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Whether it’s a summery straw hat or a cool-weather wool beret, a good hat is the perfect way to punctuate your outfit. But nothing puts a damper in your chapeau’s style more than wrinkles, a bent brim, or a torn band.
We all want to protect our hats from damage. But the time when damage is most likely to happen isn’t when you’re out and about. It’s at home, namely when you don’t store your hats correctly. If you want to keep your porkpies pristine and your fedoras fresh, just follow these hat storage rules for properly organizing your hats at home.
Best Places To Store Hats
When it comes to storing your hats well, location is the first step. While you could feasibly leave your hats anywhere in your house, keeping them as dapper and darling as the day you bought them requires a little more finesse than that. Three factors that make a spot perfect for storing your hat include being:
- Away from direct sunlight to avoid sun-bleached spots
- Dry to avoid mildew and water damage
- Spacious to avoid the hat’s shape being crushed
If possible, it’s a good idea to find a space that has all three of these factors going for it. For instance, a spacious, sealed cedarwood closet would protect your hats from sun spots while keeping moisture out of the air.
Best Ways To Store Hats
Even if you have the perfect setting, you can still end up with a damaged hat if you don’t use proper techniques for organizing your hats. Here are a few common ways to store hats.
When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with keeping your hat in the box it came in. It was built with the mindset of keeping a hat in good condition, after all. Hat boxes help reduce the chances of your hat being crushed by other things that you may be storing in your closet, wardrobes, and shelves.
Racks and Wall Pins
Back in the good old days, when everyone wore a hat everywhere they went, it was more common for houses to have a stand or pub to put hats on. And if it worked for our hat-wearing forefathers and mothers, then why not us?
Hanging them on a pin or rack keeps them elevated and away from the ground where they can be stepped on and makes them easy to see for quick reference. This storage method also turns your hat collection into a decorative piece for your room.
Shelves are deceptively safe spots for hats. It seems like a hat sitting by itself on a shelf should have nothing to damage its shape, right? But the thing is, leaving your hat on its brim for extended periods of time will cause it to lose its shape after a while, especially if your hat has a curved brim. To avoid this, flip your hat upside down before you put it on a shelf.
Shelves are also notoriously prone to getting dusty, and you don’t want to get dust on your hats. Along with being gross, the longer dust stays on your hat, the harder it is to get out—double gross. Just be sure to dust your shelves regularly if you’re keeping your hats there.
Now, drawers can either be really good or really bad for your hats. If you are setting your hats down spaced out from each other or stacked with like hats, it’s perfectly fine to put hats in a drawer.
The issue comes when you are balling up or crushing hats before you put them in. If you have a larger hat, consider choosing one of the other storage methods we mentioned.
A Note on Mothballs
Many of us grew up hearing that if you store clothes in boxes and drawers, you should add mothballs to protect them. While mothballs will keep the bugs away, they’re also loaded with chemicals, which isn’t great if you have pets or small children. An effective and nice-smelling alternative is to add lavender to your drawers instead.
Storage Tips for Different Types of Hats
The dark, dry, and spacious rule works well for just about every hat you’ll run into. However, as we’ve already alluded to, different storage methods work better for different hats and different materials. These tips will help you personalize your hat storage for your collection.
Straw hats come in a plethora of sizes and shapes, from snappy, vintage boaters to downhome women’s and men’s Stetson hats. They’re designed to be worn out on a bright sunny day, so you can get away with storing them in places that are more exposed to the sun, especially if they aren’t colorful.
However, straw hats have the hardest time coming back from being crushed or bent out of shape. A wall pin is usually the best storage solution for straw hats. Shelves and boxes work as well but be sure to flip the hats upside down. And be very cautious about drawers unless your hat is small.
Wool and Felt Hats
Felt hats are the opposite of straw hats. While it’s far easier to reshape a wool hat, they are far more sensitive to sunlight, and moisture and dust tend to be a bigger problem for these types of hats.
The hatbox is typically the best place for these sorts of hats, safe and out of the way of the sun. You can also take the precaution of wrapping your felt hat in a plastic bag to keep moisture and dust out. Just be sure that there is no water or other moisture trapped in the bag, or you will have one ruined hat.
Baseball caps give off the air of being the hat of the people, so they tend to be the hardiest and able to withstand a myriad of storage solutions. But if you want to keep the colors and shapes of the hats in good condition, you don’t want to push that idea.
Baseball caps, unlike most other hat varieties, can be folded down and then stacked against other baseball caps. This makes them a great contender to be put away in a drawer.
If the baseball cap is the hat of the people, the top hat is the hat of the elite few. In years past, the elite few were the wealthy. Now, it’s usually those involved in historical interpretation. Whatever your reason for owning a top hat, the last thing you want is for it to get ruined.
Even if you don’t have the original box for your top hat, you should still find a different box to keep it in. When the top hat is snug in its new home, wrap it in silk for an added layer of protection.