Help me find a big hat for my big fat head.
May 9, 2014 9:31 AM   Subscribe

I have a big head and long thick hair so hats rarely fit me and if they do they aren't comfortable so I have never worn them. I like to garden and sunburn easily and have recently had a small cancer removed from my scalp and I'd like to wear a hat to keep my head, face & neck covered from now on. When your doctor checks you for skin cancers get them to check your hair too if you don't wear a hat, no one puts sunscreen there and it gets the full brunt of the sun as I learned the hard way, so anyway now I need a hat.

Things I am looking for in a hat.

- Comfortable fit for a very large round head. Things that usually fit are tight and just squeeze themselves off of my head as it is also very round. Adjustable would be great.
- Covers both face and back of the neck and keeps the top of my head covered. So those wrap around visors that are the only thing I've found that fits are no good.
- No baseball caps. I find the adjustment bit at the back gets tangled in my hair. I have a LOT of hair.
- One that breaths so my head doesn't get sweaty.
- Will stay on through all the bending etc that goes with gardening.
- Looks cute would be nice as I might like to wear it out in public sometimes, but would be happy with just one that fits and works.
- No chin straps.

Any suggestions welcome.
posted by wwax to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (19 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
I have a large head too and this hat fits me and looks pretty cute. It's lightweight and has lasted forever. However I'm going to follow this thread as I'd love to know if there were any more casual, current-looking hats.
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 9:36 AM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

I saw this at Costco. It has a chin strap, but you could cut it off if you wanted to. I was sorely tempted to get one for my pasty, white self.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 9:37 AM on May 9, 2014

Best answer: Try an actual hat company where hats come in sizes. Look for an in-person hat store near you, but I love Goorin Brothers. Here is their floppy hat selection right now (obviously stick to the straw ones, not wool). Measure your head and figure out your size, and buy appropriately.
posted by brainmouse at 9:47 AM on May 9, 2014

Best answer: Here's a link to the Village Hat Shop page for larger hats
posted by mrsjohnson at 9:48 AM on May 9, 2014

Best answer: As a large-headed lady also in the American midwest, the best thing is to just stop and try on hats whenever you happen to see them. You probably want a hat like the costco link above for gardening -- cloth, big-brimmed, ideally washable. A lot of them have a little veil that drops down out of the back and covers your neck if you're bending over a long time! That is crazy-dorky but surprisingly useful! I like a straw (raffia, whatever) hat (like the San Diego hat one above!) for being out and about.

I've found great, big-headed gardening hats at department stores, specialty mall stores, Kohl's-type places, Target, etc. Sizing isn't very consistent in hats, so it's pretty hit-and-miss unless you go to a specialty hat retailer ... but the good news is, sometimes you find a great hat at Target for $10 that fits your giant head! Department stores have AWESOME sales on hats at the end of the season (because they don't really sell that fast) so you can get crazy stylish giant straw hats for next year. I have this hat from Nine West and I looooooooooove it because it is so gigantic and it goes anywhere, and when you wear a hat like that, people are like, "Wow, lady, you know how to wear a HAT" and give you hat-respect. You'd probably want to try it on the store to make sure it fits, but you can find great hats with huge brims at department stores, way cheap during end of season sales. Far and away the biggest brims (on mass-retail hats) are on department-store hats.

Another great place for large-brimmed cloth hats for gardening is a birding supply store (for birdwatchers) ... there is almost certainly one near you (I had no idea they were a thing until recently, but THEY ARE A THING, and they have hats). Also places like Bass Pro Shop and Gander Mountain -- outdoors stores often aimed at the hunting/camping crowd -- have lots of hat choices. When you're looking for those cloth hats, check the men's section as well; they often have a larger selection in the men's section and in larger head sizes. (For straw hats you'll be in the women's section!)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:48 AM on May 9, 2014 [2 favorites]

Also, if you don't want to use a chin strap but it will be windy out, you should acquaint yourself with hatpins, which are great for women with a lot of hair. For big gardening hats, I put the pin through the top of the hat, pick up some hair under it, and poke the pin back out the hat, which secures the hat to your head in the wind or when bending over. It works just fine with your hair in a low ponytail ... or even just hanging loose if your hair is long and thick enough. (I just use 4" to 6" glass-headed pins you can pick up at most any sewing supply shop ... they look just like regular pins but longer and with bigger heads.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:56 AM on May 9, 2014

My mother (who also has a large head and thick hair) is very happy with her Tilley hat.

