Fedora Brands (Borsalino v. Stetson v. Makins)

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by sartorialism, Feb 17, 2011.

  1. sartorialism

    sartorialism Senior member

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    So, some of you (the ones who've been following the waywrn thread and my posts generally) know that I love fedoras. I've been wearing primarily Borsalinos, but have recently gotten some other hats. A few months ago, I got a Stetson (for BB), but I'm still not too crazy about it. it's a bit too heavy and stiff in shape, feel and look. But it was worth the price (80 dollars). Then, last week, I got a Brooks Brothers fedora. It isn't made by Stetson (it's made in Italy), but it doesn't look like a Borsalino, either. Its construction is a lot more like a Borsalino, in that it's less structured, lighter, softer, and, if you ask me nicer. Finally, yesterday I got a whole stock (upward of ten, I think) Makins hats. They look and feel amazing—far better than any of the the others, even if more casual. But I never even heard of the brand before. I just found it, loved it, tried a few hats on, and proceeded to check out. (If you do like them, I can pick up a few at half price.) All of the hats are rabbit fur (I can't afford beaver hats). I want to know your opinions on these different hat brands and how they appear. More important, I want to hear your thoughts about Makins (I know enough about Stetson and Borsalino at this point). What do you know about the quality? What would you pay for them (they retail for about the same as comparable (rabbit fur) Borsalinos)? Etc... Please, comment with your thoughts. I'll post pics of the hats later, please God.
     


  2. imatlas

    imatlas Senior member

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    Some of those Makins are [​IMG], some are [​IMG], some are [​IMG]
     


  3. Fred H.

    Fred H. Senior member

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    Depending upon the size of your noggin (smaller the better), you'd do well with either vintage lids or hats from Art Fawcett and Vintage Silhouettes. Art's hats run a little over $300, fit your head exactly, and are 100% beaver fur. In my estimation you can get by with just two: (1) chocolate brown; and (2) mid-gray.
     


  4. sartorialism

    sartorialism Senior member

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    Some of those Makins are [​IMG], some are [​IMG], some are [​IMG]

    Definitely. I didn't buy them all. The ones I did buy, however, are from the [​IMG] category. At least in looks (remember, pics are coming later). But what about the quality? Also varies?
     


  5. hatguy

    hatguy Senior member

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    would also consider penman hats which is custom for your head shape/size, felt, ribbon etc.
     


  6. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    Also, Akubra. If you thought the Stetson was too stiff (I'll probably soften up a fair deal), you won't like them at the start, but I'm told that they really break in. Durable as hell, apparently. And the Fed IV (a special for hatsdirect) is a favorite of the fedora lounge, which I would recommend you spend some time on.
     


  7. dasai

    dasai Senior member

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    Seconding Fred H. Vintage Silhouettes will make a custom hat out of beaver fur (superior to rabbit) to your exact specifications... but it's best to get an idea of what you like and what looks good on you before you go that route. I'm hoping to get one by the end of next year, probably a stingyish brown one like you'd see on men at the racetrack and at sporting events back in the day.
     


  8. mktitsworth

    mktitsworth Senior member

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    One thing I haven't noticed mentioned thus far is Peters Bros. Hats. For my wedding last fall I got one of their custom fedoras, and it is by far the best hat I've ever owned. It is entirely customized, from the material (beaver fur felt), to the brim width (2 5/8), to the ribbon, to the height and shape of the crown (tear drop), even to the bound edge I had put on. The really cool part was when they went beyond just getting the exact size of my hat and creating a custom template of my head to which the hat was built. I've worn it in 40 mile/hr winds and it's never blown off.

    In the process of this, one of the contributing factors to the stiffness of the hat is the felt used. Wool is very soft, rabbit is stiffer but still soft, blends of beaver and rabbit can very (and even be made stiffer than beaver), while beaver is stiffer still than rabbit.
     




  9. mktitsworth

    mktitsworth Senior member

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    I'm a big hat guy. I love hats. I've gone through three wool felt hats in the last 8 or so years, so for me it was a personal "I'm tired of loving and losing a hat" sort of decision. It's beautiful, and I love it... and I've noticed that there does not seem to be a hat porn thread.

    As far as it goes though, I don't know about online, but I know that in store that peters brothers stocks hats probably in the 80-150 range.
     


  10. cptjeff

    cptjeff Senior member

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    I'm a big hat guy. I love hats. I've gone through three wool felt hats in the last 8 or so years, so for me it was a personal "I'm tired of loving and losing a hat" sort of decision. It's beautiful, and I love it... and I've noticed that there does not seem to be a hat porn thread.

    As far as it goes though, I don't know about online, but I know that in store that peters brothers stocks hats probably in the 80-150 range.


    That's probably since all the hat porn is over on the Fedora Lounge. They have a rather massive hat porn thread.
     


  11. mktitsworth

    mktitsworth Senior member

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    That's probably since all the hat porn is over on the Fedora Lounge. They have a rather massive hat porn thread.

    I noticed someone mention them earlier in this thread, I believe. Needless to say, I've started poking around over there as well.
     


  12. Mudhiker

    Mudhiker Senior member

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    I've been pondering adding such a hat to my rotation, but I want to avoid above all else being mistaken for a hipster. I think at 31 I might be a bit youthful yet to pull it off. The fact that I have an oblong 7 3/4 noggin prevents me from experimenting with the cheap end, s-m-l-xl mail order stuff. When I do it I'll have to find a proper brick and mortar hatter I think.
     


  13. mktitsworth

    mktitsworth Senior member

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    I've been pondering adding such a hat to my rotation, but I want to avoid above all else being mistaken for a hipster. I think at 31 I might be a bit youthful yet to pull it off. The fact that I have an oblong 7 3/4 noggin prevents me from experimenting with the cheap end, s-m-l-xl mail order stuff. When I do it I'll have to find a proper brick and mortar hatter I think.

    You're never too young for a good hat. If it's done well with a good brim and something that suits you, I, personally, think a hat is a wonderful accessory that lets you remain classic while standing out... especially a good hat amongst the what-I'm-wearing-barely-counts-as-a-fedora-in-look-and-not-at-all-in-quality hipster crowd.
     


  14. sartorialism

    sartorialism Senior member

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    You're never too young for a good hat. If it's done well with a good brim and something that suits you, I, personally, think a hat is a wonderful accessory that lets you remain classic while standing out... especially a good hat amongst the what-I'm-wearing-barely-counts-as-a-fedora-in-look-and-not-at-all-in-quality hipster crowd.

    +1. No one will mistake you for a hipster if you wear a quality hat that fits well. They might mistake you for Italian, Jewish, rich or stylish"”but not a hipster.
     


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