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I need some HAT help!!!!

Messages
16,653
Location
Central California
So I’ve found the perfect hat that I feel comfortable wearing around town without feeling too self conscious about. The thing is it is a straw hat. The tag says “Sunbody”. Seems not too “western” and not too “dressy”. It might be nice to find one with a similar shape/size in fur felt that could be worn everyday. I do have a 50s 3x that I also like but is quite heavy and feels too nice for everyday wearing.

Curious if anyone has brand/style/ maker suggestions. I really appreciate the knowledge and expertise here. Thanks!


SunBody hats are not known as light weights: I’d be surprised if your 1950s 3X was heavier unless it’s a large western hat.

I love custom hats and working with various hatters, but if I’m honest the best vintage hats are better than my custom hats…although I have some that are close. If you wear a vintage friendly size you should check out the used hat market.

For custom fedora makers, I’d say Wolfbrae is hard to beat and if your budget will stretch I’d look hard at Gannon too. Of course, there are many custom hatters making great hats. After a three year break I’m trying Agnoulita again. He claims his build quality and materials have gone up a lot and if so they are a bargain with 100% beaver hats at $288 with free shipping. We’ll see.
 
Messages
16,653
Location
Central California
If you can stand another 1/4" on the brim I would look at an Akubra Campdraft. It could easily be creased like this and is one of the better bargains for a fur-felt hat. Especially if it is your first new one. The vintage market probably has many, many hats that would fit this bill as well, but you would have to dig.


Great choice recommending an Akubra. The Campdraft is just about the perfect hat. I wish it had another 1/2” of crown, but that’s being pretty picky.
 

Who?

A-List Customer
Messages
433
Location
Vernon, CT
Great choice recommending an Akubra. The Campdraft is just about the perfect hat. I wish it had another 1/2” of crown, but that’s being pretty picky.
Currently $160 from David Morgan, and all sizes, but the only color he has is black. You might want to think about ordering from Australia, if you don’t want black.

Folks here can advise on who are the better sellers in Australia.
 

oble

New in Town
Messages
10
If you can stand another 1/4" on the brim I would look at an Akubra Campdraft. It could easily be creased like this and is one of the better bargains for a fur-felt hat. Especially if it is your first new one. The vintage market probably has many, many hats that would fit this bill as well, but you would have to dig.
Great suggestion! Thank you. I will look into them.
SunBody hats are not known as light weights: I’d be surprised if your 1950s 3X was heavier unless it’s a large western hat.

I love custom hats and working with various hatters, but if I’m honest the best vintage hats are better than my custom hats…although I have some that are close. If you wear a vintage friendly size you should check out the used hat market.

For custom fedora makers, I’d say Wolfbrae is hard to beat and if your budget will stretch I’d look hard at Gannon too. Of course, there are many custom hatters making great hats. After a three year break I’m trying Agnoulita again. He claims his build quality and materials have gone up a lot and if so they are a bargain with 100% beaver hats at $288 with free shipping. We’ll see.
That’s funny, I just weighed both hats and they are exactly the same weight. Not sure why I though the Stetson was heavier.

Thank you for your honest insight on custom vs vintage. I do really like Stetson. Just want to be able to find something with the dimensions that I like. I better start searching.
 

johnnycanuck

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,961
Location
Alberta
Thank you for the thoughtful answer. Ive always liked how fedoras look and enjoy wearing them but as I live in rural New England finding something that is not too much of a dress hat has been the challenge.

I’ve been wearing this straw hat pretty comfortably now for a while and feel that it fits that bill.

I like the suggestion of reaching out to custom hat makers. Thank you for this th
That is Sunbody version of the Stetson “Open Road”. Stetson does still make that model but it comes pre-creased in a cattleman’s style. To get the look you are going for your two best options are the Akubra campdraft. It comes open crown so you can style it how you like. With shipping is roughly $200 Canadian.
https://everythingaustralian.com.au/row/campdraft-hat.html
https://hatsdirect.com/collections/akubra-open-crown/products/campdraft-open-crownhttps://www.thefedoralounge.com/threads/akubra-campdraft.32716/

Or go custom and you will get exactly what you want fully customizable. Usually $300 and up depending where you get it from.

Johnny
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,850
Location
vancouver, canada
Great suggestion! Thank you. I will look into them.

That’s funny, I just weighed both hats and they are exactly the same weight. Not sure why I though the Stetson was heavier.

Thank you for your honest insight on custom vs vintage. I do really like Stetson. Just want to be able to find something with the dimensions that I like. I better start searching.
Check out MiamiBruno on Ebay. He usually has very nice vintage hats for sale ....good quality, full disclosure on condition, at fair prices. He is a quality seller and has great hats in the dimensions you desire. It just depends on your size.
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,850
Location
vancouver, canada
Great suggestion! Thank you. I will look into them.

