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Hat Fitment

Jimvint

New in Town
Messages
13
Location
Northwest Wisconsin
In your experiences do you think there is some variation in size between different hat makers? I suppose when I buy used hats some of them could have been stretched to some degree by a previous owner? It's kind of a risk buying online and some hats fit really well and I have found a few that were noticeably loose. All in size 6 7/8.
 

Rmccamey

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,709
Location
Central Texas
With the exception of bowlers, I'd say probably 90% of the used hats I have ever purchased marked 7 1/8 (57) [regular oval] were spot-on.


In your experiences do you think there is some variation in size between different hat makers? I suppose when I buy used hats some of them could have been stretched to some degree by a previous owner? It's kind of a risk buying online and some hats fit really well and I have found a few that were noticeably loose. All in size 6 7/8.
 

CRH

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,264
Location
West Branch, IA
Heck, there's size variations within the same brand.
Oh for sure. Here's one that actually fits but whoops. I'll have to fix this myself because I'm too embarrassed and ashamed to ask for help. Oy
 

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The Lost Cowboy

One Too Many
Messages
1,466
Location
Northern Alabama
In your experiences do you think there is some variation in size between different hat makers? I suppose when I buy used hats some of them could have been stretched to some degree by a previous owner? It's kind of a risk buying online and some hats fit really well and I have found a few that were noticeably loose. All in size 6 7/8.

When ordering vintage hats online, I most often look for or ask for photos of side-to-side and front-to-back head opening measurements in inches. You take those two measurements and add them together and then divide by two and that gives you the US hat size.

But you definitely want to measure your own head first. If you’ve never done that, I would recommend doing so before you buy another hat. Measure it in inches and divide by pi for your US hat size.

In my experience, knowing my exact head measurement and seeing a hat’s head opening measurements online is the only way to know if a potential purchase will fit. Again, this is just my experience, but for me vintage hat sizes are all over the place. Maybe I have just been unlucky in this regard, but seeing the actually measurements is the only way I can know for sure.

Eventually I got to where I pretty much trust that I can make a size 7 fit - but I know how to stretch hats now. Sometimes I take a gamble and purchase a 6-7/8, but I don’t purchase a 7-1/8 unless I know the measurements.

Unfortunately, you might have a mid- or long-oval head which will make a difference in fit. But you’ll need someone else to help you on that count because I don’t have that particular challenge.

Sorry if all this is stuff you already know, but it seemed worth repeating just in case.
 

Jimvint

New in Town
Messages
13
Location
Northwest Wisconsin
Thanks Lost Cowboy.
I measured my head for circumference so I know that part. I didn't know about measuring and dividing by pi. That method puts me really close to the 6 7/8. I have been going by online size charts by inches.

I did not know about the long oval. I haven't tried one and so far most of the hats that I have bought have fit with a few exceptions. I am thinking about trying a 6 3/4 size and see how stretching would work. Especially if I can find a cheap one on eBay.
I'm a cheap so-and-so, in that regard I'm looking at maybe minimizing risk in online purchases.
 

Rmccamey

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,709
Location
Central Texas
You should be able to find a multitude of inexpensive, high quality vintage hats in your size!

Thanks Lost Cowboy.
I measured my head for circumference so I know that part. I didn't know about measuring and dividing by pi. That method puts me really close to the 6 7/8. I have been going by online size charts by inches.

I did not know about the long oval. I haven't tried one and so far most of the hats that I have bought have fit with a few exceptions. I am thinking about trying a 6 3/4 size and see how stretching would work. Especially if I can find a cheap one on eBay.
I'm a cheap so-and-so, in that regard I'm looking at maybe minimizing risk in online purchases.
 

The Lost Cowboy

One Too Many
Messages
1,466
Location
Northern Alabama
Thanks Lost Cowboy.
I measured my head for circumference so I know that part. I didn't know about measuring and dividing by pi. That method puts me really close to the 6 7/8. I have been going by online size charts by inches.

