Filson’s own Clark Gilbert walks you through the choice of buying a new Stetson and how to care for it.
What Kind of Hat Do You Want?
In my experience of wearing wool and rabbit fur felted hats, I find that it’s important to figure out what kind of hat you want before you actually go shopping (like a show hat verses a reflection hat).
A show hat is a hat you wear on special occasions. Fancy dinners, parties—places you want to wear a nice and clean looking hat. If this is what your style dictates, you should keep that hat stored in a hat box and wear it only when those occasions arise.
A reflection hat is a hat that reflects the persona of the wearer. These hats should be worn often, regardless of the weather (no, water will not ruin felted hats). The more you wear this hat, the quicker it will become an extension of who you are.
Whatever style of hat you choose, here are some tips for keeping your hat hanging on your head for many years to come.
How to Select the Right Sized Hat
When sizing a hat, you want to ensure that when you initially try the hat on there is plenty of room for the hat to move on your head. You do not want to select a hat that fits snug right out of the box, but rather purchase a hat that is the next size up, as felt hats are prone to shrinking. This can be due to the leather sweatband or the felted fur being exposed to moisture, like rain and sweat, which will cause the hat to form more snuggly to the shape of your head.
Conversely, if your new hat seems too loose, you can purchase “hat fitters” from a Western store hat re-seller or online. Hat fitters are strips of foam that will help the hat fit correctly on your head. Just peel off the tape and place the hat fitters between the leather sweatband and the nylon inside covering, remembering to place the sticky side on to the nylon. Over time, as the hat shrinks, you can remove the hat fitters as needed.
Putting the Hat On and Taking the Hat Off
When placing the hat on your head, as well as when taking it off, you want to grab the hat from the front and back of the brim, not by the sides—grabbing a hat by the sides will cause the sides of the brim to flatten out. Also, don’t reach up and pinch the crown when taking it on or off—pinching the crown will ultimately create problems further down the trail.
When removing the hat, grab the hat by its crown rather than its brim. Removing a hat by its brim will cause the brim to flatten out, destroying the look and block of the hat.
How to Store Your Hat
Here are some options for storing your hat.
Store the hat in a hat box, which may even have come with the hat.
Use a hat rack that will support the hat while protecting the brim and the crown. You can find hat racks in most Western hat re-sellers or online.
Hang your hat on a peg or hook, which will take the weight off the brim. When using a peg or hook, you should occasionally rotate the hat to ease the stress of hanging it from one point over a period of time.
Store your hat on a table or bench by setting it on the crown.
Hat Care Tips
Caring for a felted hat is easy and quick. Do it right and these hats will last years with just some simple care.
Hat brushing will keep the dirt and dust off. Purchase a hat brush. These come in both white and dark bristles: white for lighter colored hats and dark for darker hats. When using the brush, hold your hat and brush with the fibers by moving in a counter-clockwise direction. Brushing once a month will remove dust, dirt, and lint from your hat. Don’t use hat sprays or any liquid cleaners on your hat as these may ruin the felt. If your hat develops any marks, use talc or baby powder to help remove them. A suede eraser can also be used, which you can lightly rub on the hat to remove any marks. Just don’t rub too hard.
Wet Hat Drying
Caught in a downpour while wearing your hat? Here is what you can do to dry your hat. First thing to do is to reach in and pull the leather sweatband down so it sticks up out of the bottom of the hat. Then, set the hat on its crown or place it on a hat rack so that it can dry slowly. Keep your hat away from heat sources. Slow drying will minimize shrinkage.
Always remember, when you put on a Filson x Stetson felted fur hat, you are wearing a high-quality hat that is steeped in history. Since 1897, Filson has been developing and producing high-quality garments and accessories that are built to last. That heritage is combined with Stetson’s own history, a company which started making “cowboy hats” as far back as 1865 and is known for their commitment to quality, which is reflected in all the different styles of hats they produce.
Practicing the care tips above will ensure that your Filson x Stetson hat will last for decades to come, while always looking good and sharp.