Say What?

A glossary of hat terms and all related to headwear


AQAL / a rolled band of decorative material used to secure the traditional Arab head-dress

ABE LINCOLN HAT / tall stovepipe top hat

ANGORA / the hair of the Angora goat used in making mohair / the hair of the Angora rabbit makes a soft knitting wool for Angora caps and hats

AMMANA / spiraled turban worn by Muslims

ASCOT / a British cap originally designed for wearing in the Royal Enclosure at Ascot, near Windsor in Berkshire / a variation of the original design is still quite popular today

ABACCA / fibers from the Philippine banana plants are stripped and spun into fine threads used in making finely woven Sinimay cloth / the fabric can be dyed in beautiful soft 100% natural colors and it remains environmentally friendly

ALPINE HAT / a traditional German hat from Bavaria modeled after the ones worn by the people in the Swiss Alps / the hats can be worn with or without the boar’s head brush on the side of the hat

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BALACLAVA / a form of ski mask covering the whole head, exposing only the face, and often only the eyes / the name BALACLAVA comes from the town of the same name in Crimea / During the Crimean war, knitted BALACLAVAS were sent over to the British troops to help protect them from the bitter cold

BUTCH CASSIDY / a derby worn and made famous by the legendary outlaw BUTCH CASSIDY

BOSS OF THE PLAINS / the name refers to one of the earliest Stetson hat styles which was actually an uncreased hat

BRAND NAME HAT / a name that is so recognizable that the mere mention of the name conjures up a particular hat style / i.e. "Do you have a DOBBS?” This means, "Do you have a small fedora type hat?”

BEN HOGAN / an English driving cap

BERET / a round flat woolen cap

BOATER / a stiff short flat top hat with a small flat brim / it’s usually trimmed with a wide navy colored ribbon that has a narrow red horizontal
stripe running through the middle of the ribbon / the hat is surprisingly comfortable because it has a floating sweatband

BEAVER FELT / the finest and most expensive hatter’s felt

BRETON / a hat with a brim that rolls up all around (similar to a sailor’s hat)

BOWLER / this hat started out in the mid 1800’s as protective headgear for horsemen / the round crown was stiffened hard to protect the head from tree branches and flying rocks / the style was popularized when the Earl of Derby in England started wearing one / the hat has a small pencil-curled brim with a matching band and binding / today the hat is equally popular with men and women / also called a DERBY

BUSH HAT / originally an Australian BUSH HAT, the term today refers to
a wide variety of outdoor type hats / the standard style usually refers to a fedora style hat with the brim turned up on one side

BICORNE HAT / this hat was worn in the late 1700’s and characterized by a brim that was folded up to form two points / worn by Napoleon with a tri-color cockade

BLOCK / the wooden form use to establish the finished shape of felt hats / BLOCKING is the procedure that creates the body and longevity in the finished hat

BRIM / the projecting edge of a hat

BLACK TIE EVENT / an occasion wherein formal attire is expected / DERBIES, TOP HATS, COACHMAN’S HATS, HOMBURGS, FEDORAS, AND COWBOY HATS may be worn with the appropriate outfit

BINDING / a narrow ribbon sewn around the edge of the brim of a hat

BREAK / usually the strongest point of the hat, it is the right angle where the crown meets the brim

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CAVALRY HAT / a hat with a teardrop crown and a 3 1/2 inch flat dip brim / most common colors are navy or light gray / round braided cord with acorns is standard hat band treatment / exact specifications on this hat vary because standardization was not the norm during the Civil War

CATTLEMAN CREASE / a favorite cowboy crease worn by most cattle ranchers

CLEAN AND BLOCK / a general term used to mean "bring back to a new-like appearance” when referring to western hats and fedoras

CHURCH HAT / a very dressy ladies hat that may be worn to any fancy occasion

CHARRO HAT / the CHARRO hat is typically a PACHUCA or a SAN LUIS MODERADO / both feature the back rolled up and four deep dents in the tall crown to protect the rider’s head in a fall / the border at the edge of the brim and a tall design around the crown are embroidered or appliquéd in suede / silver disks are often placed on the sides of the crown

