Hat Sizing Guide

Hat Sizing Guide

While finding the perfect hat is one thing, finding the perfect fit is an entirely different dilemma. After all, what's the point in having a hat if you can't confidently wear it?

Over the years, hats have become an elite accessory — they draw attention even in a crowded space, and make the most casual outfit look chic. Whether you're strutting the streets of New York, sipping chardonnay in Napa or laying poolside in Mexico, there's a hat to match the occasion.

As beauty standards change in the fashion industry, fashionistas and editors alike have agreed that every person is unique in their own right. The one-size-fits-all mindset is quickly falling to the wayside in favor of realistic and inclusive sizes.

Considering the variety of fabrics, shapes and brims available, a hat that complements your features and style won't always do the same for your best friend, sister or neighbor. So, how do you find the right hat size and style for you? Our hat sizing guide is here to help.

While trying on different styles is fun, aimlessly shopping for a hat that matches your aesthetic can end with you leaving the store empty-handed. Our guide shows you how to correctly measure your hat size and choose styles that flatter your face shape. With dozens of gorgeous designs and materials to consider, hats are an underrated and versatile accessory. 

This guide simplifies your shopping experience so you can step out sporting a look that's fashion-forward and genuinely you.

Complete Hat Sizing Guide

Hat Sizing Basics

There's no "wrong" way to wear a hat, but not every hat will fit you correctly. Like any other article of clothing, you know a hat is the right size when it comfortably fits the top of your head — as if it was tailored specifically for you. 

A hat should fit snugly around your head, but not so tight that it leaves marks across your forehead or cuts off circulation. Similarly, you don't want your hat to be too loose to ensure it doesn't fall off. 


These hat sizing tips break down the basics of how hats are categorized and the quickest ways to choose a properly sized hat in-store and online.

1. According to the Label

As with general apparel sizing, hat sizes can be determined and labeled using one of these sizing guides:

  • Standard lettered sizing: This is the most common sizing method you'll see on hats. It utilizes the same lettering you see on most clothing labels — small (SM), medium (MD) and large (LG). Sometimes, you'll find hats in extra-large (XL) and 2 or 3X sizes, as well.
  • Half-sizes: In terms of millinery, half-sizes are used to label caps that can comfortably fit on your head without necessarily fitting the mold of single sizing. Therefore, you'll see SM/MD and LG/XL labels on hats that will fit heads of either size.
  • Exact measurements: While there are still hatters who keep the art of hat making alive with custom orders, the practice isn't all that common anymore. If you do come across a tailored-made hat, the sizing will be displayed in inches or centimeters.
  • British sizing scale: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are made up of proud hat wearers, with fascinators and bowlers displayed in these destinations throughout modern history. The British sizing scale for hats is in imperial measurements.
  • North American: North American hat-makers also use imperial measurements for hat sizing. However, they're an eighth of an inch larger than the British sizing scale for the same sized cap.
  • European sizing standard: European milliners use the metric system to designate hat sizes. Using centimeters, hat sizes in Europe range from 52 to 64 centimeters.

2. Measuring Up

It's no secret that clothing sizes run differently across brands, and the same is true for hats. Varying materials and shapes make it that much more difficult for hat-makers to accurately label their products, especially when trying to categorize sizes so that they correspond with a global sizing standard. This process inevitably leads to disparities in measurements when you're trying on different hats.

If you're stuck between choosing a hat that hugs a little too tight or seems a bit too loose, always choose the larger size, as hats can change over time. They can shrink from exposure to sweat and humidity and expand as your head and hair stretch the inner band. Either way, a hat with more wiggle room is more comfortable than a hat that squeezes your temples.


3. Use Reference Points

While hat sizing isn't an exact science, even with sizing inconsistencies, there are a few tips that will help you find the right hat for you:

  • Set the hat on the center of your head: When trying on a hat, it should be placed at the center of your head, with the inner band resting just above your eyebrows. This position ensures your vision isn't obstructed.
  • A slight mark is OK: It's OK if the inner band leaves a light mark on your forehead, as long as it fades quickly and doesn't restrict blood flow or trigger headaches. A slight mark indicates that the hat needs to be broken in, which will happen over time as you wear it.
  • Use your index finger to test the hat's fit: The quickest and easiest way to see if a hat fits correctly is to fit your index finger between the inner lining and your head and slide it from side to side.
  • Style your hair with the hat in mind: Between voluminous curls and full-bodied waves, wearing hats can be a tricky task. While many people reach for their go-to hat on a bad hair day, it's important to try on hats when your hair is at its natural best and tied back in a bun or ponytailA hat fits differently depending on how you style your hair, so your preferred hairstyle will play a role in choosing your newest chapeau.

How to Measure Your Hat Size

As you might have guessed, hat sizing is based on the perimeter of your head. Therefore, to figure out your hat size, you need to measure the circumference of your skullHere's how you can do it at home using a tape measure:

  1. Place the beginning of the tape measure half an inch above your eyebrows, where the inner band of the hat will sit. This placement keeps the tape above your ears, so they don't interfere with the end results.
  2. Wrap the remaining tape around your head until you're back to the starting point. Remember to keep the tape measure in a straight line so it maintains an even placement around your scalp.
  3. Take note of the measurements in both centimeters and inches where the tape measure meets the starting point. That's your hat size.


