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First Time Hat Buyer Info Thread - A Compendeum of Advice

hathead

New in Town
Messages
17
Location
SW Ohio
Brown looks good with tweeds, dark grays and greens. The problem with greens is I look like a forest ranger. Browns also look good with off white and yellow shirts. As to the question of shoes black shoes and gray, they are a classic match especially for winter and evenings. Dark brown shoes and grays look good in winter and lighter brown and tan shoes are good for summer with gray. I Find it hard to wear a black hat except with formal wear and in winter. Just my opinion though.
 

DRB

One Too Many
Messages
1,621
Location
Florida
With confidence, you can wear both I believe, but I would not go past 2 1/2 inches.

fmw: I agree with you.
 

Danny Ocean

A-List Customer
Messages
488
Location
The Portobello Club
Really? Tan shoes with grey slacks, never black? That's good to know! As I look down, I seem to be making that mistake right now!!!
Love that 32 ford up there!

Bourne ID,

Tan shoes, with a grey suit/trousers, is my personal choice, as it is with a blue suit. Black obviously works fine, it's all down to choice, so never a mistake!

Cheers,

Danny O
 
Messages
10,524
Location
DnD Ranch, Cherokee County, GA
You can only pull it off if you look at yourself in the mirror & think it works. If you don't feel it, no way it works.
I don't like how I look in anything under 2 1/2" brim & nothing any of these yahoos around this joint can say is going to change it.
Wear what you like if you like what you're wearing....
 

EggHead

Practically Family
Messages
858
Location
San Francisco, CA
Certain hat styles and colors look better with wider brims, others don't. You just have to try them out.
I know that brown Leisure Time (outback style) with it's 2 7/8 brim (measured!) looks good on me in my work clothes, but a black fedora with same size brim does not.
 

danofarlington

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,122
Location
Arlington, Virginia
Certain hat styles and colors look better with wider brims, others don't. You just have to try them out.
I know that brown Leisure Time (outback style) with it's 2 7/8 brim (measured!) looks good on me in my work clothes, but a black fedora with same size brim does not.

I tend to use wide brim hats for recreational and casual use, and narrower brims for business and weekday use.
 

MCrider

A-List Customer
Messages
360
Location
hills of West Virginia
I don't like how I look in anything under 2 1/2" brim & nothing any of these yahoos around this joint can say is going to change it.QUOTE]

lol

That's such a wonderful quote, I had to bring around again!

But seriously, it is how you feel it looks on you that matters. My hat brims are either 2 inch or 2 1/2 inches wide. That's what I think I look best in. Awhile back I purchased an Akubra Squatter with a 3 inch brim. Even though people said I looked good in it, to me it looked like a sombrero. In the end I trimmed it down to 2 1/2 inches. So it's all in what size you like that counts. But for the record, you to look good in the wide brim.
 

Bourne ID

One of the Regulars
Messages
271
Location
Electric City, PA
Thanks Danny! I don't work in a field where the men dress well. It's pretty blue collar in the construction trades with most wearing little better than rags. Most of my business associates look like homeless bums that just crawled out from under the bridge. Here's a good one...I recently tried to implement a work uniform for my men, just a simple blue button down and dark blue carhart pant. Most threatened to quit their job including my business partner!
 

Pompidou

One Too Many
Messages
1,242
Location
Plainfield, CT
Thanks Danny! I don't work in a field where the men dress well. It's pretty blue collar in the construction trades with most wearing little better than rags. Most of my business associates look like homeless bums that just crawled out from under the bridge. Here's a good one...I recently tried to implement a work uniform for my men, just a simple blue button down and dark blue carhart pant. Most threatened to quit their job including my business partner!

I haven't come across a workplace where people who aren't currently uniformed aren't extremely resistant to the idea. If I worked for you, I'd have been resistant to the idea as well, but I wouldn't have threatened to quit over it. I would've held cynical conversations over the water cooler at lunch about it. I'm opening my own business, and my business partner (one of two) wants uniforms. I'm resistant. To me certain types of uniforms give the message that the person wearing it is an order taker, not an order giver. Probably all stems from a blue collar/white collar difference. Even in the food industry, the difference between the hourly guys and the salary guys is whether they have to wear the industry-colored polo shirt. I think in your case, I'd hold firm with employees, but you and the business partner (presumably co-owners, or at least co-administrators) I'd allow any sort of clean attire.

