Determining Hat Size

Royal Hats  A number of you have asked how to determine your hat size (I suspect, to help with more successful online millinery shopping!). Evelien Gentis-Smit, designer of Dutch millinery label Eudia, offers this answer.


6 thoughts on “Determining Hat Size

  1. Thank you very much Evelien Gentis-Smit, HatQueen for presenting this, and Jake, for this advice. I prefer to try hats on, because there is so much difference in sizing with different companies, and that goes for clothes too.

  2. This video offers a good starting point that measuring your head is the best way to figure out one’s size.

    Having sold hats for a few years, I’ve found that determining one’s hat size is easier with traditional men’s styles (fedoras, trilbies, homburgs, etc.) as opposed to traditional women’s styles. This is because men’s styles are easily produced in larger quantities, and usually women have more variations with hairstyles, hair lengths, and hat styles, especially if hats are handmade and one-of-a-kind. Even when women’s styles are mass-produced, many companies still don’t often do sizes; instead, sometimes women’s styles have drawstrings in the sweatband, which allows some flexibility in sizing.

    As shown in the video, European sizing is done in centimeters (I run between 58-59 depending on the length of my hair and the hat), while in the U.S. there is a number system (again, I run 7 1/4 to a 7 3/8 depending); and then there is the small, medium, large, XL, etc. scale (I am a large almost always). The number sizes (centimeters or otherwise) usually are seen on higher quality hats; others are usually just on the small-XL scale. A handy conversion chart is often available on hat-buying websites, but here is one in the meantime:

    Some hats are more round, while others are more oval shape, which can affect the fit (my head shape is more oval, so a round hat would fit tighter in the front and back, while the sides have room to spare). I also generally find structured straw hats to fit slightly more snug than felts, which have some flexibility to the material. I also find it better to go slightly larger than too tight so you don’t get a headache wearing a hat or have the hat leave marks on your forehead; you can always find some “sizing tape”, a foam strip that can go under the sweatband to make the hat size more snug, or you can use some thicker craft felt and do the same.

    These are just some things to be aware of, especially if trying to buy a hat online. My best advice is to find hats in person and try them on, even if they are the ones you’re looking for, just to see how different styles and materials fit, feel, and look on you. Then if you want to buy a hat online, you have a better idea of how to choose. If trying on hats in person is not available to you, make certain about return policies before buying a hat online so you don’t get stuck with something you can’t wear!

    Take my advice for what it’s worth, but remember to have fun when searching for hat! There is definitely a hat out there for everyone!

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