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Putting on and Taking off your Fedora

dlvh

New in Town
Messages
45
Location
Michigan, USA
I'd like to know from the FL members here:

How many of you Put On and Take Off your Fedora (be it Wool Felt or a Fur Felt) using the crown instead of the brim?...unless it is a stiff-brimmed hat, like a homburg or a stingy, skimmer or the like.

I have been somewhat nostalgic since finding the Fedora Lounge, and have been watching older movies/film clips/MovieTone News on the TCM network of late, and have noticed most every male star/actor or whatever, putting on and taking off their Fedoras via the crown instead of the brim.

Ever since I purchased my first Fedora (years ago now) I have done the same thing, although I read somewhere (on the FL maybe?), that you are NOT suppose to put them on and take them off via the crown.

Now I know that I'm not the only one that does this (via visual proof) but I was wondering if most of you all do this as well. I find the brim of my fedoras to be too flimsy to put them on and take them off this way, and find it much more conveniant grasping the crown and see no harm in doing this, as I have noticed numerous others doing this as well.

Looking forward to reading your answers on this.

Happy Fedora Wearer!
 
Last edited:

Engrishman

Familiar Face
Messages
92
Location
Vancouvice-vancouversa
I'd like to know from the FL members here:

How many of you Put On and Take Off your Fedora (be it Wool Felt or a Fur Felt) using the crown instead of the brim?...unless it is a stiff-brimmed hat, like a homburg or a stingy, skimmer or the like.

I have been somewhat nostalgic since finding the Fedora Lounge, and have been watching older movies/film clips/MovieTone News on the TCM network of late, and have noticed most every male star/actor or whatever, putting on and taking off their Fedoras via the crown instead of the brim.

Ever since I purchased my first Fedora (years ago now) I have done the same thing, although I read somewhere (on the FL maybe?), that you are NOT suppose to put them on and take them off via the crown.

Now I know that I'm not the only one that does this (via visual proof) but I was wondering if most of you all do this as well. I find the brim of my fedoras to be too flimsy to put them on and take them off this way, and find it much more conveniant grasping the crown and see no harm in doing this, as I have noticed numerous others doing this as well.

Looking forward to reading your answers on this.

Happy Fedora Wearer!


Hollywood movies are an absolutely horrible demonstration of how to handle a hat... at least if you want it to last. Let's take our good friend Gene Kelly as an extreme example:
singing+in+the+rain.jpg

While the musical number is awe-inspiring, that fedora is toast. He should have used his umbrella.

Donning and doffing your hat by the crown may look picturesque in that manly old vintage way because almost every male movie star of the period did it. But you have to remember that actors are in costume. And the hats are just a part of that costume. And that costume is most likely going into mothball right after filming is finished. Ergo, the hats are as expendable as the rest of the costume, which have limited lifespans depending on the movie in question (WETA built half a dozen replicas of the same swords for the Lord of the Rings movies, just in case the blades broke/got lost/bent/chipped/fell off a cliff during filming.)

Additionally, I'm pretty sure movie companies, being the bottomless money pits they are, would have multiple fedoras made for a vintage movie star in case something were to happen. So after Mister Kelly absolutely warped his fedora whilst singing in the rain, you can be certain he had another ready for the next scene. (Or even the same scene, since the filming of that dance number took place over 3 days.)

The first thing the nice hat lady told me when I bought a fedora was this: "Holding the hat by the crown is a good way to kill your hat." And here's why: Grasping a hat by the crown will eventually warp it, crush it, or split it down the middle. This is especially true of some older, vintage fedoras. I had to pass up a fantastic fifty-year old Stetson (a great brand made to last a lifetime, by the way) that was my size and the colour I wanted, mainly because the crown had been held so many times that it had warped into this strange, if not alien, shape.

If you want your three hundred dollar fedora to last you longer than it takes to film a vintage movie, doff and don it by grasping the front and back (or alternatively, both sides) of the brim.

But if you're a bottomless money pit like MGM or any of the other dastardly movie companies, then, by all means, feel free to handle your hat however you like.

sjff_01_img0454.jpg

Just make sure you replace it after a nice song and dance number.
 
Last edited:
Messages
10,879
Location
Portage, Wis.
Its' funny you mention this. I was watching All in the Family today and Archie took off his fedora by the brim and it seemed funny to me. I always take mine off by the brim.
 

monbla256

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,239
Location
DFW Metroplex, Texas
I'd like to know from the FL members here:

How many of you Put On and Take Off your Fedora (be it Wool Felt or a Fur Felt) using the crown instead of the brim?...unless it is a stiff-brimmed hat, like a homburg or a stingy, skimmer or the like.

I have been somewhat nostalgic since finding the Fedora Lounge, and have been watching older movies/film clips/MovieTone News on the TCM network of late, and have noticed most every male star/actor or whatever, putting on and taking off their Fedoras via the crown instead of the brim.

Ever since I purchased my first Fedora (years ago now) I have done the same thing, although I read somewhere (on the FL maybe?), that you are NOT suppose to put them on and take them off via the crown.

Now I know that I'm not the only one that does this (via visual proof) but I was wondering if most of you all do this as well. I find the brim of my fedoras to be too flimsy to put them on and take them off this way, and find it much more conveniant grasping the crown and see no harm in doing this, as I have noticed numerous others doing this as well.

