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A hat can give you an aura of dignity, a sophisticated air of grace or a commanding presence. However, if it's too tight, it's just as likely to give you a headache, and if it's too loose, it may end up in a tree. When buying a hat, sizing it correctly is of the utmost importance for several reasons.
Proper Fit Is Essential to Looking Cool and Feeling Comfortable
Your hat should look and feel like it was made just for you. Comfort is key. It should be reasonably snug so that a light wind can't blow it off of your head, but it should not be so tight as to cause discomfort or distraction. Hats that are the right size and shape for your head lend class and charisma to everything you wear. A properly fitting hat doesn't obscure your vision or fall to the floor whenever you bend over. It doesn't engulf your head, and it doesn't fit so tightly that it pops off unexpectedly. Your hat should be proportionate to the size of your face and head. An improperly fitting hat can make you look undignified, frumpy or comical, even if the hat itself is a masterpiece. Luckily, it's easy to determine your hat size, so you can choose your next fedora or panama hat with confidence.
How to Accurately Determine Your Hat Size
To find your hat size, you'll need a soft, flexible tape measure or a piece of string and a ruler. If you're using a tape measure, wrap it around the back of your head about one-eighth of an inch above the top of your ears. Allow the two ends to meet in the center of your forehead above your eyes. Don't pull the tape tightly; it should rest gently against your skin. Release the tape while keeping your finger on the point opposite from the free end to mark your head circumference measurement. Record the measurement, and round it to up the nearest eighth of an inch; match this number to the hat sizing guides below. If you're using a piece of string, simply wrap it around your head until it meets in the middle of your forehead, cut off the excess, and measure the remaining string with a ruler to get your head size. Always measure at least twice to be sure that you're getting the most accurate results possible.
General Head Measurements and Corresponding Hat Sizes
See our hat size chart for complete measurement conversions.
Head Circumference: 21 1/8" to 21 1/2" or 54cm to 55cm
General Hat Size: Small
Specific Hat Size: 6 3/4 - 6 7/8
Head Circumference: 21 7/8" to 22 1/4" or 56cm to 57cm
General Hat Size: Medium
Specific Hat Size: 7 - 7 1/8
Head Circumference: 22 5/8" to 23" or 58cm to 59cm
General Hat Size: Large
Specific Hat Size: 7 1/4 - 7 3/8
Head Circumference: 23 1/2" to 23 7/8" or 60cm to 61cm
General Hat Size: X-Large
Specific Hat Size: 7 1/2 - 7 5/8
Head Circumference: 24 1/4"to 24 5/8" or 62cm to 63cm
General Hat Size: XX-Large
Specific Hat Size: 7 3/4 - 7 7/8
Measuring Woes: When One Size Doesn't Fit All
Several factors can throw you off course when you're trying to measure your head for a new hat, but you may not encounter them until you try on a few of your favorites. Standard measurements may vary among manufacturers. For example, a medium-sized trilby hat made by one company may be slightly larger or smaller than a similar hat offered by a different brand. Some materials tend to create a looser or tighter fit than others. Even your hairstyle can affect your hat size. It's important to remember that sizing charts are approximate.
Tips for Maintaining Proper Size and Fit for the Life of Your Hat
Even the best hats aren't invincible. Frequent wear, storage habits and the natural elements can sometimes alter their size and shape. However, by following a few basic guidelines, you can prevent most of the damage and help your hat retain its perfect fit.