But, on topic - I wore my brown Stetson with any color. There was a strong temptation to wear it with khaki pants and a leather jacket - that whole getup, but it really does take the Indy costume effect to a level where the hecklers start having a point. Wearing any old fedora and getting the heckles is one thing. Wearing the entire costume minus the whip and pistol is another. So, I tended to wear my brown fedora with any casual attire, but rarely the whole adventurer garb at once.
 

Danny Ocean

A-List Customer
Messages
488
Location
The Portobello Club
Thanks Danny! I don't work in a field where the men dress well. It's pretty blue collar in the construction trades with most wearing little better than rags. Most of my business associates look like homeless bums that just crawled out from under the bridge. Here's a good one...I recently tried to implement a work uniform for my men, just a simple blue button down and dark blue carhart pant. Most threatened to quit their job including my business partner!

Bourne ID,

With you there, I'm in the construction industry also, albeit on the manufacturing side. I've spent many years on site, so understand fully, what you mean. About five years ago, I implemented a works uniform policy, for the the thirty five guys that work for me, in the factory. I discussed it with them first, and all were in agreement. Apart from the fact that it gives a professional, corporate look, it also prevents their clothes from getting ruined, at work. A bit of a no-brainer really!

Sorry guys, a little off topic there! Any thoughts on a brown fedora, with a black ribbon, it's something I've been thinking about?

Cheers,

Danny O
 
Messages
11,579
Location
Covina, Califonia 91722
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.

Maybe then this can become a sticky?!
 
Last edited:

T Rick

Practically Family
Messages
943
Location
Metro Detroit
Bourne ID,

With you there, I'm in the construction industry also, albeit on the manufacturing side. I've spent many years on site, so understand fully, what you mean. About five years ago, I implemented a works uniform policy, for the the thirty five guys that work for me, in the factory. I discussed it with them first, and all were in agreement. Apart from the fact that it gives a professional, corporate look, it also prevents their clothes from getting ruined, at work. A bit of a no-brainer really!

Sorry guys, a little off topic there! Any thoughts on a brown fedora, with a black ribbon, it's something I've been thinking about?

Cheers,

Danny O
I'm in construction also (when I can find work these days!). My work attire generally dictates a hard hat, be it my own MSA Miner's hat or a company supplied plastic (inferrior IMO) hat. Wearing their specified (and supplied) hat is about as close to a uniform as they're likely to get (aside from specifying sturdy boots with certain features as a safety toe, or long sleeves and pants etc.). In a nuclear plant however, we do generally wear scrubs if we ar potentially going into a contaminated area (for which we will be required a complete Tyvek suit, etc.).

Now, onto the brown hat with a black ribbon, that is a YES (and was mentioned much earlier in this thread). Don't have one yet, but I will. And that will add much versatility to the brown hat, making it wearable with much more black in the ensemble.
 
Messages
11,579
Location
Covina, Califonia 91722
Sizes! A general rule about sizes in hats is this: sizes that are the letter type S/M/L/XL for Small Medium Large Extra Large respectively tend to be ranked as a lower quality hat. It may be a great hat but better companies will use the more traditional or formal number sizes such as 7, 7-1/8th, 7-1/4 and up. The sizes are in increments of 1/8ths. In Europe they tend to use metric. There are conversion charts to measure in inches or metric and convert to a size posted by a variety of online hat websites. A search will bring up those charts.

Tied to your size is your head shape and the circumfrence of your head is one number but the shape affects the fit. Here is where the concept of OVAL and Long Oval come in to play. If a hat is flexible it will shape itself to the shape of your head. Some hats, especially when new are pretty stiff and if they are round and you head is oblong oval the hat that is the right "size" will be tight on your forehead and the back of your head with a loose gap on the sides. Congradualtions you have an Oval or Long Oval Head! Some hats are shaped and labeled to accommodate the "oval-ness" of your head and are marked "long oval" by the size. If it is not too much a hat jack may be used to stretch the hat in the right direction and help out.