CARROTING / a procedure for treating the wool or fur hairs with acids to cause split ends and curling hairs which helps in the felting process / it produces a reddish-yellow color which is why it’s called CARROTING

CHEF’S HAT / white starched hat with a tall crown / French tradition states that the hat should have 100 pleats to represent the number of ways a great chef can prepare eggs

COWBOY HAT / a hat originally made with a tall crown and wide brim / generally accepted as first being made by John Batterson Stetson and recognized the world over as a cultural American icon

CROWN / the top part of a hat

COLORFAST / dyed in a manner whereby the color does not run when wet

CONSERVATIVE / conventional, traditional

CLASSIC LOOK / timeless style, not trendy

CHAPEAU / a small three-cornered flat silk hat worn during the 1700’s

CAPELINE / roughly shaped crown and brim of felt or straw, to be blocked to form a hat

COONSKIN CAP / the original coonskin cap consisted of the entire skin of the raccoon including the head and tail / it was a traditional Native American article of clothing / the resurgent popularity of the cap during the 1950’s was due to a Disney TV show / Although Daniel Boone and Davey Crockett were thought to have worn the caps, in reality they never did

CALOTTE / a skull cap worn by Roman Catholic priests

COSSACK CAP / a brimless fur hat worn for centuries by Russian Cossacks living on the banks of the Cuban river / it is popular today among businessmen because diplomats often wear them

CAMPAIGN HAT / a hat adopted by the US Army in the early 20th century / it is thought that the origin of the four dents is so the hat could better shed water / it is popular today among scout leaders and drill instructors

COCKADE / ornamental decoration made of strips of leather or ribbon made into a rosette / it can be worn as a sign of rank of office

COOLIE HAT / a conical straw hat worn in Asia by Chinese coolies as protection against the sun

COACHMAN’S HAT / short top hat dating back to the 19th century

COCKTAIL HAT / a small brimless hat or hair ornament worn by women / it may be conservative or exotic (like those worn by the Ziegfield Follies)

CONFORMATEUR / a device for measuring the shape of a head in size and oval so that a perfectly-fitting hat can be made / the device was made by Allie Maillard in Paris, France in the 1840’s and exhibited at the World’s Fair in 1844-46

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DUKE / the shape is one of the favorites of John Wayne / it’s a tall teardrop with an oversized brim / when people mention John Wayne’s name, most remember him wearing this style cowboy hat

DON WILLIAMS / a fur felt hat with a hard-creased teardrop and a hand-rolled brim / hat style made famous by the singer, songwriter Don Williams


DYED IN THE WOOL / refers to yarn dyed while in the raw form making it colorfast and before it is made into fabric / all hat materials are done in this manner so as to prevent the color from coming out in the rain

DYE UPTAKE / the capacity for material to absorb and hold color while remaining colorfast

DERBY / see bowler

DEERSTALKER / a cap with a bill at the front and back of the hat and earflaps that can be tied up over the crown / also called a SHERLOCK HOLMES CAP

DOWNTURN BRIM / a brim that is turned slightly down front and back while remaining straight on the sides / also called a SAFARI BRIM

DOWDY / unfashionable

DU-RAG / originally a pre-civil war thin cloth worn by slaves working the fields / in theory, they would leave the cloth setting on the ground overnight to soak up the dew / the next morning they’d put it on when they started work / after the war when the slaves were freed this item was forgotten / it has been revived today more as a fashion statement / the hip hop scene or bikers may be seen wearing them

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EGGSHELL / off white in color similar to the color of eggshells

ENGLISH DRIVING CAP / low profile cap with a small bill in front that may or may not be sewn down or snapped down / an ivy cap

ELASTIC / material that can be stretched without permanent alteration of size / used today in the making of some hats as a sweatband / elastic sweatbands allow a snug but comfortable fit

EYELETS / small reinforced holes placed in the side crown of the hat for ventilation

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FASHION POLICE / a self-appointed group of experts who continually talk about the fashion sense of others, usually disparagingly

