At Optimo, we are focused on giving you the best hat you will ever own –
A hat that ages well, stands up to the elements and becomes part of your life.
In this issue of The Hatter’s Bench we want to focus on what makes a great Felt Hat.
The Life of a Hat
Every Day We Witness the Value of a Well-Made Hat
When Optimo felt hats return to our shop to be cleaned and blocked, we get the opportunity to study them after years of use. We see the effects of everything from regional climates to everyday wear. Hats that have been rolled up, sat on, worn daily in dry desert air and even bashed about on Safari. We get direct feedback from people who have really lived in their hats.
We also examine the ageing of other hat brands. It is amazing to renovate a hat from the 1930s that has been worn for decades and to see it emerge restored to its original beauty. That’s why we’re making our hats like the great companies did 50 years ago.
What to Look for in a Great Felt
Density regardless of weight
A great felt should be very dense regardless of weight. It should be even in every respect, with thickness equalized throughout. Snapping the brim of the hat or creasing the crown should not create any breaks or thin spots in the hat. The hat should be smooth and mellow.
Rich color, no spotting
Color should be rich and consistent. The felt should never show spotting, mottling, or “spidering.” Spidering is a web-like pattern from the shellac that is improperly placed into the hat to stiffen it.
Supple, not floppy
The felt should feel good to the touch, have a nice hand, and be easy to manipulate. If this is the case, it will crease perfectly without the use of steam.