What’s my hat size? We here at Madge Central get this question all the time. And since National Hat Day is coming up on January 15, we’re here to sharpen your hat-wearing skills.
Vintage Hat Sizes
Back in the day when hat-wearing was a daily occurrence, (heaven), sizes were very important for a correct fit, especially since popular hairstyles paired with specific types of hats. Because of this, vintage hats are almost always sized with a number. You may come across a vintage hat with an Adj. label meaning the hat was adjustable.
At MadgeHatbox.com you will find some hats listed as “fits most”. These types of hats include half hats and close hats that are made to set on the top of your head as well as stretch-fitted berets and caps.
Of course, if you are shopping at a physical hat shop, all you need to do is try one on. Shopping for hats online is a bit little trickier. When shopping for a vintage hat, try to find one with the size label still intact. Keep in mind vintage hats, straw ones, in particular, may shrink with age. So we recommend purchasing hats that also show measurements in addition to the label.
What Does the Label Number Mean?
For example, if the hat label shows 22, a size that fits most women, that means the circumference of the inside of the hat measures 22″. This measurement is taken by running a cloth tape measure around the inside of the hat on top of the sweatband. This band is usually Petersham ribbon, cotton, terrycloth, or leather.
Men’s hat sizes are usually indicated with a number that includes a fraction such as 7 1/8 or 7 3/4. These numbers correspond to the circumference of the hat in inches, see the chart below. Better-made hats such as fedoras, and trilbies use this numbering system.
Modern Hat Sizes
Hat sizes now are most often expressed in simple terms as small, medium, large, and extra-large. In fact, this is how most mass-market hats are labeled. Some modern wide-brim sun hats have a drawstring inside the crown which allows adjustments up or down for a secure fit, very helpful on windy days at the beach. Baseball caps and visors are usually one size with either a stretchy back strap or adjustable closure. High-end milliners still make specific sizes.
Calculating Your Hat Size
To find your corresponding hat size, measure the circumference of your head using a flexible tape measure or a piece of string. Place the tape measure around your head about a half inch above your ears and bring it around to the center of your forehead. Make sure the tape measure is level and not too tight. You should be able to fit one finger between the tape measure and your head.
Once you have the measurement that is your hat size. On most hats, you can go a half-inch either up or down, and still have a comfortable fit. For hats that use a different type of sizing, here’s a handy dandy sizing chart.
So now that you know your size, go for it and pick out a hat! Whether for fashion, function, or self-expression. If you are interested in wearing hats, there are many styles and options to choose from, ranging from classic and timeless to trendy and modern, all available at MadgesHatbox. And remember that Madge likes to say . . .