FEDORA / a term widely used to describe men’s dress hats of all types

FEATHER HEAD-DRESS / ceremonial and symbolic head cover worn by the North American Indian Tribes

FELT / non-woven fabric formed by treating the fibers with heat and steam pressure / wool felt and fur felt are primary fabrics used in making many hats

FERRONIERE / a chain worn around the head for ornamentation with a jewel in the middle

FEZ / burgundy wool felt conical hat with a flat top worn by the Shriners, trimmed with a long black tassel and rhinestone letters denoting rank and position in the organization / the name originated in Turkey and was the national head-dress until it was outlawed in the 1920’s

FLAX / a natural plant cultivated for it’s textile fiber

FORAGE CAP / military cap with a small brim / also called a KEPI

FULLING / controlled intentional shrinking of fabric / also called FELTING

FRENCH LIGNE / a unit of measurement / it was in use prior to the French adaptation of the metric system in the late 1700’s / it is still used today in the hat industry to measure ribbon width and the standardized conversion is 2.2558291 mm (1 mm = 0.443296 ligne)

FORMILLION / the companion piece to the CONFORMATEUR / this device translates the image reduced by the conformateur into the full size head mold which exactly matches the shape of the head of the person who had been measured

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GATSBY CAP / an English driving cap

GAUCHO HAT / a black felt hat with a low flat crown and a wide flat brim, often worn with a chin strap

GLENGARRY / a Scottish cap usually higher in the front than the back with short ribbons hanging down the back (similar to today’s folded military cap)

GOATSKIN / leather made from a goat, sometimes used in sweatbands

GROSGRAIN / a type of very fine quality ribbon used on cowboy hats for decoration / the width of the ribbon varies and is measured in French lignes

GROMMET / reinforced eyelet

GIBUS / collapsible top hat patented in 1837 by the French inventor of the same name

GUS HAT / refers to a specific style cowboy hat with a trail worn look, sloped crown and mellow rolled brim / Robert Duvall popularized the look when he wore one in "Lonesome Dove” / this look has been a favorite among cowboys and wannabe cowboys for over a decade

GEORGE STRAIT HAT / refers to the style hat worn by singer and songwriter George Strait wherein he took the century old rancher style hat and added his squared off brim to the traditional look to come up with a style that took America by storm in the 1980’s and is still going strong

GODFATHER / the HOMBURG got a new name when Al Pacino wore it in the classic film "The Godfather” / see HOMBURG

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HAT / an item of dress worn on the head, from a word of Saxon origin meaning hood

HEADSHAPE / the pattern created by the FORMILLION

HAT BAND / a decorative strip placed around the outside of the hat at the break

HOOD / cone or capeline of felt or straw for making hats

HOMBURG / popularized by Edward, Prince of Wales in the 1890’s and worn since then as a formal dress hat / Dwight Eisenhower wore a homburg at his inauguration in 1953 / there is little variation in style / it is a round crown hat with a center crease only and a small pencil-curled brim with a matching band and binding

HERRINGBONE / a popular weave in men’s winter caps and hats, the pattern consists of short slanted parallel lines running lengthwise and crosswise in the fabric

HIJAB / a covering for a Muslim woman’s head and face

HORSEHAIR / hairs from a horse’s mane and tail used to make
beautiful hat bands for cowboy hats

HELMET / protective headgear worn in many industries and sports / the correct helmet must be worn for it’s respective application as standards for helmet construction match the application

HOPALONG CASSIDY HAT / a style hat worn by the famous western character / refers to a black hat with tall sloped crown and oversize pencil-curled brim, trimmed with black binding and band / the HOPPI is an old time favorite

HOSS HAT / a fur felt hat made famous by Dan Blocker in the original TV series "Bonanza” / Hoss was a big guy and he wore a 7-inch tall open crown and a 4 1/2 inch handrolled brim

HASHKNIFE HAT / see GUS HAT / cowboys from different parts of the country called the same hat style different names in the Old West and they still do today

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INDIGO / a deep blue color / substance from the plant of the genus indigofera largely used as a blue dye

