Hat Help!
August 13, 2014 1:57 PM   Subscribe

Here's a question about hats and heads. My head, to be precise. It's big.

I would like to get a decent hat to replace the "Ontario Natural Resources" baseball cap with the broken bill that my friend Les gave me for free at her yard sale last summer (she wouldn't even take the stated price of $1.00 from me, though I offered). After all, I'm 50 years old, and don't I deserve to look respectable as my hair begins to take its leave? Yes. Yes I do.
So here's the problem, and the question. I have a really big head. I wear a size 7 5/8 hat. Actually, that's not the problem, enough people have heads that big that there's a size for us out there (i.e., 7 5/8). The problem is with the distribution of my head size. In the same way that, below the neck, I weigh the same as when I was 20, but the pounds are in slightly different places, the siziness of my head is oddly distributed. It is very long and narrow. This isn't a problem for a cap or beret, but when attempting to wear a blocked hat such as a fedora, homburg, or derby, even if it's nominally the right size, the edge is more or less sitting on top of my head at the front and back, while at the sides there's enough room for barn swallows to sail through (this hasn't actually happened, but it could).
My options as I see them are:
1) Consult some internet community concerning the existence of differently shaped hats.
2) Undertake cranial surgery to reshape my skull.

Given that, inside of my canoe-like head, I have a functional brain, I have hesitantly rejected option #2. This leaves option #1, which I undertake forthwith:

Are hats made in different shapes? As in shoes that are E, EE, or EEE, or something like that. If not, is there a way to modify a hat?

Alternatively, I could adopt a do-rag, but... 50, balding, very very white... that way lies danger.

Thanks, Metafilter! I tip my hat to you.
posted by crazylegs to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (4 answers total)
Have you been in an actual hat shop? With people who know about hats and their different shapes and how to fit them to you? Hats are definitely shaped differently from each other, though not generally in a regularized way. And hat shape is definitely modifiable, either through various manipulation techniques using water and/or heat (depending on what the hat is made of), or by putting strategically-placed foam in the hat, or probably other things that I don't know about. Go to hat shop (I can recommend Goorin Brothers if you have one close, they've always been excellent with me and my (very different from your) difficult-to-size head) and get some professional advice.
posted by brainmouse at 2:02 PM on August 13, 2014 [2 favorites]

I am a different gender and differently hair challenged than you, but I too have a big head. Go try hats on at good shops, seriously. They know not all heads are the same and can help.
posted by bearwife at 2:59 PM on August 13, 2014

Welcome to the Giant Noggin Club!

I usually end up blocking straw or cloth hats, or enlarging sewing patterns to make my own, but that's because I have more craftiness than money.

Here are two great sources for large hats:


The Tilley hats are super high quality and long-lasting.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:15 PM on August 13, 2014

I'm also a fan of Goorin Brothers and they do offer hat reshaping (I know they do it as a 'fix your squashed-out-of-shape hat;' not sure about buying and reshaping, but they've been very helpful to me). Look like you're near Ottawa; you might have luck finding a milliner and going the bespoke route. I have no idea what this costs or what a reasonable cost would be.

Fur felt hats can be very forgiving and tend to yield to the shape of your head over time. Wool will also do this, though it's not quite as yielding. If there are serious fabric stiffeners or wire in the hat these will interfere with the process.

You can also speed the process (caveat: I've never done this and would not do it on an expensive hat) using steam: put the kettle on and let the steam heat & soften the hat; put it on your head, pressing/patting/molding as needed to shape it to you; let dry.
posted by carrioncomfort at 5:38 AM on August 14, 2014

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