The perfect look means the perfect accessories. For some, those accessories are things like shoes, scarves, belts, jewelry, or handbags. For some of us, though, that perfect accent to our day is the perfect hat.

If you’ve not really gotten into hats, but you’d like to try that fashion piece out, you’ve come to the right place.

Today, we’re taking a look at the basics of the millenary arts: hats, the history of hats, and hat sizes.

A Major Fashion Piece: The Hat

blue hat on the beach

At its most basic, the hat is head covering that’s made of either soft or hard cloth.

The average hat has four parts: the brim, bill, crown, and hatband.


The crown is the part of the hat that forms the top.


The bill of the hat is the front portion of the cap.


The brim is the projecting rim or edge of the hat.


The hatband is around the circumference.

Hats are coverings for the head that are worn for any number of reasons. These reasons can include safety, warmth, shade, fashion, and protection from various situations.

In times past, hats were known for being an indicator of one’s social standing and status.

Both police and military have hats which denote their rank.

At one point in time, people would never leave their home without wearing a hat.

These days people wear hats only for certain occasions or just for a certain kind of style, though some subcultures still wear hats as a standard clothing piece.

A History of Hats

The history of hats goes back to ancient times. Ranging from distinct shapes and designs to simple head coverings, the headwear of our ancestors has left behind a fascinating trail of images.

  • The earliest record of a hat goes back to 26,000 B.C.E., on a statue called the Venus of Brassempouy.
  • Another ancient example, from around 3,300 B.C.E., of an early hat wearer was a bronze age man whose body was found with his hat, frozen in a mountain located between Italy and Austria.
  • Another early example dating far back, from 3,200 B.C.E., was a picture found in a tomb from Thebes, Egypt which showed a man wearing a conical straw hat.
  • In ancient Egypt, hats were a common sight. It was a thing for the upper-class Egyptians to shave their heads and then cover it with a headdress.
  • The Ancient Mesopotamians wore hats with a conical shape.
  • Early hats also include the Phrygian cap which was a hat worn by freed slaves in Greece and Rome.
  • Around 400 B.C.E., there was a man who fell into a bog in what is now Denmark. After his mummified remains were recovered, they discovered that he was wearing a pointed cap.
  • If you are a felt hatmaker then there is a patron saint that you need to be aware of: St. Clement is alleged to have discovered felt around 800 AD. He was filling his sandals with flax fibers as a mean to protect his feet. Felt was the result. And felt hats, like many fedoras and berets, have St. Clement to thank for their existence.
  • During the Dark Ages, hats served a variety of social needs for different groups. These groups included both social, racial, and religious groups that wore hats to give distinction for who they were. During this time women wore various types of hats that varied from scarves to hennin. Similar to the headgear that men wore, these also showed social status.
  • Early in the 19th Century, women began to wear bonnets. These slowly became bigger and more elaborate over the following years. Decorations on the bonnets included feathers, flowers, and ribbons. As the century moved on, styles began to incorporate wider brims, flower pots, and flat crowns.
  • The first baseball caps appeared around the 1860s as part of baseball team uniforms.
  • The first baseball caps were limp, but, of course, later versions were developed to have stiff brims to help keep the sun out of the wearer’s eyes. The round cap has an adjustable band on the back for fitting to one’s head size.
  • The end of the 19th Century saw the fedora appear. This hat was originally worn by men, though has become more popular with women in recent years. This type of hat is made with a brim that is at least two inches wide and fully encircles the hat and has a creased crown. While this hat has never truly gone out of style, in the late 20th Century the movie Indiana Jones caused a resurgence in popularity.
  • The 1920s saw women cutting their hair short, with hats worn tight to the head.
  • During the 1980s and early in the 21st century, extravagantly flamboyant hats have returned in popularity in various cultures and subcultures.

How to Determine Your Hat Size

woman with a hat on

Hats are a great practical and fashionable accessory to keep on hand. I order for a hat to perform its function best, it needs to fit properly.

There are two kinds of hat sizes: general hat size and specific hat sizes. Having both sizes allows you to get a hat that fits you best.

There are two basic ways to determine your hat size.

  • Measure Your Head

The most accurate way to understand your hat size is found by measuring your head.

These few steps to measure your hat size are fairly easy.

First, take either a sewing tape measure or a length of string and wrap it around your head.

Whichever method you use to measure your head, place one end of the tape or string in the middle of your forehead and wrap it around your head.

Make sure the tape or string is around half an inch above your ear, where the hat would normally rest.

After this, make sure to pinch the string or measuring tape in place where it meets back up in the center of your forehead.

Keep your finger there and remove the tape or string from your head without losing that spot.

If you used a piece of string rather than a tape, make sure to lay the string down next to a ruler without losing your spot.

Write down your head measurements so that you do not lose them.

Once you have an exact measurement you can use this chart to determine your hat size:

21.125–21.5 inches (53.66–54.61 cm)

Small or sizes 6 ¾ - 6 ⅞

21.875–22.25 inches (55.56–56.52 cm)

Medium or sizes 7 - 7 ⅛

22.625–23 inches (57.47–58.42 cm)

Large or sizes 7 ¼ - 7 ⅜

23.5–23.875 inches (59.69–60.64 cm)

X-Large or sizes 7 ½ - 7 ⅝

24.25–24.625 inches (61.60–62.55 cm)

XX-Large or sizes 7 ¾ - 7 ⅞

25–25.375 inches (63.50–64.45 cm)

XXX-Large or sizes 8 - 8+

When you have determined your hat size, you can visit a hat shop.

Use this opportunity to consult with the staff about what styles are available in your size and see what varieties they have to offer.

As you try on the hats make sure you find something that fits comfortably, as well as suits your face shape.

  • Try on Different Hats

For a far less precise measurement, you can simply go into a hat store or section at a store and try on different hats. Inside the hats, you’ll notice tags that have numbers. These numbers are the sizes.

If you try on several hats that fit, and the size reads consistently, you have found your basic hat size.

What to Do if You Can’t Find Your Exact Hat Size

There are several options for you if your exact size doesn’t seem readily available.

It’s better to have a hat slightly too big rather than too small. Generally, hats will shrink over time, not stretch. If you get a hat that is already a little too small, then you will have trouble wearing it down the line.

You can always help your hat shrink if it is too big to fit comfortably. You can take a spray bottle, lightly spray the hat and leave it in a warm place like near a heating vent. This will cause the hat to shrink as it dries. If you still have size issues you can repeat this a few more times until the hat feels right.

You can also add hat filler. Hat filler is a type of foam liner with an adhesive on one of its sides. You can add a few or several pieces of hat filler to help make your hat fit more securely.

The Right Hat

You can learn your hat size by either measuring your head with a measuring tape, or you can try on a bunch of hats to see which sizes fit. Once you know your hat size, you can go into a shop and buy a new hat or two. Be sure to look through the various styles until you find the right style of hat that suits you.

Before you shop, you can also look through tutorials on finding the right hat for your style on various sites online.


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