IVY CAP / an English driving cap / a round soft cloth cap with a small brim (the brim is either sewn down or snapped down) and a deeper back / also called a GOLF CAP or a DRIVING CAP

INDIANA JONES HAT / a SAFARI style hat with a dimensional brim that can be worn as a downturn brim or a snap brim / Harrison Ford wore slightly different versions of the hat in all the INDIANA JONES movies he made / he is given credit by those in the hat industry for making hats stylish and popular again

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JERSEY / plain knit woolen fabric used in cap and hat making

JOCKEY CAP / close fitting 6-panel cloth cap with a small brim in front

JUTE / a fiber used in hat making and also in hat trim

JULIET CAP / skull cap worn by Renaissance women and decorated with jewels and pearls

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LITTLE JOE HAT / the gambler style worn by Michael Landon as Little Joe Cartwright in the TV series "Bonanza”

LEATHER / material made from the skin of an animal / leather sweatbands are often a blue roan leather / lightweight Aussie style hats are made from Kangaroo leather or Boarhide leather / calfskin and cow hides are often used in hat making and trims

LEURING LATHE / a motorized turntable with a block support / the hat is "polished” as it turns to impart a sheen to the fur fibers, especially the crown

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MONTANA PEAK HAT / a tall sloped crown hat that easily sheds water / also, a 4-dent crease (similar to a campaign hat) with a pencil-curled brim

MEXICAN SOMBRERO / a very large hat in a distinctive style that can be plain or fancy; most MEXICAN SOMBREROS are heavy and unwieldy, used more for fun than work

MILLINER / one who designs, makes, sells or trims hats

MITRE / head cover worn by bishops in the Catholic clergy, characterized by two peaks

MORTARBOARD / flat, square head cover worn by professors and students at graduation

MULLING / dampening or steaming a felt or straw hat in preparation for blocking

MUSHROOM HAT / a ladies hat with a large downward curving brim like the one worn by Audrey Hepburn in "Breakfast at Tiffany’s” / also called a LAMPSHADE HAT

MOURNING BONNET / a black bonnet worn by widows during the 1800’s

MATADOR HAT / the hat worn by bullfighters; the shape of the hat is like the head of a bull

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NEWSBOY CAP / popular cap style with a full 8-panel crown and small bill in front; the name originated because young boys delivering newspapers in the 1920’s commonly wore them; today, NEWSBOY CAPS are a popular fashion item with women

NIGHT CAP / men’s cap worn informally indoors from the 1500’s to the 1800’s / it had a deep crown made in four segments and the edge turned up to form a close-fitting brim

NIQAB / face veil worn by Islamic women, together with the HIJAB (head-cover)

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OPTIMO / a straw hat style with an open crown that has a ridge extending from the front to the back of the crown and a snap brim

OVERSEAS CAP / wedge-shaped foldable uniform cap made of cotton or wool / also called a GARRISON CAP

OPERA HAT / a top hat / a gibus

OPEN ROAD HAT / one of the most popular style fur felt hats ever made by Stetson / production on the Open Road has been continuous for over 50 years / it is a smaller proportioned hat than most cowboy hats of the time and preferred by bankers, lawmen, ranchers and presidents

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PALE RIDER HAT / this is a distinctive style worn by Clint Eastwood in the movie "Pale Rider”

PLAIN INDIAN HAT / an open crown flat brim black felt hat with a beaded hat band / This hat got it’s name from the Old West. Hats were shipped uncreased to the general stores and then creased to the customer’s liking upon purchase. When hats were shipped the same way to the Reservations, they were taken out of the box by the Indians and distinguished with a personal beaded hat band. Creasing the hat was unimportant to them.

