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post #151 of 1514

jcphoto: some basics:


you'll find a lot of paper and cloth hats in department / discount stores these days. never ever wear one of this with any kind of 'dressy' outfit. wearing them with jeans and a polo shirt is...a look, I guess.


those aside, you can kinda boil it down quite easily for seasons: there's wool/felt hats, which you wear in winter, spring and fall, and straw hats, which you wear in summer. (there's some opinions earlier in the thread about exactly when to switch from felt to straw, but I just tend to base it on the weather). If you want to keep it simple, your basic 'dress' hats are fedoras and panamas. you can get fedoras and panamas with different sizes of brim and different crown shapes; none of these is really more formal than the others, or more suited to any particular occasion than any other, it's purely a style choice. Colors of both the hat and the hat band are mostly just a question of co-ordination, and in terms of appropriateness / formality, pretty much follow the rules for suit colors (black is formal, grey and brown are safe, anything outside of that is getting a bit peacockish - blue hats fall on the peacockish side of things, unlike blue suits).


you can start broadening out into different styles and stuff once you have the basics. The homburg is an older style than the fedora, for instance - you can wear it today, but it can be a slightly tricky look to pull off, a fedora is safer. black homburg is correct with black tie if you're going to wear a hat with it. The bowler / derby is in kind of a similar position to the homburg - it's a dress hat which is now more unusual and hence trickier to wear than the fedora. In England it has certain social / class / job implications which make it a particularly tricky option for experts (and natives!) only, but this isn't such a problem outside of England. (though in America you might look like you just stepped out of a vintage Western). the boater is an alternative summer style to the panama, and again, somewhat less common these days - there's a big danger of looking costume-y in a boater, even more so than any hat :)


there's a whole sub-genre of Western/Australian style hats, which are probably best reserved for locals or at least worn with an 'appropriate' outfit, or else you risk looking like a politician appearing at a county fair. then you have soft, brimless hats like the flat cap and beret, which I'm mostly going to plead ignorance on as I don't like them and never wear them.


for sizing, mainly just worry about the circumference, this is the only thing specified on hats. Good hats will be sized either in the U.S. style (which ranges from around 6 (tiny) through 8 (huge) and goes down to 1/8th increments, most people fall somewhere in the 7s) or European style (which is integers up in the 40s/50s, IIRC). Both these are derived from actual measurements somehow, but I forget how, and it's easiest just to try on a few hats until you find your size, and that is your size. It's very easy to know if a hat fits - it shouldn't be so tight that it's squeezing your forehead, or so loose that it's sitting on your ears. You want the happy medium between those two points - lightly resting just above your ears. Hats from different makers will vary a little bit, but you'll usually always be within the same 1/4 range or so (I'm always either 7 1/8 or 7 1/4). Crown height thing I mentioned was kind of a special with that 'Indiana Jones' hat - aside from that, most hats will have reasonably similar crown heights and it shouldn't be a big problem. If a hat is sized S/M/L this is a good indicator that it's not a great hat - rather like sport coats in that regard, really. Having said that, a company called Brixton makes a line of wool felt fedoras that are sized S/M/L which I quite like as everyday beaters, and which don't look quite as dressy as 'proper' dress fedoras, which can be useful for semi-casual outfits or whatever.


Do certain hats lend themselves better to certain head shapes, well technically speaking I'm sure the answer is 'yes', but I don't know the details. I just tend to think of it as certain hats and styles just don't work  for certain people. See above - brimless hats mostly just don't work for me. A couple of things to keep an eye on for fedora-type hats are the brim size and band size; these make a significant difference to the appearance of the hat and you'll probably find that you generally look better in _either_ wide-brimmed _or_ narrow-brimmed hats. I just figure this out by experimentation myself. As a big generalization, a wide brim is more of an 'old-fashioned' look than a narrow brim, but beware the super-stingy brim that was kind of fashionable for terrible musicians a few years back, unless you want to look like a terrible musician from a few years back.


Really, the best thing to do is get ye to a local hat shop and experiment; try on a bunch of hats. If you have a good local hat shop there will likely be staff there who will be happy to give you a whole bunch of advice. Wear something reasonably neutral like a mid-grey suit or something, or just whatever type of outfit you're interested in wearing a hat with. If you want to go for a solid first purchase that's seasonally appropriate, get a classic panama with a medium sized brim and a conservative band, like black. Summer's coming, and a classic panama hat can look pretty nice with just about any outfit; I wear mine with all sorts of stuff, all summer long.

post #152 of 1514

 Here's my cowboy hats for you guys to peruse:



This one is a genuine Stetson hat. It doesn't look like a ten gallon hat in this pic but it seems like one when you put it on.













 This one is kinda dusty but it's my favorite. I wore it in the airport and carried it on the plane back from Arizona a few years back.


 Got all kinds of dirty looks. Ha ha!