They come in a range of sizes and have a lifetime guarantee!
posted by *becca* at 9:58 AM on May 9, 2014

I too have an enormous head, and I love love love my Amish straw hat, which I usually wear whenever I'm out doing yardwork. It cost me all of $20 and still looks like new after 5-6 years of fairly regular use. It shades face, ears, neck, is cool and comfortable, and stays on even when breezy. (Mine has a piece of leather in the front, which can sometimes get a bit sweaty against the forehead, but it's never bothered me quite enough take it out and put in an actual sweatband.

If you measure your head and determine your hat size, you should be able to find one that fits online (looks like there are a lot on Ebay) or maybe even locally, if you're anywhere near an Amish community.
posted by usonian at 9:59 AM on May 9, 2014

Also Certified UPF 50!
posted by *becca* at 9:59 AM on May 9, 2014

I have the exact same problem - big head, thick layer of hair. Here's my cheapo recipe for an everyday summer hat:

1. Take a canvas bucket hat (I got a cheaper one on clearance at KMart)
2. Thoroughly soak it in water, then blot with a towel so it's not too drippy
3. Find a flat-bottomed bowl with a circumference the same as your noggin's
4. Pull the hat down over the bowl, set it on the towel, flatten out the brim, and leave it there until it's dry.

Works for straw hats, too, but you have to soak them a lot longer before the straw gets pliable enough to stretch without breaking.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:16 AM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

You should find out your hat size, that makes everything simple. I buy my baseball caps from LaMood Big Hats and they're great, they do other hats too. Buy the one that fits you, and if you get the "Flexfit" style caps, there's no adjustment thing at the back to get tangled in anything.

One of the problem with 'one-size-all' caps is that even if it technically fits when you adjust it out to the largest size, the depth (how far down on your head it sits) is too shallow, so never feels comfortable, so just get one that properly fits to start with and all is golden.
posted by Static Vagabond at 11:41 AM on May 9, 2014

If you are interested in something less beautiful and more functional, I would suggest a Sahara Hat. (It also has UV protection built in as well as a host of other features.)
posted by DarlingBri at 12:47 PM on May 9, 2014

I have this Outdoor Research Sombrero. It's delightful. The chinstrap need not be used. It's adjustable around the band via an elastic strap. It comes in XL.
posted by thirteenkiller at 1:05 PM on May 9, 2014

I am a hat wearer (lots of skin cancer in my family, and I live in the South, so.) You should determine your hat size, as this will be useful. I've bought my favorite hats from outdoor stores (boonie hats from Columbia and Life is Good) and from Sierra Trading Post (a Prana straw hat).
posted by workerant at 2:18 PM on May 9, 2014

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great suggestions. It turns out I have a 24" round head 7 3/4 hat size if I round up. Or XXL
posted by wwax at 2:26 PM on May 9, 2014

I have this hat. I freaking love it. I work in the sun 13 hours a day, and it keeps me alive/fits my big head. However, it does have specific instructions not to get it wet (it's part paper, no gremlins thing as far as I know), so if that puts you off...
posted by theweasel at 2:41 PM on May 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

My husband is in your range of hat sizes and loves his Tilley, as mentioned upthread.
posted by chiefthe at 3:22 PM on May 9, 2014

A straw (men's) cowboy hat?

I like panamas, too - I wore one most of last summer with my hair pinned in a low bun or braid, so it sat just under the brim. Easy to wear with the hat, and to unpin when inside. (Bonus - the braid especially seems to lessen 'hathead', in that the ends turn into more or less controlled waves, vs. pouffing out under a flattened crown).
posted by cotton dress sock at 6:48 PM on May 9, 2014

Best answer: You might want to look at this previous AskMe. Unfortunately the hat I recommended is no longer on the REI website as far as I can tell.
posted by The corpse in the library at 2:06 PM on May 10, 2014

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