How to Pick the Right Hat for You

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How to Pick the Right Hat for You

Whether worn for their utility, or purely for fashion's sake, hats can be one of the most important wardrobe choices you make every day. Men's hats can be purchased from hat specialty shops, the men's accessories section of a department store, or on the online auction site, eBay. There are dozens of styles of hats, hundreds of variations on each style, and when you consider the head coverings that do not fall within the strict category of hats, you can be faced with millions of options for covering your head. With that in mind, having a bit of guidance when choosing the proper headgear for your outing could not hurt, right? The style of the hat is usually determined by the clothing worn with the hat, or where you wear the hat. Before choosing the right hat, consumers should understand the different types of hats, know how to size hats, and learn about the different types of fabrics from which hats are made.

A Hat for Every Occasion

As mentioned above, there are an overwhelming number of styles and varieties of hats available. Even today, many archaic styles of hats continue to be produced so your choices and options are only bound to expand. However, there are a few things you can keep in mind when trying to determine what style of hat you should be wearing, and the first is: should the hat be functional or simply fashionable?

Functional Hats

A functional hat serves to provide shade, keep the head warm, or protect the head from rain. A fashionable hat can serve these functions in a pinch, but should generally not be relied upon to resist the elements, as they are typically made of less resilient material, and may suffer permanent damage from too much exposure. Typical examples of primarily functional hats include hats like the ushanka, now referred to as a trapper or aviator hat, for warmth during winter, or a simple baseball cap for keeping the sun out of your eyes on a blistering summer day.

If you are purchasing a hat for its warmth and insulation, a fur, or faux fur, lining goes a long way in making sure your head is free of the cold. Added benefits like ear or face coverings can help with especially poor weather conditions. A leather or non-permeable material for the exterior also keeps you dry in rain or sleet. Fortunately, most winter hats are designed with this in mind.

Hats purchased for summer wear carry their own considerations, as you should be less concerned with insulation and more with ventilation. As bad as being too cold in the winter, being too hot in the summer can lead to heatstroke and dehydration. To that end, your summer hat should be made of a material more suited to breathing, such as cotton, twill, woven straw, or other fibres that create a mesh.

Fashionable Hats

Fashionable hats are designed to do one thing: make you look better. Fashionable hats also afford you the chance to branch out from conventional hats into some of the more esoteric styles of hats. It is important that you attempt to match the hat you wear to the rest of your attire, at least to the point of matching colours.

Suits, whether you are wearing a full three-piece ensemble, a blazer over a tie and button-up, or even just a coat and waistcoat, can be complemented by a trilby or very well, especially when matched with fabric, colour, and pattern. It is generally a bad idea to clash styles or colours when matching a hat to a suit. For instance, if you are wearing a pinstripe suit, a plaid hat is not necessarily the way to go, but on occasion, contrast can be to your benefit.

For more casual affairs, or just to keep the elements briefly away, a flat cap or a bucket hat may be more appropriate. Either the flat cap or the bucket hat can complement simple denim and shirts, or even shorts, and either is useful in inclement weather, or while outdoors for long periods of time. The flat cap or bucket hat is also going to be easier to maintain and keep.

The Middle-Ground

Not all hats fit neatly into the fashionable or functional category. While the role of the hat is generally important, your preference matters most. If you prefer wearing a specific style of hat, you can tailor the rest of your attire to the hat. There are hundreds of styles of hats with any number of options for all occasions, be they formal, casual, or even just relaxing at home.

A baseball cap, when worn with a corresponding jersey or logo-shirt, can help to declare your team affiliations, or even display a catchy slogan. Baseball caps have come a long way from being sports equipment to being acceptable attire for nearly everyone from every walk of life.

While it may carry certain connotations with political or military organisations, a beret can also be fashionable, although matching a beret effectively to a wardrobe can be a difficult task.

Other Hats

There are a great deal of hats which have had use in antiquity or military formality. For the most part, these hats are not for everyone. While a bicorne or tricorne may be useful for a pirate costume, a top hat can occasionally be worn for very formal occasions, or again, as part of a costume, but by and large you can ignore these types of hats for everyday use.

Sizing the Right Hat for You

Manufacturers size hats in a variety of ways, and many of the styles of hats available feature elastic or adjustable bands meaning that one size fits most wearers. However, for some of the more fashionable hats, you need to determine your hat size. You can find the right size of hat for you, in most cases, by following these simple steps: first, using a cloth or plastic flexible tape measure, determine the circumference of your head at the temples, or just above the ears; then, once you have your measurement, consult the manufacturer's sizing chart, which should be similar to the one below.

Circumference (cm)






Hat Size (numerical)

6 3/4 - 6 7/8

7 - 7 1/8

7 1/4 - 7 3/8

7 1/2 - 7 5/8

7 3/4 - 7 7/8

Hat Size (categorical)




Extra Large

Double Extra Large

Hat Fabrics

There are several types of fabrics commonly used in modern hats. However, there a few that you encounter most often, such as wool, felt, leather, and cotton.


Wool hats usually offer you more warmth and comfort and are typically woven or knitted. Wool is fairly low maintenance, and can usually be cleaned off with a lint brush or slightly damp cloth.


Fedoras, wide-brimmed hats, fezes, and a few other varieties of hats typically come in felt. Felt is lightweight and generally durable. Most hat manufacturers recommend that you do not handle felt hats by the crown, but rather use the brim of the hat for adjustment and handling.


Leather hats require a different kind of dedication. If your hat is made of leather, please refer to the manufacturer's instructions for cleaning and care.

How to Find the Right Hat for You on eBay

A quick search on eBay for men's hats returns a plethora of results, not all of them worth your time. It is to your advantage to filter your results by the type of hat for which you are looking. Once you have narrowed your search down to a specific type of hat, say a trilby, you can limit the selection by size, which is of more benefit to those with cranial circumferences at either end of the spectrum. Every hat manufacturer is different, and it would behoove you to double-check the sizing and care that each hat requires. One final category which may merit consideration is the subject of new or used hats. While they may have experienced a bit of wear, a used hat is also broken in, and generally costs you less. As with any eBay purchase, be sure you are comfortable with the seller, as well as the shipping and post terms and costs.


Ultimately, your preference is the most important element when choosing a hat. The hat you wear is entirely your choice, and should reflect as much. With that in mind, there are some considerations you should make when selecting a hat to ensure that the rest of the world is as enamoured with your choice of headwear as you are. Buying a hat that fits your intent, whether that be function or fashion, is the first choice; then, decide upon a specific style to suit your needs or tastes; and finally, it is important to make sure the basics like the sizing, material, and condition of the item are to your liking. Consider searching eBay for any hat that takes your fancy. With your new, or maybe used, hat properly sized and chosen, you are now fit to walk the world's streets with a swagger, even if you decide to go out wearing a bicorne.

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