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Men's Hats: A Discussion Thread, Questions, Opinions, Suggestions...

mr monty

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These are both Bellissimo hats. If I knew what I know now about hats, I would have got these styled hats from Hornskov.
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meister

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Almost all my western boot clients wear felt hats throughout the year. Of course it depends on the individual and how much they perspire but usually only the 'urban cowboys' wear straw...if only because straw doesn't hold up well to the work or the wind.

I wore a 20x beaver for many years and never felt particularly hot. I had three custom hats made for me, one of which was purportedly from old mercury felted stock. And I have a good friend and client who wears a huge beaver hat all year long, switching to a light coloured hat in summer. He owns and operates a big ranch and raises cattle for the natural foods market.

Some people will sweat a hat hard though, and you'll see the stains on the felt. It's not held against them though, in fact, the opposite.

Big brims have been favoured for generations simply because it provides more shade.

In old photos you will, indeed, see a wide variety of hats if only because many of those photographed were more or less itinerant workers. You even see flat caps. Same with boots--some will be wearing ankle high lace ups of the sort worn by enlisted men in the Civil War.

Ditto Down Under. The Akubra - in all its manifestations - is worn in the bush by all working men and women.
 

meister

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Thanks. I am happy so far - haven't had a chance to wear it out yet.
For others new to the hat game: Nortwest, Wellema and Optimo all make great hats. Optimo is the most expensive though. BUT, seeing as I live in Ohio I was able to go to their shop and buy my hats in person. When I wanted to customize, I reached out to Wellema and Northwest. Both Mike (Northwest) and Cody (Wellema) are great to work with for custom stuff. Mike is cheaper but he's based in Oregon - vs California (for Wellema) or Chicago (for Optimo). So, not surprising that he is less expensive.

Really, the Fedora Lounge is the site to get info on hat makers. One of the things I really liked about some of the Optimos was the color palette - that's what led me to Northwest and Wellema since they use the same felt suppliers I believe. The only down-tick on Northwest is you just get a cardboard box. Both Optimo and Wellema have fantastic hat boxes. But, I solved that problem - you can buy the hat box only from Optimo - So I bought 2 from them and had them shipped - I think it was like $70 - similar box to what Wellema uses.

My Wellema beaver fedora is a little hard to bash, Is it the thickness of the felt?
 

Mr. Pink

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I don't own any hats from Wellema, but my Art Fawcett hats in standard weight beaver can only be shaped with copious steam.
 

Salad

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I don't own any hats from Wellema, but my Art Fawcett hats in standard weight beaver can only be shaped with copious steam.
Is thick or dense felt (sorry, don't know the terms here) a sign of quality or is the weight of the felt particular to a maker or can you tell a custom hat maker to sand the felt to such a thinness to make shaping easier w/out losing quality. Is that a fauxpaus to do so?
 

madhat

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Is thick or dense felt (sorry, don't know the terms here) a sign of quality or is the weight of the felt particular to a maker or can you tell a custom hat maker to sand the felt to such a thinness to make shaping easier w/out losing quality. Is that a fauxpaus to do so?
I’m sure you could ask for thinner felt, but I don’t see the advantage? Are you just wanting a floppier hat, or are you looking for easier shaping because you plan on changing crown shapes regularly?
 

suitedcboy

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Felt stiffness is somewhat out of the control of the hatter. The hat body comes with some shallac in it and that and thickness sets the malleability of the felt. Alcohol can knock down some of the shellac as does more pouncing that takes away the thickness. When you steam the felt it will often make the shellac stiffer. I have a Vintage Silhouettes that has awesome felt and it was initially on the stiff side but with handling and wear it now has the correct amount of stiffness so that it takes a crease readily and is just stiff enough to hold that crease. This VS is a thicker felt. I bet that Wellema will do the same if you put in the crease then push crown back to open and then crease it again. That will relax the shellac in the felt.
 
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stevemcgee99

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I'd like to get my cotton bucket hats fitted better, or a custom hat. Hats never seem to fit me right and that's one reason I don't wear them.
 

johng70

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I'd like to get my cotton bucket hats fitted better, or a custom hat. Hats never seem to fit me right and that's one reason I don't wear them.
have you tried fitted hats (e.g. 7 3/8 or 59cm) and it's still tough to get a good size or have you just tried buying hats that are S,M,L?
 

Salad

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I’m sure you could ask for thinner felt, but I don’t see the advantage? Are you just wanting a floppier hat, or are you looking for easier shaping because you plan on changing crown shapes regularly?
Not floppy. In fact, I'd still like to snap the brim but I would like to be able to switch up creases without too much trouble.

Felt stiffness is somewhat out of the control of the hatter. The hat body comes with some shallac in it and that and thickness sets the malleability of the felt. Alcohol can knock down some of the shellac as does more pouncing that takes away yje thickness. When you steam the felt it will often make the shellac stiffer. I have a Vintage Silhouettes that has awesome felt and it was initially on the stiff side but with handling and wear it now has the correct amount of stiffness so that it takes a crease readily and is just stiff enough to hold that crease. This VS is a thicker felt. I bet that Wellema will do the same if you put in the crease then push crown back to open and then crease it again. That will relax the shellac in the felt.
Sounds like you just have to break them in a little until they soften up a bit. My concern is that I'd try to change the crease and find I can't get the old crease out and basically make a mess of a hat. At that point I'd have a Vivienne Westwood Mountain hat, lol. I guess I could just choose a crease and leave it at that.
 

stevemcgee99

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have you tried fitted hats (e.g. 7 3/8 or 59cm) and it's still tough to get a good size or have you just tried buying hats that are S,M,L?
I haven't found fitted / measured bucket hats before.

Even so, the rim is too round, and I need it more oval. It affects the brim.
 

Munky

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I have quite a few Christy's fur felt fedoras. In the past couple of weeks, the brim of one of them has curled up a bit at the front. Prior to wearing it for a few days, it was stored in its usual hat box. I can't work out what has caused this but I would like to put it right. How easy is it for the non hatter to steam this and reshape it? And how do you do it?

Reading the above postings, I would add that the felt of this hat does seem to be quite a bit thinner than that used on most of the others. With all good wishes, Munky.
 

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