Rainy Day Hats
One of the most frequently asked questions we get in Spring is, “What type of hat is good to wear in the rain?”
It is an excellent question with no easy answer. Most of our fur felt hats and some of our caps are rain resistant. However, that doesn’t mean you want to wear them in the rain.
The only hat we have that advertises itself as “water impermeable” is a cap by Stefeno called the Liam. It is a handsome cap with a waterproof pedigree.
The remainder of the hats fit on a sliding scale. As I said in the earlier post “Hats, Heat & Snow,” water and heat are your hat’s worst common enemies. Those two elements easily warp, shrink, stain or disfigure hats in short order. Getting back to that scale, you never want to get a straw hat wet. On the other hand, most Tilley hats come with washing instructions.
Dressier felt hats are all going to be water resistant. With many of them, the real damage might come to the finish. For example: A Biltmore Eleganza Pork Pie with a soleil finish might keep your head dry in a downpour for a few minutes, but it can only withstand a drop or two of rain before the silken finish of the fur felt is in danger of being ruined.
Fortunately, many of our very affordable Lite Felt hats are treated to be more water repellent. These are rugged wool fur felt hats that often are crushable, too. They hold up better in the rain than most hats but need some special TLC, which I will discuss in a minute.
The famed Italian hatter Borsalino has a beautiful and light-weight hat named the Crushable that is advertised as part of their “Rain Proof Line.” We would not necessarily call it waterproof, but with proper handling, it does hold up in the rain very well.
Even brand name hats by Stetson, Dobbs, Biltmore and others can withstand a little moisture, but you really don’t want to get them too wet. If you want to wear a hat out in the rain, be sure to use a plastic rain cover on your hat and/or carry an umbrella.
If your felt hat does get rained on, here are some simple tips to prevent or reduce the amount of damage. As you head indoors, shake off all the excess water from your hat. If it is a fedora with a snap brim, gently turn the brim up. Then find a flat cool, dry place to set your hat. Turn down the leather sweatband and rest the hat on that. If your hat does not have a leather sweatband, rest the hat upside down on its crown. Let the hat dry slowly and naturally. Do not put it in direct sunlight or on an oven top, as the heat can shrink or otherwise alter the shape of your hat.