POBLANO / a lightweight sombrero

PAKUL / a soft, round top hat worn in Afghanistan, made of wool in earth tone colors / the sides are rolled up almost to the top forming a thick band / it sits on the head like a cap

PANAMA / natural straw material grown and woven in Ecuador for making fine quality, lightweight hats

PANAMA HAT / this term can be used to refer to either or both style and material

POLO HAT / small round hat with a visor in front / it may or may not be certified as protective headgear

POM POM / an ornament that may be attached to a cap or hat

PROFILE HAT / a hat with a brim turned down so sharply on one side as to silhouette the profile

PICTURE HAT / a ladies hat with a very wide brim that looks like it’s framing the face

PILL BOX HAT / a small brimless hat of the type worn by Jackie Kennedy

PITH HELMET / in the 1800’s pith helmets were made of pith, covered with white cloth and had small holes for ventilation; today, with all of our technological advancements, many pith helmets are made of ventilated straw

PORK PIE HAT / a straw or felt style hat with a short gambler crown and a very small brim that can be worn up all around or snapped down in front / silent film star Buster Keaton often wore a pork pie hat / Today these hats are often worn by jazz or blues aficionados.

PUGAREE BAND / a popular wide hat band usually with 3 pleats worn on golf style hats

PLANTER’S HAT / this style hat is a throwback to the sugar plantations / however, today the term usually refers to a gambler style crown and a wide brim

PURITAN HAT / tall flat-crowned hat with a wide flat brim, wide band and big silver buckle on the hat band / also called a CAVALIER HAT

POUNCING / a term used to describe the finishing of a felt hat with fine emery paper to impart a particular surface texture to the felt / a process usually tackled by a Master Hatter

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QUAKER HAT / rounded blocked low crown hat with a 4-inch upturned brim

QUIGLEY / a fur felt hat made popular by the movie "Quigley Down Under” / the hat has a tall sloped crown and a wide brim/ although it can be made in any color, the authentic color is bone

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REX WALKER / a trilby worn so often by the actor that his name was lent to the style and it took on a distinct look of it’s own / a small fedora of the cut-and-sewn variety in wool herringbone and tweed fabrics / considered a traditional style today

RAFFIA / natural straw grown in Madagascar and used for many purposes including making hats

RAMIE / a Chinese and East Indian plant of the nettle family, Bhmeria Nivea, more commonly called grass-cloth; the fine fiber of this plant is used in weaving lightweight fabric for hats

RAYON / fiber from woody plants used in making hats

ROBIN HOOD HAT / a conical hat turned up in back and down to a point in front and trimmed with a long quill

ROUGH RIDER HAT / a model 1889 campaign hat in medium brown

ROSETTE / a decoration consisting of strips of ribbon, leather, etc designed in a concentric circle to resemble a rose

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STINGY BRIM / a very small brim, usually 3/4 inch to 1 3/4 inch typically worn on fedoras

STINGY BRIM HAT / a fedora with a stingy brim

SPANISH SOMBRERO /a very large hat in a distinctive style worn as a work hat on Spanish ranches to protect the head and shoulders from sun; the hat was very lightweight and comfortable

STAMPEDE STRAP / a cowboy term that refers to the chin cord worn on a western hat

SNOWY RIVER HAT / fur felt hat in an outback style with a low crown and 3-3 1/2 inch brim; the hat gained fame and popularity after it was worn by the hero in the movie, "The Man from Snowy River”

SAILOR HAT / boater, skimmer

SILK HAT / top hat with a long-hair finish

SKULL CAP / close-fitting cap of soft material

SLOUCH HAT / cavalry type hat with one side of the brim bent downward / also called a Garbo Hat after the actress Greta Garbo

SELF BAND / a hat band made out of the same material as the hat

SISAL / the fiber of the agave and fourcroya plant used in hat making

SNAP BRIM / a brim that has been flanged to allow the wearer to wear it up all-around or partially up and partially down / there is a "snap” in the brim

SOMBRERO / a very large Mexican or Spanish hat that can be made of felt or straw; the crown can be as tall as 7-8 inches and the brim can be as wide as 10 inches / an icon of the Hispanic culture

STOVEPIPE HAT / a 19th century top hat style popularized by Abe Lincoln

SNOOD / an ornamental hair net supporting the back of a woman’s hair

SUEDE FELT / a fur hood finished with a suede-like nap

SMOKING HAT / a man’s pill box shape hat worn during the 1800’s to keep the hair from smelling like smoke

ST CATHARINE OF ALEXANDRIA / the Patron Saint of Milliners in France, celebrated November 2nd