I did not know about the long oval. I haven't tried one and so far most of the hats that I have bought have fit with a few exceptions. I am thinking about trying a 6 3/4 size and see how stretching would work. Especially if I can find a cheap one on eBay.
I'm a cheap so-and-so, in that regard I'm looking at maybe minimizing risk in online purchases.

So my head is about 22-1/16 inches, meaning I should fit a size 7 very well. I’d say about half of the vintage size 7 hats I have purchased have been small and needed a slight stretch. About 1/4 have been right on and about 1/4 have been a tiny bit too large.

All of my 6-7/8 with maybe two exceptions have needed quite a bit of stretching. If I hadn’t had the experience stretching the 7s, I would not have known how to stretch the 6-7/8s. Stretching is a kind of delicate process that you need to learn by doing.

My point is this: I’d recommend buying the size that is your circumference divided by Pi. If your experience is like mine with vintage hats, you will have enough to learn just doing that. If you are between sizes, then never mind that advice and buy up or down because really it’s 50/50 either way.

BTW, our small sizes do not sell as easily as most of the other sizes and for that reason they are quite often less expensive in vintage. However, that often means that they can be very difficult to resell - especially under size 7. So, if you buy 6-3/4 and can’t get them to work, you might not be able to pass them on. Just something else to consider.

That’s just my advice, but of course do what you think is best and I wish you all the success!
 

The Lost Cowboy

One Too Many
Messages
1,466
Location
Northern Alabama
Thanks Lost Cowboy.
I measured my head for circumference so I know that part. I didn't know about measuring and dividing by pi. That method puts me really close to the 6 7/8. I have been going by online size charts by inches.

I did not know about the long oval. I haven't tried one and so far most of the hats that I have bought have fit with a few exceptions. I am thinking about trying a 6 3/4 size and see how stretching would work. Especially if I can find a cheap one on eBay.
I'm a cheap so-and-so, in that regard I'm looking at maybe minimizing risk in online purchases.

Oh and by the way, don’t forget about the side-to-side and front-to-back head measurements. That takes the guess work right out!

Some sellers list these measurements in the item description on eBay and others provide a photo of the measuring device laid across the hat. A few even show a photo of the hat’s size on a milliners sizing tool (the absolute best way).

Most sellers don’t provide anything at all but it never hurts to ask.
 

Jimvint

New in Town
Messages
13
Location
Northwest Wisconsin
Thanks Lost Cowboy for the advice.
I see your point on resale with the small size hats. I'll stick with the 6 7/8s.
And they do seem to be cheaper sometimes with some sellers being very negotiable on offers.
This is a learning experience and an enjoyable one at that.
 

Rmccamey

I'll Lock Up
Messages
5,709
Location
Central Texas
Here you go. Probably 1920s. It has been my experience that old bowlers run small. For the price, it would be worth a chat with the seller to get LxW measurements as Nathan suggested.


Thanks Lost Cowboy for the advice.
I see your point on resale with the small size hats. I'll stick with the 6 7/8s.
And they do seem to be cheaper sometimes with some sellers being very negotiable on offers.
This is a learning experience and an enjoyable one at that.
 

The Lost Cowboy

One Too Many
Messages
1,466
Location
Northern Alabama
Here you go. Probably 1920s. It has been my experience that old bowlers run small. For the price, it would be worth a chat with the seller to get LxW measurements as Nathan suggested.


Nice bowler, great price!

Btw, @Jimvint, here are photos of a head opening measurement example, in case my description was not clear enough.

IMG_2038.jpeg
IMG_2037.jpeg
 

rogueclimber

One of the Regulars
Messages
251
Location
Marina del Rey

The Lost Cowboy

One Too Many
Messages
1,466
Location
Northern Alabama
curiosity had me wondering what the circumference of the oval (ellipse) would be

Any calculators for an egg shaped oval (ovoid)?

If shopping I typically look for a length and width that match my size 7-1/2 LO head (taken from a hat that fits me well). The circumference could be the same if a regular oval (slightly shorter and slightly wider).
 

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