That’s funny, I just weighed both hats and they are exactly the same weight. Not sure why I though the Stetson was heavier.

Thank you for your honest insight on custom vs vintage. I do really like Stetson. Just want to be able to find something with the dimensions that I like. I better start searching.
I am a custom hat maker. My pricing for a European rabbit felt hat using all best quality components is still $250US. Beaver is $325. But I think buying an Akubra to begin with is a great idea. They represent great value in hats. It is a lower cost way to help you discern what works best for you.
 

eli hogue

New in Town
Messages
1
Looking for any info on this hat. The brand? The quality? Can't find anything online. Thank you in advance for any and all info, comment and feedback.
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jdouglasj

Familiar Face
Messages
58
I have purchased a number of nice hats over the year from Optimo here in Chicago, and I also spent too much money on a Watson's hat last year. I wish I had a great fedora, but the only hat that actually looks good on my huge, long head is the Open Road. I have a silver Stetson Open Road, for which I paid $200+. It's rabbit. I once had a tobacco Open Road but it was stolen by a staff member at Chicago Skyline Club some years ago. Now I want to get a new tobacco-colored Open Road, and I want a good one.

I can take my soft, expensive Optimo fedora out in a soaking wet snowstorm and it'll be none the worse for wear. But that soaking wet snow will make a mess of my stiff, rabbit Stetson. So question #1: If I had a 100% beaver Open Road, it would still have to be a stiff hat with a lot of starch to hold it's shape (right?). Would water still damage that hat, or could I wear it in a soaking wet snowstorm?

Question #2: The reviews for the 100% beaver Stetson Open Roads on their website aren't very good, although there are only a handful of reviews. Beaver is beaver, right? Or am I missing something that makes Stetson's of inferior quality? Is there anyone you would recommend to make me a durable, good looking Open Road?
 
Last edited:
Messages
16,653
Location
Central California
I have purchased a number of nice hats over the year from Optimo here in Chicago, and I also spent too much money on a Watson's hat last year. I wish I had a great fedora, but the only hat that actually looks good on my huge, long head is the Open Road. I have a silver Stetson Open Road, for which I paid $200+. It's rabbit. I once had a tobacco Open Road but it was stolen by a staff member at Chicago Skyline Club some years ago. Now I want to get a new tobacco-colored Open Road, and I want a good one.

I can take my soft, expensive Optimo fedora out in a soaking wet snowstorm and it'll be none the worse for wear. But that soaking wet snow will make a mess of my stiff, rabbit Stetson. So question #1: If I had a 100% beaver Open Road, it would still have to be a stiff hat with a lot of starch to hold it's shape (right?). Would water still damage that hat, or could I wear it in a soaking wet snowstorm?

Question #2: The reviews for the 100% beaver Stetson Open Roads on their website aren't very good, although there are only a handful of reviews. Beaver is beaver, right? Or am I missing something that makes Stetson's of inferior quality? Is there anyone you would recommend to make me a durable, good looking Open Road?


If you like a firmer felt more like a modern dress western Open Road I’d say The Northwest Hat Co. would be my first choice. If you liked a more vintage type of felt I’d go with the Gannon Hat Co. If you want to stick with FEPSA beaver like Optimo uses (Northwest and Gannon primarily use Winchester sourced beaver felt), then I’d look at Hufvud. I’d also send @belfastboy a PM to see if he has the color you’re after as he too has some FEPSA beaver and his prices are incredible.

Good luck!
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,850
Location
vancouver, canada
If you like a firmer felt more like a modern dress western Open Road I’d say The Northwest Hat Co. would be my first choice. If you liked a more vintage type of felt I’d go with the Gannon Hat Co. If you want to stick with FEPSA beaver like Optimo uses (Northwest and Gannon primarily use Winchester sourced beaver felt), then I’d look at Hufvud. I’d also send @belfastboy a PM to see if he has the color you’re after as he too has some FEPSA beaver and his prices are incredible.

