Guide for first fedora/hat

Discussion in 'Hats' started by Creeping Past, Jan 4, 2009.

  1. Gruenewald

    Gruenewald New in Town

    Messages:
    10
    Thanks for all your replies. As for a vintage sized head, I don't know what that size is but I'm a 7 1/4. I know that part of the issue with brim width has to do with getting used to wearing a hat, in part. I did have a dark olive green fedora that I purchased as a young teen at the Bollman hat factory in Adamstown, PA. It was, of course, in the Indiana Jones era. I wore it some back then but have no idea what ever happened to it.

    Based on my personality, I am looking for one that is classic, a little understated and one that can be dressed up or down. I'll see where there is a hat store near me. I will probably have to drive over 2 hours to find one though. Bollman is just over 2 hours from me, although that's just a factory store.
     
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  2. Frunobulax

    Frunobulax

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    16,210
    Location:
    Funkytown, USA
    Another note about "dressing up and dressing down." If you spend a day or two scrolling through posts in the "What Hat are You Wearing Today" thread, you'll see most of us wear a variety of hats with a variety of clothes. Suits, jeans, shorts (not today!!) and everything in between, we tend to wear what strikes our fancy, and most of us look just fine doing it.

    So don't get too wrapped around the axle about the "formality" of a bound brim, or the width of a ribbon. Find something you like and wear the hell out of it. One of the mantras here is, "Wear the hat, don't let the hat wear you." It is a truism.

    As for colors, if you are going to limit yourself to a couple of hats...
    .
    .
    .
    ...sorry, I had to stop laughing and regain my composure after that one

    If you are going to limit yourself to a couple of hats, get a gray or a blue, and one in brown or a more neutral color, such as silverbelly, tan, natural, etc. With those colors, you can make about anything work.

    Where are you? Perhaps we can help guide you to a proper hat shop.

    Sent directly from my mind to yours.
     
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  3. Gruenewald

    Gruenewald New in Town

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    10
    I looked up hat stores and it looks like Philadelphia is the closest with several stores. There's a Goorin Brothers, Hats in the Belfry and several others there. That's about a 2 1/2 hour drive so that'll have to wait. A friend of mine refers to our area as "the land that time forgot".
     
  4. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    As an FYI, you might also look around in the Facebook market where you will probably find at least a few hats in your local area you could go see in person.
     
  5. Gruenewald

    Gruenewald New in Town

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    Good idea, I didn't think of that. I'll give that a try.
     
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  6. Gruenewald

    Gruenewald New in Town

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    Here's an a hat on Facebook Marketplace. I like the hat although it is 7 1/8 and I'm a 7 1/4. Can it be stretched 1/8 inch or is it unwise to do so, compromising the shape or construction? It is an example of something I'd like. It is labeled as a Royal Stetson but it is almost 100 miles away. Unfortunately, nothing is closer.
     

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  7. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    From the picture, it looks very nice and probably a great starter hat...maybe even a forever hat.

    First time around, I would say it would be best to try it on if possible. I've bought hats online that were "just my size" that turned out to be seriously too small or too large. For the moment, however, let's assume that it is a newer hat so it is probably true to size. Generally speaking, (very generally), it is not too difficult to move a hat up or down a size (1/8th).

    To go up, there are a number of inexpensive hat stretchers you can buy. Most are some sort of curved wooden blocks with a "twist bolt" in the center. Place the stretcher along the sweatband inside the hat and tighten the blocks against the sweatband. Let the hat sit overnight with the stretcher and check it the next day (It is really rather simple, I may be making it sound too complex!) Don't try to bear down on the stretch to "do it all at once", take it easy with just a little more tension over a few days and it should be fine. Wearing the hat around the house will help too.

    To go down a size is usually a matter of putting something behind the sweatband to take up the additional "space". Some people use strips of newspaper. I use a very lightweight construction felt found in the Crafts area of most big box stores. I usually buy an 8X10 piece of brown felt and cut strips to fit under the sweatband.

    Hope this helps.
    Randy
     
  8. Gruenewald

    Gruenewald New in Town

    Messages:
    10
    Thank you, all the information has been very helpful to me. I'll post a picture when I finally do find the right hat.
    Seasonally, do most wear the felt hats even in warmer weather?
     
  9. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Speaking for myself and what I think is a general consensus, felt hats tend to be worn more in moderate, cool, and cold weather as they are just too hot in hot weather. Most of us wear some variation of straw, hemp, or panama hats in the summer heat.
     
  10. Doctor Strange

    Doctor Strange I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,909
    Location:
    Hudson Valley, NY
    The only felt hat I wear in the summer is an Akubra Cattleman... which has no lining and six ventilation holes. I use it for hiking and yard work, and find it's no hotter than my Stetson panama, which is my "around town" summer hat. Hey, when it's hot, you're gonna sweat a ton no matter what hat you wear... but ventilation does help a bit.

    I put away all my lined/unvented felt hats on or around what was once called Straw Hat Day (May 15), and don't bring them back until the equivalent Felt Hat Day (September 15). But we do have folks here who wear felt hats in hot weather; it's really more about your personal comfort tolerances than anything else.
     
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  11. I’m mostly against trying get to stretch hats to fit. If you have an oval hat and need to reshape it to a long oval, or if it’s just ever too snug then a hat jack/stretcher can really help. I’ve damaged a few hats trying to do more and I’ve vowed never again.

