First Time Hat Buyer Info Thread - A Compendeum of Advice

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Historyteach24, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. Historyteach24

    Historyteach24 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,446
    Location:
    Huntington, WV
    Various questions about hats..

    First Time Hat Buyer Info Thread - A Compendeum of Advice
    First Time Hat Buyer Info Thread I'm asking our intrepid Lounge Members to write out their advice to first time buyers. While this covers a variety of type of hats, I'd say the initial focus would be on FEDORAS. If you write about other style hats name the type of hat in the title of your post.

    One thread that gets repeated a lot is First Time Hat Buyer Inquiries. While it’s great that people want to learn more before jumping into the deep end of the hat pool we seem to wind up repeating a lot of the advice. Currently there is about 3-5 similar threads and the core information is repeated in each one so I thought we might make a main theme to direct some of the usual FAQ’s regarding the first time hat buyer.

    One: What style hat should I get, what fits my face? There are rules or general guidelines as to what should work and what should not work. Same thing abut what color to get. Online Miller Hats has taken the time to publish a number of guides that are generally accepted ”rules” regarding hat versus your mug and what color goes with your complexion as well as some care tips and measuring sizes etc. Go to the link below and note along the left side of the screen should be a variety of subjects first time buyers may wish to read before making their selection.

    This link will get you there:
    http://www.millerhats.com/hatcare_index/hatfaces.html

    Please note that the Fedora Lounge has a number of Hat Sellers and Makers that are associated with the Lounge. Their support is much appreciated; you should consider visiting their sites before making any purchase.

    The style you choose is up to you as you have an idea as to what you are looking for. However, it is good to ask questions if your interest is in vintage and you have a style or era that you are shooting for. Then it helps our members to help you when you let us know that you’re looking to recreate a specific style or era or have a movie hat in mind. Feel free to use the search button and if you use Google sometimes that will take you to a thread on the Fedora Lounge. (I am willing to bet a Google or Yahoo search brings a lot of people to the Fedora Lounge when they start on a vintage question.) So of course any Indiana Jones hat question will bring up a lot of threads here (and at Club Obi Wan.) But if you are interested in James Cagney or those hats from Mulholland Falls a search will bring up a number of threads too. The depth of information here is pretty awesome and goes back for many years worth of discussions.

    If you are getting into hats for the first time please note that as with everything of importance there is a learning curve. If you jump in and just buy without learning you are more likely to make a mistake. There is a good chance you can avoid that mistake with a little research here and around the Web.

    Nomenclature, if you are asking about a type of hat you’ll want to know if there is a specific name for the type of hat you are interested in getting. You can visit the vendor’s sites for some of that nomenclature. Plus if you have a specific example that you can direct your fellow Loungers to it will help to get everyone talking about the same thing.

    All hats are not created equal. Most of the hats we are are going to talk about are not a total machine made item, there will be some handling to make it or it can be an all hand made hat. The more hands on it takes the higher the cost usually and the level of quality of the components will influence the price of the finished hat.

    So first off we have production hats which are factory made, these are the famous brands like Stetson, Borsalino, Dobbs and others. The hat is not a custom order but the production run of a specific number of hats made to the specification of a specific model. They use a number of machines and the workers have one or more tasks that they perform as a sort of assembly line so it is not one individual make a hat from beginning to end in this type of manufacture. The level of fit and finish depends on the price of the hat and the quality control taken in production. The quality of the materials used can run from low to high and again affecting the price.

    Custom tends to be a special product made to your specifications by usually a single hatter from beginning to end. The quality control is much higher than production and the quality of the materials used can be much better than production hats. The hat is usually made to measure for your head alone. That is the jist of custom, you pick style, color quality level of materials and it is made for your head. Custom hats are like custom cars what you want and what you can get is all based on your check book. In cars the question is “how fast do you want to go” in custom hats it is the level of quality of components and other factors in the making that will lead you to the ultimate question of price

    A third option that comes up frequently is Vintage. Here is a whole different view of the hat market. First off many people will say; “Ugh! I wouldn’t wear a used hat!” Well, if you read the hat section you will find a lot of people here will just do that. The search for vintage hats is one that many people find thrilling, enjoyable ad rewarding. If you’ve ever been intrigued by the Antiques Road Show program that we see on PBS here in the US then there is a good chance you’ll find vintage hats (especially Fedoras) very appealing. First they thing with vintage hats is the supply is not unlimited, what was made back then is all that was made back then and they can’t make anymore because we can’t go back to back then to have it made. However, they made a lot of hats back then and not all of them have been thrown out. There are all sorts of vintage hats in closets, basements, attics and storage places that have not been offered up to the great market of EBay yet. As a matter of fact, you can start by asking the older folks that are your relatives or relatives of your friends if they have any old hats tucked away that you might be interested in. EBay is a great place to look, thrift stores, rummage sales, estate sales, and even antique stores may have old hats for sale.