Good luck!
I echo Deadly's advice. I have made myself two hats with the FEPSA beaver felt and it is incredible. The caveat is that my supplier brings in the 95gram weight. it is a beautiful felt, soft and malleable as a vintage Borsalino. Not sure it would stand up to a good soaking as it is so light weight. FEPSA makes all manner of felts; weights & finishes etc so my FEPSA is undoubtably different than Optimo's. I also use Ukraine beaver felt, it is a heavier 160gr but can be pounced to much thinner, softer, lighter felt. So if you do commission a custom hat have a direct conversation with the hatter about the feel you want. A good hatter can finesse the felt and get it close to what you want so have that conversation up front. I have Long Oval blocks up to 63cm in size.
 

jdouglasj

Familiar Face
Messages
58
Excellent advice all around. Let's talk. I have sent you a PM. I always prefer a softer hat, but there's something in my mind that says "an Open Road will need a lot of stiffener to hold that shape." I hope I'm wrong about that! Anyway, I look forward to hearing from you.
 

jdouglasj

Familiar Face
Messages
58
If you like a firmer felt more like a modern dress western Open Road I’d say The Northwest Hat Co. would be my first choice. If you liked a more vintage type of felt I’d go with the Gannon Hat Co. If you want to stick with FEPSA beaver like Optimo uses (Northwest and Gannon primarily use Winchester sourced beaver felt), then I’d look at Hufvud. I’d also send @belfastboy a PM to see if he has the color you’re after as he too has some FEPSA beaver and his prices are incredible.

Good luck!
If you have any pictures of how a "modern dress western Open Road' compares to a "more vintage type of felt" compared to FEPSA, please post. but you've given me a lot of places to look. thank you!!
 

Scooterz

Practically Family
Messages
843
Location
The Great Plains
I assume you know that older vintage open roads have more of a flatter brimmed teardrop shaped crown like many Akubra campdrafts are shaped. Akubra's can be shaped several ways including in a cattleman's crease. Modern open road Stetson's are more cowboy with a cattleman's shape, like LBJ's hat. Campdrafts are the aussie version of the original open road and can take lots of weather. I have hats from Belfast Boy at Wolfbrae Hats and from Gannon as well as modern and vintage Stetsons. Modern stetsons come in different felt qualities and some are stiffer and more western and some are softer. The royal deluxe open roads are usually softer but at one time Stetson stated which colors are made softer. The 6x open roads are more western stiff hats usually. If you want to handle rain the Akubras or custom hats are your best options. You cannot really go wrong with beaver felt from Gannon or Wolfbrae and lots of folks here really like Northwest Hats. Much more of a sure thing than modern hats. They all have threads dedicated to them which you can probably find with the search function.
 

Cepice

New in Town
Messages
31
Location
New England
I have to go to Austin for a big party in spring. I hope to avoid being the subject of Lyle Lovett's "That's right, you're not from Texas" song.

I have a grey Stetsonian open crown that has a brim just a tad too big for me but I love it anyway. I was wondering if you think I could put a cattleman crease and swap out the ribbon to pull this off? I would prefer a hat that I'm comfortable in than a new, perfect cowboy hat. Thoughts? Thanks!
 

RBH

Bartender
I have to go to Austin for a big party in spring. I hope to avoid being the subject of Lyle Lovett's "That's right, you're not from Texas" song.

I have a grey Stetsonian open crown that has a brim just a tad too big for me but I love it anyway. I was wondering if you think I could put a cattleman crease and swap out the ribbon to pull this off? I would prefer a hat that I'm comfortable in than a new, perfect cowboy hat. Thoughts? Thanks!


If it would suit you... you could do something similar.
Maybe with a bandana. I personally would not remove the ribbon.
It suits the Stetsonian so well.

I found these images of a Stetsonian.

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GIXuUr.jpg
 

belfastboy

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,850
Location
vancouver, canada
I have to go to Austin for a big party in spring. I hope to avoid being the subject of Lyle Lovett's "That's right, you're not from Texas" song.

I have a grey Stetsonian open crown that has a brim just a tad too big for me but I love it anyway. I was wondering if you think I could put a cattleman crease and swap out the ribbon to pull this off? I would prefer a hat that I'm comfortable in than a new, perfect cowboy hat. Thoughts? Thanks!
I am not clear on what you want to accomplish with the look. Do you want to make the Stetsonian more western in appearance? Do you want to take the hat from a classic fedora look to more of a hipster/boho look? I have a Cariboo modern Stetsonian. It came with the usual horrid cheap Stetson generic black ribbon. I immediately changed out the ribbon to a vintage lighter grey. So in your instance I would not hesitate to remove the crap stock ribbon.

You could look on line for a Vintage silk tie, deconstruct it (remove the stitching and interfacing) and fashion a wrap around tie to give it a contemporary boho look. (Look on Instagram for myriad pics of contemporary boho style hats and the wrap around fabric bands)

Using a vintage tie is Inexpensive and easy to do. Or online you can find an infinite array of western look hat bands. I have a preference for the braided horsehair bands. You can find good ones on Ebay for $40. You can get double or single tassle or no tassle at all. If you want more detail I can point you to my suppliers for vintage ties or western hat bands.
 

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