Looking forward to reading your answers on this.

Happy Fedora Wearer!

You've made a good observation which probably has more truth in it than you realize. I think the main thing about handleing it by the crown is that you will modify the crease and probably change the felt color after time due to the body oils in your fingers. I have my fathers Sunday felt from 1947 and it shows NO thinning of the felt in the crease area and he ALWAYS took his hat off by the crown in the 20 years he wore it. I probably take my felts off by the crown 50% of the time, but take my Panama's off by the brim 85 % of the time. For the amount of wear and use most "collectors" would give a felt it's probably minimal the damage that would be done by handling by the crown. JMHO :)
 

warbird

One Too Many
Messages
1,171
Location
Northern Virginia
I think it was more than just Hollywood who usually took their hats on and off by the crown. This was the way several of the first creases developed. Naturally because of the way they were handled. Is that a good way to handle your hats, no definitely not the best. However most men of any modicum of financial ability had two hats, one for dress or work if they worked in an office environ, and one for outdoor work and activity. As we handle dress clothing differently from outdoor clothing, I imagine they handled their hats differently, if at all. I think most people on here pay far more attention to how they handle their vintage hats, than most people back then and previous handled their hats. The hats that took them a lot of money to buy, they took better care of in general from my experience of having grown up in a hat wearing, older family.

For what it's worth I handle my best hats differently than I do my most worn in the elements hats.
 
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Lefty

I'll Lock Up
Messages
8,639
Location
O-HI-O
If it's not made for handling by the crown, I use the brim.
grab-ithat1956.jpg
grab-ithat1.jpg

sorry, I can't recall who first found this

**Hey, does it count as a fedora if the crease is way off center? It's certainly not a pork pie. I think we need some clarification.
nest.gif
 
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Tomasso

Incurably Addicted
Messages
13,719
Location
USA
While the musical number is awe-inspiring, that fedora is toast. He should have used his umbrella.
Actually, a good fur felt (beaver especially) can usually handle a thorough dousing with little deleterious effect. Check out this thread. That said, I prefer to use a brolly during downpours to protect my clothing from becoming soaked.
 

ScionPI2005

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,334
Location
Bremerton, Washington
Hollywood movies are an absolutely horrible demonstration of how to handle a hat... at least if you want it to last....

This is very true! When I was first getting into hats in high school, I was surprised when instructed by a few hat store owners to always handle my fedoras by the brim. Prior to that, I'd always assumed the crease in the crown was specifically a "handle" for handling the hat. I guess that impression came from watching movies growing up, where all hat wearers seem to handle their hat by the crown.

Currently, most of the time, I do take my hat on and off by the brim. However, I do sometimes slip and grab the crown. It's fairly rare though, so I'm not too worried.
 

Nick D

Call Me a Cab
Messages
2,166
Location
Upper Michigan
On the other hand, a lot of those old actors provided their own wardrobe.

I usually take off by the brim, and put on by the crown because I can get it the way I want better. I'll then adjust by the brim. If I'm just plopping it on the back of my head, though, I'll use the brim.
 

Kinoss

New in Town
Messages
19
Location
Florida
I've only just recently purchased my first fedora and I love it. Though I often use the crown. I suppose I should break that habit early.
 

Jim2903

One of the Regulars
Messages
142
Location
Chicago NW Suburbs
I've also noticed that, in the movies, no one seems to put their hat down on its crown like you're supposed to -- they set it on the brim, which we've also been advised is no good.
 

Engrishman

Familiar Face
Messages
92
Location
Vancouvice-vancouversa
On the other hand, a lot of those old actors provided their own wardrobe.

Two factors to consider if this is true. During their day 1) they also earned a pretty penny 2) hat makers were a dime a dozen.

Their purchasing power being phenomenal due to films, advertising, and merchandising, I'm sure many of these actors considered their costumes throw-away in more reasons than one, particularly if they could simply buy a new hat or suit if the old one wore down.

Additionally, consider that fedoras were the "in-thing" at the time, and hatters were quite common and competed fiercely. This sort of competitive market for headgear follows a basic economic principle: Increased supply drives down price. Additionally, availability of hatters for repairs on damaged hats would have been less costly and/or much easier to come by.

This is a far cry from today's niche markets, where finding a competent hatter to re-block your the fedora you so carelessly damaged is so difficult you may as well learn to re-block the hat yourself.
 

fmw

One Too Many
Messages
1,017
Location
USA
I've also noticed that, in the movies, no one seems to put their hat down on its crown like you're supposed to -- they set it on the brim, which we've also been advised is no good.

It is good for me. I would never put my hat down on its crown. I always put it down on its brim. If it has a snapped down brim, I put the front over the edge.
 

rgraham

A-List Customer
Messages
309
Location
Nor Cal
I was watching "Gone With the Wind" the other night, and noticed how Clark Gable would put on his hat. He always put it on holding the front of the brim, then would grab the brim by the right side and give it a tug downward. Gave him that jaunty, man-about-town look.
 

JimWagner

Practically Family
Messages
946
Location
Durham, NC
I put on and take off my felt hats by the crown most of the time and always have. Gently. I've had some of my hats more than 20 years and I haven't had any problems with doing so. Straws, like others have stated, I handle by the brims. Their crowns are really too delicate for handling much. YMMV.
 

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