 A gay guy (NTTAWWT) at a bar in Newark, NJ asked me if i was a real cowboy. lol

post #153 of 1514
Thanks for taking the time to post some excellent advice AW. Hats can be treachorous territory for a lot of people (even seasoned hat wearers) but the world would be a poorer place if they completely disappeared so I'm glad there are a few holdouts willing to preserve the tradition.
post #154 of 1514
Originally Posted by JCPhoto View Post

As a 28 year old who has started to lose his hair I'm inclined to start looking and learning about hats. Living in Calgary we get cold winters but also a lot of sun year round so both of the above reasons to wear hats definitely hold weight for me. This thread has started to provide some basics, and the pictures are handy for sure(thanks TTO) but I feel like there's a wealth of hat knowledge that I need to learn before starting to invest and I'm not sure where to look.

How do I know what hats are suitable for what situations or what to wear in different seasons?
How do you figure out sizing, the circumference is one thing but I'm sure there are other dimensions at play, AdamWill mentioned crown height in post 101?
Do certain hats lend themselves better to certain head shapes?(as per crusty's comment above)
What tones/colours are best for hats to make them versatile with your wardrobe?

I say just put it on and see if it fits on your head and if you like the way you look with it. biggrin.gif

post #155 of 1514

JCP, panama hats direct has a $48 hat that would be a good starting point. One of my favourite hats was bought off the streets of Guatemala for less. They also have a good measuring system.



post #156 of 1514

+1, that looks like a great starting point. also a nice illustration of various panama styles. pick whichever you think looks nice, they're all acceptable variations.


I like Pachacuti for panamas - - because they're fair trade, but somewhat more expensive than the site lefty gave you.

post #157 of 1514
Originally Posted by AdamWill View Post

jcphoto: some basics:

Very informative post, best in the thread so far, thank you VERY much Adam!

I've been trying to find a decent hat shop locally as suggested but by and large the hat stores around here fall into one of two categories, cheap gaudy and attempting to be 'current'(think mall stores filled with gross micro brimmed trilby's in outlandish colours), or 100% cowboy hats . The latter may sound like a strange thing to find in great quantity in this day and age but one of the largest tourist attractions in Calgary is the Stampede, a giant week long rodeo and outdoor show, this in combination with a long standing tradition to give visiting dignitaries a white cowboy hat have made them somewhat common place.

I did just come across one in my searches that a few dress hats in addition to the cowboy hats, all locally made, appear to be of good construction and materials, I'm going to swing by the store in the next few days, hopefully they have some semi-knowledgeable clerks to assist me!

Thanks to both Lefty and Adam as well for those links to Panama hats, I'll try the measuring system from the first and then compare to what I find when I go to the store above and go from there!
post #158 of 1514

glad to be of help. ah! I missed that you were in Calgary. had I noticed, I would have stuck with my original "politician visiting the Stampede" image for the wearing of Western hats, as you'll know exactly what I mean :)


The good local hat shop here in Vancouver is Edie's Hats, on Granville Island - worth a trip if you're ever out this way. There are good hat shops in SF and Seattle also.


Smithbilt are a fine old Canadian company and I'm sure would be a great place to visit. Their two models of fedora look perfectly decent from the web site and it looks like they could make you one in any of the basic colors and with a few customizations, and their 'Panama Fedora' in the straw hats section looks like a solid basic panama. The Scout would be a solid choice if you're attending a fancy dress party as Teddy Roosevelt, and I strongly recommend not attempting to pull off any of the top hats :)

post #159 of 1514
Originally Posted by Tibor View Post

I do not wear Morning Dress specifically for Breakfast, I wear Morning Dress routinley because I love formalizing daily activties, it helps me make the day more poetic. I can not speak for "The Spectre" because I do not know the chap, but the reason I take such great personal offense to the words "costume", is to me, a costume in American-English means pretend, playing dress up, something that is fake. My style is a direct expression of my thoughts, virtues, and ideals. When you say my style is a costume you are saying the expression of my principles are a facade and I am a man of no substance, only a pretend image. You may see me as whining but I find it a matter of principle to represent and defend what I stand for with full conviction.

I hope you're joking here!
post #160 of 1514
Borsalino Alessandria fedora I got in Chicago around 1970??

post #161 of 1514
Originally Posted by JLibourel View Post

I hope you're joking here!

Sadly I doubt it.

From ...


- noun
a style of dress, including accessories and hairdos, especially that peculiar to a nation, region, group, or historical period.
dress or garb characteristic of another period, place, person, etc., as worn on the stage or at balls.
fashion of dress appropriate to a particular occasion or season: dancing costume; winter costume.
a set of garments, especially women's garments, selected for wear at a single time; outfit; ensemble.

That's all I have to say on it. Rather than debate this bollocks I'd much rather see more pictures of dapper fellas looking comfortable in their titfers.
post #162 of 1514
Originally Posted by mr monty View Post

Borsalino Alessandria fedora I got in Chicago around 1970??

Beautiful but you won't be seeing that quality anytime soon.
post #163 of 1514

For those a little tight on space. Philippe Starck's 'Chapeau' table lamp.






post #164 of 1514
Thread Starter 
^^^Love that lamp...
post #165 of 1514
Thread Starter 
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