great in either role. Whether going to town on Saturday, or hanging around the homestead. A great all around hat, and great looking too.
    It's so strange how what was once the norm, is now perceived as being unhip. Not just in articles of clothing, but in our morals and attitudes as well. At least here, we certainly never disparage the "old fashioned". You will enjoy your stay I think, as most folks here are like-minded.
  8. Monte

    Monte A-List Customer

    North Dakota
    ...Or one of the many OR clones. Bring your pocketbook, though.
    I find a cattleman's crease sometimes makes me invisible. Don't ask me why.
  9. Monte

    Monte A-List Customer

    North Dakota
    ...and welcome--and stay well hatted, sir.
  10. Big J

    Big J Call Me a Cab

    I've found that if I'm having a really bad day, with lots of stress induced frowning, I can't wear a hat. People look at me, and I feel that my frown looks to them like a reaction to their reaction to my hat wearing (on the other hand, maybe they don't think anything of it, and it's all in my mind).

    However, more often than not, I'm having a very good day, and a smile on my face. When people look at me in a fedora, and I can see them looking taken aback, I just beam at them with tons of confidence.

    I think what I'm trying to say is that confidence in myself is the thing that makes the hat ok for me, not confidence in the hat.
  11. First, welcome to The Lounge! Second, my compliments to your wife for her taste in hats!

    I found it personally interesting that you mentioned your age because I was also 47 years old when I got my first "real" hat. I'd admired the hats Harrison Ford wore in Raiders of the Lost Ark and it's sequels, and I've liked fedoras for as long as I can remember, but when I was younger I felt they weren't "right" for me and would look like a costume item. In truth, I didn't think any hats were right for me when I was younger. But at the age of 47 I finally decided I'd waited long enough and I got myself a dark brown Akubra Federation IV. Since I had never worn hats until then I admit I was a little self-conscious the first time I tried it on, even though I was doing it in the privacy of my own home. But, strangely, there was something so familiar about the act of putting it on my head, as though I'd been doing it my entire life. And when my wife commented on how good it looked on me, that self-consciousness vanished. I liked it and, as long as she didn't mind it, that was good enough for me, so I wore my hat not caring what anyone else thought about it.

    That was in 2008. Fast forward to January of 2013, and I had my first bout of skin cancer--a ridiculously small amount of basal cell carcinoma on my nose. I was never a "sun worshipper", but I also never liked that "oil slick" feeling of sunscreen on my face. So, since I was already a dedicated hat wearer, I decided wide-brimmed hats would be my choice for sun protection and I purchased my second fedora, an Akubra Campdraft in Silverbelly. I now have five fedoras (a meager collection compared to those of most of the members on this forum), all of which I wear regularly and without giving it a second thought.

    There's a saying that pops up regularly on this forum: "Wear your hat, don't let your hat wear you." In essence, this is a simple way of saying "Wear your hat(s) with confidence." If you look uncomfortable or self-conscious, you'll only draw more attention to yourself. In the last year the people I encounter on a regular basis have become so accustomed to seeing me in a hat that they'll ask, "Where's your hat?" on those rare occasions when I'm not wearing one. If you wear yours regularly, it'll happen to you too. Be that person. Wear your hat happily, and own your new look--it's a good thing!
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  12. Joao Encarnado

    Joao Encarnado I'll Lock Up

    At least you are in a place were cowboy hats are common. I do not have that here and I do wear them.
  13. Matt Deckard

    Matt Deckard Man of Action

    Back in the early days of the Lounge, Fedoras were very rare to be seen on any head around town. The world has changed. Even in the media… there are more shows on TV today that showcase leeds wearing hats than there have been in the last 30 years.

    Wear your hats in good health!
  14. hatsRme


    Boston area
    Excellent topic, wonderful discussion. Thanks for posing the question, OddH.
  15. The Wiser Hatter

    The Wiser Hatter I'll Lock Up

    Louisville, Ky
    What you are feeling is normal all of us here felt the same way when wearing our first Fedora out. It took a while for my wife to get use to it. An she now enjoys my "hats" I have many. Fedora's will make you stick out in a crown so expect to get a lot of attention. You will get the ladies giving you a lot of complements as a Fedora shows that you care about yourself and your appearance which most men today care little about. So read the forum and learn about the hats here and you will find the style you like.
  16. tommyK

    tommyK One Too Many

    Berwick, PA
    I've always loved fedoras. i bought my first one 30 years ago as a teen, never wore it. It decorated my bedroom and followed me to college largely unworn.