ST CLEMENT I / the Patron Saint of Hatters in England, celebrated November 23rd / by tradition, St Clement I is credited as being the discoverer of felt

SUGARLOAF HAT / a tall hat with a curved crown in the shape of a loaf

SWATCH / a sample piece of felt; a collection of samples bound together

SIMON & SIMON HAT / a small outback hat in fur felt made famous by Gerald McRaney as the character Rick Simon in the TV series "Simon-and-Simon” which aired in the early 1980’s

STETSON / a word that will forever stand alone as another meaning for cowboy hat / John Batterson Stetson (1830-1906), son of a Master Hatter and knowledgeable in the trade designed a large broad-brimmed hat and began manufacturing them in 1865. His attention to quality and durability quickly established his company as a leading manufacturer in the USA. The rest is one of the best known stories in history.

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TYROLEAN HAT / a man’s soft felt hat with a turned-up brim and a small feather cockade at one side / these hats are commonly seen in the Swiss Alps or at Octoberfest parties

TOMBSTONE HAT / another name for the style of hat worn by Wyatt Earp

TOM MIX HAT / refers to a tall crown oversize brim white hat made by Stetson especially for the entertainer Tom Mix / Tom Mix was a favorite silent film star in the early 20th century who is remembered because of his "larger-than-life” personality / when talking about the Old West, your conversation would not be complete without a mention of Tom Mix

TOM LANDRY HAT / a small brim fedora worn by NFL legend Tom Landry

TAM-O-SHANTER / a full beret with a bobble on top

TARTAN / Scottish Highlander plaid; wool cloth with a black and white check pattern

TOQUE / French term for a chef’s hat

TRILBY / a soft felt hat with a dented crown and narrow brim turned up in back

TURBAN / head-dress of spiraled and tucked fabric

TOP HAT / tall formal hat in black or gray covered with beaver or silk

TEN GALLON HAT / an enormous cowboy hat credited as being first made by Stetson / the Tom Mix has was called a TEN GALLON HAT

TIARA / a woman’s crown-like head-dress covered with rhinestones

TRICORNE HAT / a 3-cornered hat with a wide upturned brim worn after 1650

TUQUE / Canadian term for a stocking cap

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VEIL / netting used to cover the head and/or face of women / can also be cloth

VELOUR FELT / velvet-like surface texture on fur felt

VISOR / a bill extending out over the face, but without a cap

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WIMPLE / a veil folded so as to cover the head and neck and closely frame the cheeks, usually worn by nuns

WATCH CAP / knit cap that folds down to keep the head and neck warm, worn by sailors on watch at sea

WOOL / fine soft curly hair of domesticated sheep and similar animals and used chiefly in a prepared state for making cloth

WYATT EARP HAT / one of the most famous lawmen of the Old West, Wyatt Earp wore an unusual and distinctive style hat / it had a flat top round crown and flat brim, always black in color / also called a TOMBSTONE HAT

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XIAN / capeline made of Oriental straw

YARMULKE / skullcap worn by Jewish males / also called a KIPPA

ZUCHETTO / skullcap worn by Roman Catholic clergy: black for priests, purple for bishops, red for cardinals, white for the Pope

ZOOT SUIT HAT / the zoot suit was a 1940’s suit usually with a long draped jacket and padded shoulders and high-waisted pants; the hat is a C-crown fedora with a 3-inch snap brim usually with contrasting trim

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I recently ordered and received the Kenny Chesney Palm leaf hat. First of all, I am very impressed by its quality, shape and size! I was very concerned with it fitting and it fits perfectly. Thank you! I'm not a big review guy but I wanted to share my experience with you. Thanks again for the awesome service!

Jamie Martin

The hat arrived yesterday and my husband is so happy to have it back. You did an excellent job with the restoration. Thank you so much.


I just received my old hat which you made almost like new. The lining is perfect and you didn’t spoil the hats character. I’ve had this hat for 30 years and you have made it so beautiful; I’ll have it for a good time more! Thank you very much and may the Lord bless you all! Keep looking up.