The Fedora hat is undoubtedly the most popular hat among men, and it would have been hard to find a gentlemen who did not possess one. Even in an age when the habit of wearing hats has become less popular, it is still a top-ranking hat among those who want to look dapper. However, you must wear it right to create the right impression. Some handy tips on how to wear a fedora hat:
What Is a Fedora?
The most outstanding feature of a fedora hat is the indented crown with a crease running down its center and dents on both sides near the front. You can choose from different fedora styles like teardrop crowns, diamond crowns, center dents, etc. The height of the fedora’s crown is typically around 4.5 inches, while the flexible brim is usually two to three inches wide. The cut brim can be left unstitched, finished with an overwelt or underwelt sewn in, or bound using a trim ribbon. According to The Hatted Professor, welting the edges adds strength to the brim of soft felt hats. The stitching can be in one, two, or more rows that radiate from the edge to the crown. One of the factors contributing to the price of the fedora is the quality and density of the stitching. The most expensive finishing is undoubtedly the Cavanagh edge, a welt held in place with invisible stitches. It is only found in vintage hats since the process is so complicated that hat factories no longer produce it. The fedora is often confused with the trilby because they are similar in shape, but the trilby has a smaller brim. The fedora’s popularity soared at the end of the 19th century, and it overshadowed the homburg that also looked similar.
Different Fedora Hat Materials
Though originally the fedora was fashioned out of fur felt, over time, manufacturers have used a large variety of materials to make fashionable fedora hats. Some of the most popular materials include:
Straw: Unarguably the best option for wearing during the summer and vacations on the beach, straw fedoras typically have large brims especially designed to protect the head, neck, and shoulders of the wearer from the sun. Because the material is lightweight and breathable, the hats are ultra-comfortable and ideal for extended wear. The Panama hat is a classic example of a straw fedora. Originally made by the skilled artisans of Ecuador out of the leaves of the Toquilla palm, they became more famous in Panama where construction workers from all over the world, particularly from America, encountered it and fell in love with it. Many Hollywood film actors since then have immortalized it in their movies. Though variations exist, the iconic Panama hat is made of white or tan straw, set off by a black ribbon around the crown. While the best Ecuadorian Panama hats can cost the earth, wide brim fedora mens hats of straw are popular because they are cheap.
Fur Felt: Fur felt is usually regarded as the most superior fedora hat material because rabbit and beaver fur, the two most popular materials can be pressed tight for a classy look and an incredible feel. Even though the market for fur felt fedoras is relatively small due to the high cost, discerning customers have no qualms forking out large sums of money for its comfort and exclusive looks. A fur felt fedora can take the elements in its stride without losing its shape or fading. Fur has a naturally lovely sheen and repels water, which also makes it easy to maintain. A good-quality fur felt fedora will last a lifetime because it is intrinsically robust and able to withstand the rigors of daily use.
Wool Felt: Wool may not offer the touch and feel of fur felt, but it remains a material of choice for many users because of its high style and comfort quotient. Wool felt fedoras received a shot in the arm after the success of the Indian Jones trilogy where the lead actor Harrison Ford wore the fedora on all his escapades. Wool felt tends to be softer than other materials and hence does not keep its shape well. While being more malleable is not necessarily a drawback for wearing it, it does mean that its lifespan will be relatively less. Even though wool does not frequent cleaning, you need to clean it with minimal water.
Leather: Leather apparel and accessories are much prized the world over and generally cost more than other materials. Leather fedora hats are not the first choice because leather tends to be dense and heavy, making it less breathable and comfortable. However, with proper maintenance, leather hats can last for a very long time, making them a good buy. If you go in for a leather fedora, you must ensure that it has a good-quality lining on the inside for comfort. If you want to project a rugged personality, a leather fedora can be a good choice.
Low-cost fabrics: Manufacturers can make fedora hats from all kinds of materials. Because the market for cheap hats is large, you will find shops stocking fedoras made from cotton, nylon, and mesh. Both cotton and nylon make for good fedoras for casual wear. Additionally, they are comfortable, lightweight, breathable, and have a long life. However, these hats do not keep their shape well. Mesh, however, is not only cheap but also durable, tear-resistant, and easy to clean. Unfortunately, tightly-woven mesh hats resemble shiny hard plastic, which is not a look most users prefer.
Buying a fedora hat can be great fun though bewildering due to the many choices. You can make a better choice by understanding the different hat terms and the pros and cons of the different materials. Even though it is tempting to spend as little money as possible, it is important to spend a decent amount to get a good quality hat that will look good, be comfortable, and last long. Letting your fedora become dirty is not a good idea as it will spoil your image and reduce its life. Learn to wear the fedora with confidence and pair it with clothes and accessories that make you look good.