    That hat looks fine, but it’s hard to say without feeling and seeing it. Modern Stetson Royal (not Royal De Luxe) fedoras are often made with terrible felt. Buying sight unseen is risky sure, even if you do it all the time. If you are open to buying vintage, 7 1/4 is sort of at the top end of the common vintage sizes, but some patience can really pay off with a beautiful hat.

    You might also look at The Northwest Hat Company and ask about his ready made hats (available in several colors) that he trims the brims to your specified width. For a small surcharge he’ll change ribbons, etc. (look at post 1648)

    https://www.thefedoralounge.com/threads/northwest-hats-eugene-ore.66155/page-83

    As has already been mentioned, if you can wait two months (his approximate current queue) you can commission a custom hat from Gannon (or others) for $200 or less and get the felt color, ribbon color and width, brim width and edge treatment, crown height, etc. exactly as you want them. It’s not at all an intimidating process, and if you aren’t sure about all the details you just tell the hatter what you’re after and give the few details you know you want and let them choose the rest. The payoff isn’t just that you get the hat you want; a $200 Gannon is nicer than a $350 Stetson. As a bonus you’ll get a hat that fits...that one is rather important. :)

    To circle back around, if the wanted a classic styled hat with a raw brim edge without the wait or cost of a custom, it’s hard to ignore the Akubra Federation IV. If you like the Stetson Caribou color I’d look at the Fed IV in Moonstone. The brim is a bit more than you wanted, but I think you’ll like it, or you can get it trimmed cheap enough.

    https://hatsdirect.com/collections/the-akubra-range-1/products/federation-iv-open-crown







    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
  12. RJR

    RJR

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    10,622
    Location:
    Iowa
    Good advice,imo.
     
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  13. Rmccamey

    Rmccamey My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Here is a fairly simple Gannon fedora. This one is beaver, but it might give you an idea of what you could get as a custom hat.

    New4.jpg New7.jpg New13.jpg
     
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  14. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

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    6,551
    Location:
    vancouver, canada
     
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  15. Strax

    Strax New in Town

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    1
    Hi everyone, I'm after some advice around buying my first 'cowboy' hat. I've wanted one for ages, but unfortunately, living in New Zealand means that you just don't really see them around much. There are no places that sell good quality hats anywhere near where I live, so trying something on, or even just looking at any before buying, is out of the question. Has anyone been in a similar situation before? I'm a bit nervous about spending a lit of money on something I find I don't really like, or doesn't fit properly when it arrives.

    Also, can someone explain how the measurements work? I assume the crown height is taken from where the brim joins, to the highest point of the hat? The measurements I've seen for these seem to be around 4 inches, which means my head would probably be pushing out the creases at the top! From photos I've seen, a lot of these kinds of hats seem to be much higher than the top of the head so I'm wondering if I'm getting confused somewhere! The brim size also seems to appear much larger in photos.

    Any help/advice for a first time hat buyer would be much appreciated!

    Oh, and sorry about the super long post!
     
  16. belfastboy

    belfastboy I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
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    Location:
    vancouver, canada
    Welcome to the Lounge. You are correct about crown height. Many hats run about 4.5" with the crease (more often called the 'bash') but westerns can run taller. The 4"+ should give you lots of height so the top of your head does not rub. The two aspects you need consider are the crown height and the brim width. Ask yourself what/where you plan to wear this hat. Western hats usually have a minimum brim width of 2 3/4" to upwards of 4". If sun protection is high on your list of wants then I would suggest a minimum of 3".

    Akubra Hats made in Australia make many western/outback styled hats so if you don't mind wearing an Aussie hat that is a great place to look. They offer the BEST cost to value proposition in the mass produced hat market today and they have great choice on crown heights and brim widths. Two great sources are Hats Direct and Everything Australian. Hats Direct carries more inventory but is a bit more expensive . Check with them regarding their return policy. If they are generous with it you may only be out the postage if you have to return it. They both have sales on right now so you can save some $$$. This a great forum to ask so you are in the right place. Good luck on the hunt.
     
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  17. If you can spend $100 more than what the Akubra will cost you, you can get a custom hat made and shipped to you. With a custom you can specify crown height and shape, brim width, felt color, ribbon width and color, the crease/bash (or open crown so you can do it yourself), and other details. You can make all the decisions, or you can send the hatter a photo(s) of another hat and have them duplicate it. As a bonus, the felt and leather sweatband will be nicer than an Akubra or Stetson. You get quite a lot more for the extra $100.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     
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  18. The Wiser Hatter

    The Wiser Hatter I'll Lock Up

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    4,764
    Location:
    Louisville, Ky
    First buy a hat but don’t spend a ton of money on it. You will most likely not end up wearing it as you will learn from that first purchase. You will learn that what you think you like and what you end up liking is two different things. [emoji3]
     
  19. dkstott

    dkstott One of the Regulars

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    287
    Location:
    Connecticut
    +1. Learn what you like and do like before pursuing a custom hat.

     
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  20. William G.

    William G. One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    158
    I've been there. Agonized over every step of the process, too.

    As for measurements, I believe the crown hight is just the front edge of the hat — I may be wrong about that, though. The side profile of most hats I own taper up from the front and then back down in the back.

    I would suggest finding a good online hat store that shows you how to take your measurements, get your measurements, and then buy a used fur felt hat in your size. As others have mentioned, you'll probably go through a few hats before you find the right one.

    My other piece of advice is to not judge a hat right out of the box. Steam it, shape it, give yourself some time to live in it. You might be surprised at how a hat becomes part of you, and it just becomes right over time.

     
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