If a hat is too tight is can be stretched a little with a hat jack or have done by a hatter.
Some hats can be re-sized but that can be expensive to have done if it is a rebuild type job.

If a hat is a little too loose you can slip in material behind the sweat band inside to get a better fit. Some people will use paper others may use strips of cloth like a white felt from the craft store.
Some people use folded dollar bills as the spacer, which is a way to store emergency money I suppose
 

Pompidou

One Too Many
Messages
1,242
Location
Plainfield, CT
For a first hat purchase, I'd recommend sticking to a vendor of standard, brand name hats. It's your first hat, so it's going to take more abuse than usual, as you learn the ropes. It's a potentially risky investment, as you might not like it as much as you thought. A middle of the line fur felt hat with a trusted name is a good balance of money and quality. There's nothing wrong with custom hats. I think they're the the best, but to get what you really want, you have to know what that is. Might be difficult for a first time buyer. Same reason I recommend first time computer buyers buy off the shelf models rather than self-build. The problem with buying a vintage hat off eBay for a first hat, is that you're fairly lucky to find a seller that knows what s/he's selling. It's not unheard of to receive something you didn't order, and it's certainly a challenge to verify authenticity ahead of time. Vintage hats are better made than today's mass production hats, only rivaled by custom, hand-made hats, but this mark of vintage quality only applies to hats made before a certain decade, and it's really hard to eye that distinction. So, I'll sum up by recommending a first time buyer get something like a Stetson in the 120-180 dollar range. It's probably the safest bet, and I think the first purchase is all about safety.
 

jlee562

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,072
Location
San Francisco, CA
This should definitely be a sticky!

Is there a glossary of hat terminology?

That could be helpful to newcomers, defining the crown, block shape, flange, under/overwelt, ligne, etc.
 

danofarlington

My Mail is Forwarded Here
Messages
3,122
Location
Arlington, Virginia
I don't know why someone so inclined on TFL doesn't make a plan for a publication. Could be a book (hard) or perhaps a pamphlet, possibly for distribution to men's clothing stores and Internet sale. The pamphlet or short book option could be about hat shape versus facial type (we have that drawing already), plus stickies advice, and the rest. Maybe including hat purveyors. There might be money to be had from a publishing company, and the author(s) could make a few bucks to boot.
 

hottoddy

New in Town
Messages
17
Location
Oregon (Portland area)
Thanks again for the input! I ended up picking up a Akubra Stylemaster in "green" from John Helmer in downtown Portland today. They also had gray and brown, but not in my size (7 3/8" or 59). My wife liked the green a lot - but I doubt it will go with my mostly grey, black, charcoal suits. I don't think the online places have it in green. 7 3/8 is a tiny just a tiny bit on the big side - but I hear that's the way to go with Akubra. 7 1/4 was definitely snug. Here's a quick picture. It looks more green in person.

5379015525_8cedac9ba7.jpg
 

Gromulus

Practically Family
Messages
573
Location
NE Ohio, USA
Thanks again for the input! I ended up picking up a Akubra Stylemaster in "green" from John Helmer in downtown Portland today. They also had gray and brown, but not in my size (7 3/8" or 59). My wife liked the green a lot - but I doubt it will go with my mostly grey, black, charcoal suits. I don't think the online places have it in green. 7 3/8 is a tiny just a tiny bit on the big side - but I hear that's the way to go with Akubra. 7 1/4 was definitely snug. Here's a quick picture. It looks more green in person.

5379015525_8cedac9ba7.jpg

Looks good hottoddy. Is that 'Bluegrass Green"? Everything Australian has the BG Stylemaster listed as one of their options, albeit with the three month wait. While we see lots of BG Camp Drafts on this forum (and for very good reason!), I do not remember anyone ever posting a green Stylemaster.
 

James71

A-List Customer
Messages
447
Location
Katoomba, Australia
I thinkyou will find the green goes with just about everything.

As for brim width, the stylemaster is the smallest brim I wear. It gets a lot of wear...
 

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