    A few years ago my wife started having bouts with skin cancer. She's had 6 enormous chunks of skin excised. It's scary, it grows quickly and certain types must be caught early. I too have started having pre-cancerous divits removed. The thought struck me if I have a serious spot on my ear I might lose the whole thing. That would look worse than a fedora ever could. Some of skin cancer is genetic. Some is exposure. Why not take a simple precaution that looks good as well?

    I think that most people that give you a funny look when you start wearing fedoras is more about them seeing your trepidation or discomfort than the hat itself. With your growing confidence you'll stop looking for peoples reactions and they'll stop noticing you. Besides, the type of person who would actually insult you for wearing a fedora are jackholes whose opinion and approval you shouldn't care about. In fact wear that as a badge of honor if it happens.

    I agree with the advice to try thin ribbon hats like the Stetson Open Road. It's got a big brim for the sun and rain and the silverbelly color goes with everything but a tux.

  17. carranty

    carranty One of the Regulars

    I purchased my first hat about 10 years ago, an Akubra fed in brown. Like others here I'd always admired Harrison Fords hats in the IJ movies and after years of wanting one I finally took the plunge. It looked so strange to me when I first put it on though that I felt to self conscious to wear it outdoors and it sat in a box for many wears unworn (I didn't find the lounge until just a couple of years ago or else I might have preservered). I think going from not wearing any fedora-type hat at all to an indy style one is a huge step, and I can certainly understand your trepidation.

    I had another stab at hat wearing a few years later, buying an Akubra Banjo Paterson. This is a much more casual looking fur felt hat, and not an indy hat at all, and so I felt less nervous about wearing this, but it wasn't quite what I was after; it's crown has a lot of taper and is quite short. But as a 'starter hat' it was great, and just allowed me to get used to wearing hats without feeling too odd. My next hat was an Akubra campdraft, what I consider to be my first real fedora (if you haven't figured it out yet, I love Akubras, the best non-custom hats you can get imo). It's the same style as an open road that many people have suggested, and I couldn't agree with them more. They have large snap brims for sun protection, and tall straight crowns (like the Indy hat), but their thin ribbon gives them (to my eye) a more casual look than a federation. These were my go to hats for quite some time before I started wearing beaver-felt customs, but even today they get some head time here and there.

    Just to comment on one specific point
    The general public don't seem able to discern any difference at all between a silverbelly cowboy hat, a brown federation, or a black porkpie, as whatever style of fedora I wear I seem to get an equal amount of Justified/Indy/Breaking Bad references, so I wouldn't worry about looking like Indy, unless you also tend to wear brown leather jackets and/or shoulder bags.

    So I'd say just stick with it, you'll get used to the feeling of a hat on your head so much that you'll start feeling strange when you don't have one on!
  18. TomS

    TomS One Too Many

    Welcome to the Lounge, sir!

    I think quite a few of us have felt like you do. It's funny though, because the more you wear a hat the more compliments you get, and the more your confidence grows. Before too long you will fell *funny* when you leave the house without your hat!
  19. HeyMoe

    HeyMoe Practically Family

    Central Vermont
    I think anyone who has started wearing brimmed hats has felt very similar. I know I did and was very uncomfortable with it. It has been a few years now and just the other day I had to run to the local Walmart (hell on earth) and got a few looks, chuckles and comments (Al Capone, Gangster etc). I was wearing spectators, dress slacks, long sleeve shirt, 40s neck tie and a 1942 Stetson Fedora. I started to get a bit self conscious and then realized the folks making the comments were either wearing sweats, ripped or stained clothing or pajamas. That is what they are comfortable in, I am comfortable in what I wear. So be it. I just dig into my snappy comeback bag and toss one back at them which either makes their jaw drop or laugh....until they realize it is a nicely worded insult...such as my go to Indiana Jones comment response: "My friends call me Indy, you sir/ma'am may call me Dr. Jones"

    The best part of wearing a fedora is that you will get positive comments when you least expect it!

    Stay with it, you will learn to love it
  20. Matt Deckard

    Matt Deckard Man of Action

    Who here was around in the early 60s and remembers when it used to take courage to not wear a hat?

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