The onslaught of holiday catalogs has begun at our house. The most interesting in today's batch was the latest from hat purveyor Hartford York. I've never shopped here, and am only marginally familiar with their catalog, but being a hat guy I peeked.
Included are hats of all styles from top hats, flat caps, fedoras and ear muffs, from manufacturers including Stetson, Borsalino, Christy's, along with stylists unheard of by anyone not a mad hatter.
Buying a hat is not unlike buying a lamp shade. A successful outcome is more likely if the object to be covered (lamp or head) is present, and is part of the buying experience. Fractions of an inch matter, as gentlemen's hats are sold in 1/4 inch or 1 mm increments. That's why catalog hat shopping only works when either you are replacing a known favorite hat with its identical twin, or price shopping for a chapeau you've tried on elsewhere.
Oddly, all Hartford York hats, save Christy's, are sold, small, medium, large, with no indication anywhere of what a s, m, l, xl is. Since each manufacturer's range is likely different, HY's hat are guaranteed to fit only the very lucky few.
Should you need a hat, buy locally. Buy from a pro. The few dollars extra it costs will pay dividends forever while you enjoy a hat that fits, and enhances your appearance.
Every man looks good in a hat.