Gillespie adds that it should
also sit level on your head without
tipping forward or backward.
Finding this balance is the job
of a hat professional. Maitia says
a hat should fit snug initially,
but not too tight, resting about a
finger above the top of your ears.
It should not want to “pop o;”
when you try it on, and it should
Not all hats fit all people,
especially if you have a round
head. “Most hats are made
long-oval, and not everyone has
a long-oval head size,” Maitia
says. “If your head is very
round, most of the o;-the-shelf
hats will not fit properly, and
adjustments have to be made
for them to fit. Typically, you
would go up a size and then pad
the front and back. In the reverse
situation, someone with a very
long-oval head will have large
gaps by the temples. You would
need to custom-pad the hat to fit
comfortably and stay on while
The style of your hat, crown size
and brim length will depend on
several factors. These include
the events you’re competing in,
that season’s trends and your
Style: Your best resource will
be a good hatter, who will know
what’s “in” for each discipline.
But no matter what, the shape
should complement your face.
“Each discipline has a typical
look, but not every trending
fashion look is suitable for
everyone’s facial structure,”
Crown Size: “The crown
size—how tall the hat is—is
very important,” says Gillespie.
“It should be proportional to
your face structure. I prefer
the crown to be brought down
a little bit lower for a smaller
Below: A too-big hat could fall
off your head, and it lends a
sloppy look to your presentation.
Above: A too-small hat will
perch atop your head, looks
unprofessional, and it could fall
off at the wrong time.
ALL MY X’S
Hat quality is expressed in X’s. You should choose the highest number of
X’s you can afford. American Paint Horse Association all-around trainer
Tim Gillespie recommends at least 20X. Barbara Maitia of Barbara’s
Custom Hats in Fort Worth, Texas, says a 100X hat is 100 percent fur,
typically beaver. A 2X, 3X or 4X hat is made of a felt/wool or fur blend.
“It’s much harder to maintain the crisp shape of a lesser-quality hat,”
says Maitia. “They’re typically not designed for the long haul. These
blends need to be shaped more often and are sensitive to the extreme
showing elements, such as dust, rain, heat and humidity. Spending a
little money on a better-quality hat up front will save money and time.”
Buy the best
quality hat you
can afford. Higher
quality hats hold
their shape better.