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Lee Hats

Bud-n-Texas

Practically Family
Messages
975
Location
Central Texas (H.O.T.)
I never see much about this maker, not many show up for auction. Do any of our historians have any info on this maker? I think it is a New York made hat from what I have heard. Is it a middle of the road hat? etc.....
 

MattC

A-List Customer
Messages
424
Location
San Francisco and New York City
Its a Danbury hat

For a time Lee called itself "5th Ave," but like Dobbs, that's because they had a store there. Lee hats were made in Danbury Conn. They were good hats. The top of the Lee line hats were very well made, nice material. Not quite up there with Cavanagh, Knox and Borsalino. But nice.
 

funneman

Practically Family
Messages
851
Location
South Florida
Don't know much about their history, but...

...I picked up a black Lee stingy brim on ebay. I wanted a Blues Brothers type hat. As close as I can figure it dates at least back to the sixties/seventies as it has a black sweatband.

It seems well made. Even has a sewn in lining, I'm told by fellow FL'ers that's a sign of a well made hat. However the edge of the brim is just trimmed, no treatment of the edge at all.
I'm told most Lee's have what's called a "Cavanaugh Edge" but this one does not. Perhaps it was trimmed off?

It seems a lot stiffer than most of my other fedoras, almost like a cowboy hat. It really keeps it's shape.

I'm temped to wear it out in the rain to see if that will soften it up a little bit.

Since I only paid $15 INCLUDING shipping, I'm happy.
 

Bud-n-Texas

Practically Family
Messages
975
Location
Central Texas (H.O.T.)
I am waiting for a Lee panama straw that I won on ebay. The photos looked pretty good, wont know until it arives. It needs some steam to reshape it but that should be no big task. The only drawback is its hatband, the mauve surely must go. I have some black grograin that looks like a good candidate.

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http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...00012858405&rd=1&sspagename=STRK:MEWN:IT&rd=1
 

WesternHatWearer

A-List Customer
Messages
366
Location
Georgia
I do see this comment will be almost 9 years after the previous comments. I came across two Lee Hats in Georgia. One hat was in Sackett's Western Wear and Tack in Dalton, GA. While the other was at Horsetown (East) in Snellville, GA. Neither of which had bound edges, both hats were western hats.
I came across both about a month ago.

Just wanted to share and add to the history.
 
Messages
10,201
Location
Boston area
Great thread revival WHW! Please post a picture when you have a chance.

As many hats as they made under private label or the Lee brand, it's surprising that this thread doesn't contain more posts. Then I remembered this thread, The Lee Lounge.

My first fedora, purchased as NOS in 1971, IS a Lee Private Label. I say IS, because I still wear it regularly, and it continues to receive great comments.
 

C.M. Albrecht

New in Town
Messages
21
I have a beautiful beaver fedora labeled Towncraft, but somewhere along the line, I heard Penney got a lot of hats, if not all, from Lee. This is very well made with a true felted edge — even Optimo doesn't offer that. Evidently it's a lost art. I'm not sure, but I'm sure that in the good old days, men would spend a lot more on a hat than they might on other apparel. For Penney to offer a beautiful hat like this as what we always considered (especially in the past) a working-man's clothing store where all they sold was cheap end men's clothing and housedresses, etc. If anybody knows anything about a connection between Penney and Lee or any other hatmaker, please post.
 

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