    Next educate yourself. Learn about what makes a good hat and what makes a great hat. You’ll find a number of discussions about the felt used to make fedoras. Fur felt tends to be a better hat than wool felt for a number of reasons, such as a fur felt hat can be cleaned and reblocked which can bring a number of hats back to looking good and a useful life. Old hats can get fixed, as in repaired with some components replaced as needed to renovate or restore the hat. It’s good to be aware as to the cost of such repairs but a special hat that was a good value may be repaired to its former glory and you’ll have a great hat that would be hard to duplicate at any price. There are model styles and color combinations that are not made today, plus so many famous brands are no longer made OR the current production is simply a poor substitute for the really great hats made in the past. (Insert the brand Borsalino here.) As with any collecting- knowledge is key to getting a good deal in Vintage hats but there are some great hats still out there needing a good home at a reasonable price so it may be worth the search. If you read some of the threads the incredible luck of some of the members in finding a great vintage hat is astonishing.

    I ask others to add to this thread with their advice as to what to consider when making someone is making their first hat purchase.
    John in Covina

    Maybe then this can become a sticky?!
    Last edited by John in Covina; 01-22-2011 at 02:45 PM.

    placed by permission of Historyteach24
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    QUESTION FROM HISTORYTEACH24


    I am thinking about buying a brown hat since it is one of the colors my hat collection is lacking but honestly have no idea what it would go with other than my brown blazer and jeans. Any other colors and a light brown would go good with? As always any guidance is welcome!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 24, 2011
  2. Viper Man

    Viper Man Banned

    Messages:
    860
    Location:
    Stone City, IL
    Green and brown go great together. Brown can also work with oranges, some blues, and belive it or not black. Do a search here for "brown and black" there has been some discussion in the past.
     
  3. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

    Messages:
    17,082
    Location:
    Hardlucksville, NY
    Speaking in generalities..if you own any clothing that is not black or a primary color it should go well enough with a brown fedora.

    Visit the link below and read on. There is a lot of information regarding classic men's style.
    THE BIG STICKY - Catalog scans and other useful threads.
     
  4. T Rick

    T Rick Practically Family

    Messages:
    934
    Location:
    Metro Detroit
    Brown leather jacket, khaki's, bullwhip and .45 cal. revolver... okay, seriously, brown is very versatile. Anything in Earth tones, plus jeans. And probably more.
     
  5. HeyMoe

    HeyMoe Practically Family

    Messages:
    695
    Location:
    Central Vermont
    If you have a grey suit depending on the grey, brown looks very nice with it.

    here are some old scans /art

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Historyteach24

    Historyteach24 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,446
    Location:
    Huntington, WV
    Seriously you guys are the best. I have a grey suit that just might look awesome with it!
     
  7. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    Brown hats are naturals with brown/tan leathers, and not just jackets. I don't hesitate to wear one even with a blue suit if I have tan shoes on with it.

    Then there's the forgotten classic: tan or brown with black band. These go with everything.
     
  8. azhiker

    azhiker One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    218
    Location:
    Phoenix, Arizona, USA
    I recently had a Stetson western hat converted to Fedora. It is a tan color, with dark greenish kinda khaki ribbonand bow. It looks swell with a multitude of clothing IMO. My regular wear hat is dark brown, and it seems to look good with anythnig but a black suit.
     
  9. Danny Ocean

    Danny Ocean A-List Customer

    Messages:
    488
    Location:
    The Portobello Club
    Historyteach24,

    I often wear a brown trilby, and prefer this colour to black, as I find it is has a "softer", less stark contrast, than black. In terms of coordinating colours, it works well with all "earthy" colours, and also blues, reds, and purples.

    I wear mine with a tweed jacket, or a herringbone coat, for example, and it works well with blue jeans, tan brogues, and a brown leather jacket. Here's a couple of pics:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Hope this helps.

    Danny O
     
  10. Mulceber

    Mulceber Practically Family

    Messages:
    703
    Location:
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    I actually find brown goes well with red as well. I'll often wear my adventurebilt with a red t-shirt and light brown slacks. -M
     
  11. Carnage

    Carnage One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    112
    Location:
    London
    I wear my brown fedora with grey suits quite a lot, and it is also a good excuse to break out some brown shoes too.

