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Hat sizes : Akubra vs. Borsalino vs. Stetson

One Drop

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
Location
Swiss Alps
Hi, new poster here but a lurker since many years, where I've gained a lot of knowledge that has helped me find some great hats that I wear almost daily.

I'm curious as to your various experiences with comparative sizing between these companies, taking int0 account of course the variations between vintage and new etc.

The reason I ask is that I don't have much access to try on different brands where I live, and have had some varying results after trying on a few and buying a few new and vintage hats online.

I'm interested in a Stetson Dune for the winter, I need a weatherproof hat with a large brim and none of the Akubras I've seen really fit the style I'm looking for save the Bushman, and that's only available from Davis Morgan with prohibitive shipping costs to Switzerland. I really like my Bran Cattleman but I want either a Silverbelly or brownish and higher crowned hat for the winter. I love the Campdraft but the brim os too small for the Alpine sun here, and I hate wearing sunglasses with a brimmed hat.

Here are the data points I can give :
  • I measure between 56 - 57 cm with a cloth tape measure. I suspect I fit a long oval best.
  • My Akubra Cattleman in 57 fits me perfectly with a very thin shim (two very small folded plastic bags for emergency poop scoop duty), after having shrunk after repeated soakings in downpours and an hour or so left on purpose in the sun in a hot car.
  • A vintage 7 1/8" Dunlap Open Road style fedora fits a bit big even with a bit of padding fore and aft, it's still a bit too round after wearing quite a few times.
  • My favorite hat by far is a vintage 7 1/8" Borsalino Alessandria in light tan, it fits just a tiny bit big on the sides with a folded paper towel in back, conforming to my head shape better than the Dunlap as the form is quite a bit less rigid then the Dunlap. I'm pretty sure a Borsa in 7 or 56 would be perfect.
  • The few Stetsons I was able to try on in a shop all seemed really big even in size 56, most were cheaper wool or fur felt but one was a nice moderate Western style hat in Silverbelly with what seemed like pretty high quality fur felt. Circumstances didn't permit me to keep trying them on to find the right Stetson size, unfortunately, but I can eventually get to a shop that stocks them to find out what my real size is in that brand.
I'm very appreciative in advance of any help or suggestions - I have my eye on a used Acorn Dune in 6 7/8 that I was thinking of taking a chance on, perhaps foolishly!
 
Last edited:

der_ingenieur

New in Town
Messages
15
Location
Chicago IL
Hi there, and greeting to the land of fine watches and chocolate!

Really tough to say. In my opinion, there is a lot of variation even with one hat maker (try on multiple of the same model in the same size, and you will notice. In my estimation, the variation can be almost +/-1cm.
Borsalinos that I own and have tried tend to run a little larger compared to the Stetson I own. This means, in Stetson I wear a size 60, where my Borsalinos are 59.
For me, there is a very fine line between too big and too small. I am a long oval, like you, and have not much hair left. I suspect that things are more forgiving if you are blessed with a nice full set of hair up top. Stiff hats also also more difficult to fit correctly - the softer hats (like my Borsalinos) conform to the shape of the hat more easily.
My advice would be to pick a softer hat, and pick one which is a tiny bit on the large side. After you've worn it a lot it will conform to your head. Also, a hat will generally shrink with wear. That way you will eventually have a nice fitting hat.
 
Messages
19,003
Location
Central California
I’m hesitant to say anything as sizing is all over the place. I can say that for me Borsalino has run from true to size to a full size smaller than tagged. So my experiences have been just the opposite of @der_ingenieur This has been most pronounced on more recent made Borsalinos. For me, open crown modern Stetsons are the only hats that have run a bit bigger than tagged. Akubra runs a bit small so I always size up.

These experiences are going to be the exact opposite from what others will report. Not a lot of consistency. Being a long oval, I definitely go up in size when buying a firm felt hat.

Good luck.
 

One Drop

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
Location
Swiss Alps
Thanks, both, for your experiences, as divergent as they are. On thinking about it I'll probably stay away from the Dune if it's a firm Western hat. I really like the softness of my Borsalino, it's so comfortable even though it's still slightly too round for my head.

I got a message back from David Morgan that they can ship the Bushman less expensively, I'll probably pull the trigger on that one. I think the Akubra is probably overall better suited for the hard wearing it will get over the seasons here. I would have preferred to order another Akubra from Oz than the from US but there is really no comparative open crowned model available these days, as far as I can tell. The Campdraft brim is just too narrow to keep the sun out of my eyes and off my skin, the latter a really important issue here at altitude.
 
Messages
19,003
Location
Central California
Thanks, both, for your experiences, as divergent as they are. On thinking about it I'll probably stay away from the Dune if it's a firm Western hat. I really like the softness of my Borsalino, it's so comfortable even though it's still slightly too round for my head.

I got a message back from David Morgan that they can ship the Bushman less expensively, I'll probably pull the trigger on that one. I think the Akubra is probably overall better suited for the hard wearing it will get over the seasons here. I would have preferred to order another Akubra from Oz than the from US but there is really no comparative open crowned model available these days, as far as I can tell. The Campdraft brim is just too narrow to keep the sun out of my eyes and off my skin, the latter a really important issue here at altitude.


I have two of the Bushman hats and like them a lot. I wish the crowns were a bit taller, but you can’t have everything. The Bushman has been discontinued so act fast if that’s the hat you want.
 

One Drop

One of the Regulars
Messages
190
Location
Swiss Alps
I ordered one of the last Bushmans from DM, Moonstone in 56, after falling back in love with my Cattleman after wearing it through the first big snowstorm of the season, the Akubra felt is just so perfect for rain and snow, and the big brim is so protective.

I also couldn't resist buying a 50s vintage Stetson 7X Clear Beaver OR in size 7 Long Oval, what a gorgeous hat this is, the felt is so soft to the touch and so dense, yet very malleable, I steamed out the Cattleman crease and then shaped a new center crease with a soft pinch, the diamond crease I tried opened the sides out so much it went from fitting very well to far too loosely, the first time for me that the crease changed the sizing so radically. M guess is it's related to the long oval shape.
 

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