    Danny I know this is off topic, but I love that tweed jacket, have you posted pics or details of it anywhere else on here?
     
  12. Danny Ocean

    Danny Ocean A-List Customer

    Messages:
    488
    Location:
    The Portobello Club
    Carnage,

    Sir, thank you for the compliment! The photo was taken at Goodwood Revival, in 2009. Since then, I lost over a stone in weight, so alas the jacket was too large for me. My tailor advised that altering the jacket to such an extent (44" down to a 40"), would ruin the cut, so I sold it, for a good price, on the Bay of E.

    I have no other photos of it, other than some shots taken when I sold it. The jacket was a Bladen Tweed, in a light green, with a large red overcheck, and the lining was in gold satin. It was cut in the traditional hacking style, with centre vent, and additional ticket pocket. I will however, be buying another, as it was one of my favourite jackets!

    Back on topic, I found the following photos of myself (taken September 2010), with the brown trilby, and a brown dogtooth check jacket, that I had made. I think the trilby works well with these colours too.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I agree with you, in that a brown trilby works well with a grey suit, and always tan shoes with grey, never black!

    Cheers,

    Danny O
     
  13. Danny Ocean

    Danny Ocean A-List Customer

    Messages:
    488
    Location:
    The Portobello Club
    HeyMoe,

    I definitely agree with your choice there, grey works very well with brown, and tan. Great scans of the old artwork, do you have any more you could share?

    Cheers,

    Danny O
     
  14. DRB

    DRB One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,621
    Location:
    Florida
    Danny Ocean: I absolutely love that brown trilby! You look like a great looking English gentleman in that hat.
     
  15. danofarlington

    danofarlington My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Messages:
    3,122
    Location:
    Arlington, Virginia
    I guess you could always wear a brown hat in the buff. That would solve the matching problem.
     
  16. Madtv43

    Madtv43 New in Town

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Rathdrum, ID
    uh, brown would go ok with gray, or if you have a more traditional trench coat in Tan then that goes well with it.
     
  17. jporgeck

    jporgeck Familiar Face

    Messages:
    71
    Location:
    Fort Lauderdale
    I have a "whiskey" colored Art Fawcett hat. The whiskey color is for all practical purposes a variation of brown. I had Art put a black ribbon on the hat which, in my estimation gives me much more versatality. I can and have wore my hat with blue and gray suits; black shirts; green shirts; blue shirts; salmon shirts, etc., etc. Brown is much more verstile than some give it credit for. It also goes great with my black leather hip length coat. Don't over think it and just wear your hat.

    Regards
     
  18. hottoddy

    hottoddy New in Town

    Messages:
    17
    Location:
    Oregon (Portland area)
    Can I Pull Off Wider Brims (Pics)?

    I'm another hat newbie, and you probably get this a lot, but I am trying to figure out what hats work for me. So, I figure I'd throw in a few pictures and get your esteemed opinions.

    My only "real" hat is a vintage Dobbs stingy (1 3/4" brim). I think I can pull it off but a wider brim may be better to balance out my big melon. Here is a quick pic of me with the stingy.

    [​IMG]

    Today I tried on a lovely Akubra Stylemaster, and my immediate thought was the brim looked too big. I believe it is 2 1/2 inches. Perhaps I just need to get comfortable with wearing a larger brim. For reference, here is a picture of me in an older wool Dorfman Pacific fedora. It has a 2 1/2 inch brim (appx 4 1/2 inch bashed crown). I used to think it looked way too big on me, but the overall size has grown on me a bit.

    [​IMG]

    What do you think - can I pull off a 2 1/2 inch brim? Any thoughts and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks!
    -Todd
     
  19. HeyMoe

    HeyMoe Practically Family

    Messages:
    695
    Location:
    Central Vermont
    looks fine to me!
     
  20. Historyteach24

    Historyteach24 Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,446
    Location:
    Huntington, WV
    Dude I went through the same problem and am still going through it. I have a short full face like yourself and quite a large head (7 1/2) Pork pies look awesome on guys like us. Also I LOVE short brimmed fedoras my fav is 2 inch brim but our melons are definitely made for 2 1/4 and up. Around a 4 inch crown would look stellar maybe even a little bigger. I understand your feelings though because it is scary the first time you wear a bigger brimmed hat. Seriously though go try on a pork pie and tell me what ya think they are by far my fav hats.
     

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