Determining Your Size Without a Tape Measure

If you don't have a tape measure, there are two other methods of finding your hat size. 

The first is to use a piece of string, wrapping it around your head the same way you would with a tape measure. Then, lay the string on a flat surface and measure it against a ruler to determine the right centimeters and inches for your hat size.

The second method is an educated guess based on whatever hat you have available right now. If you place the hat on your head and find that you need a cap with more room in the crown or inner band, you can use your fingers to estimate your correct hat size. Each finger measures approximately 2 centimeters. Start by inserting your index finger between the inner band and your forehead and determine if it makes the hat fit better. If so, you may need to order a size up.

Hat Sizing for Women


It's no secret that men and women share an infinite number of dissimilarities — and hats are just another small example of that. There are different hat sizes for men and women because men tend to have slightly larger skulls and facial features. Therefore, immediately categorizing measurements into specific sizes doesn't necessarily work out to everyone's benefit. In which case, this guide for women's hat sizes will help you figure out the right hat size for your head measurements.

  • Small: 54 to 55 centimeters or 21 1/8 to 21 1/2 inches
  • Medium: 56 to 57 centimeters or 21 7/8 to 22 1/4 inches
  • Large: 58 to 59 centimeters or 22 5/8 to 23 inches
  • Extra large: 60 to 61 centimeters or 23 1/2 to 24 5/8 inches

When it comes to filtering through hat sizes, women's hats are usually made with a general one-size-fits-most standard. This approach works well because the average hat size for women is 57 centimeters, or a medium. Most women's hats are crafted to fit head sizes between 21 1/2 and 22 1/4 inches. To accommodate women with smaller or larger hat sizes, designers and manufacturers have increased the number of products they offer with adjustable bands, straps and drawstrings.

There currently isn't an industry standard when sizing and designing one-size-fits-most hats. This lack of standard leaves creating reliable and congruent sizes up to the designers, which can lead to variances between brands and manufacturers. Until universal sizes are implemented, the best way to ensure a hat fits right is to measure your head and compare it to the measurements listed by the brand.

Luckily, if you can't find women's hat sizes and styles that fit your aesthetic or preference, you can look just as glamorous in a men's hat. After all, stylish headwear has no boundaries. Using this sizing guide as a reference point, you can don a Greek fisherman's cap or Georgia Fedora with elegance and flair.

Hat Sizing for Men

A men's hat size is more specific than a women's, and can be measured using the traditional lettering system or with numerical values. The broad range of measurements makes it easier for designers to create one-size-fits-most styles that actually live up to the name and accommodate more people.

  • Small: 54 to 55 centimeters or 21 1/8 to 21 1/2 inches
  • Medium: 56 to 57 centimeters or 21 7/8 to 22 1/4 inches
  • Large: 58 to 59 centimeters or 22 5/8 to 23 inches
  • Extra large: 60 to 61 centimeters or 23 1/2 to 24 5/8 inches

The average hat size for men is 59 centimeters, or a large. 

Does One Size Actually Fit Most?

The one-size-fits-most label can be intimidating for many shoppers. The uncertainty of such an all-encompassing size deters many trendsetters from making a seemingly blind purchase. However, the one-size-fits-most size typically measures the average size for men and women — 59 centimeters for men and 57 centimeters for women.


Choosing a Hat According to Your Face Shape

Shopping for hats can be eerily similar to trying on a pair of jeans — even if the size and style make sense, they don't always fit correctly.

This issue happens all the time with accessories, especially when styling sunglasses and hats. The true North Star of finding your hat match is the shape of your face. Before you start shopping for hat styles, you need to figure out your face shape, which is one of six general shapes — long, round, square, diamond, oval and heart.

Like when you used the tape measure to find your hat size, you can use a tape measure to determine your face shape. Here's how you do it, starting with marking these measurements:

  1. Forehead: Measure the length of your forehead from hairline to hairline.
  2. Cheekbones: Use your hairline right above one cheekbone and measure across your face to the same spot on the other side of your face.
  3. Jawline: Place the end of the tape measure at the widest part of your jaw, directly under your ear. Wrap the tape loosely across your face until it lands on the exact spot on the other side.
  4. Face length: Set the start of the tape measure at the center of your hairline and bring down the rest of the tape until it reaches the tip of your chin.

Now that you have your face measurements written down, you can find your face shape using these guidelines:

Long

You have a long face shape if:

  • You have soft, rounded facial features.
  • Your forehead is the widest part of your face.
  • Your face measures longer than it is wide.
  • You have a combination of oval and square face shape features.

Often, long faces are easily recognizable because they're longer than they are wide and have softer features. The best hats for long faces include those with wide brims to balance the length of your face by cutting across the forehead, like sun hatsstraw hats and cowboy hats. For winter styles, trapper hats make for a great accessory while keeping you warm and accenting your natural profile.

Round

You have a round face shape if:

  • Your forehead is rounded at your hairline.
  • Your cheekbones are the widest part of your face.
  • Your face is as wide as it is long.
  • You have a rounded chin.

In general, round faces are shorter in length and symmetrical. People with round faces typically have smoother, softer facial features. The hats that best complement this face shape include fedorasangled caps and beanies.


Square

You have a square face shape if:

  • You have minimal definition in your cheekbones.
  • You have a straight line from your jaw to your forehead.
  • Your cheekbones, jaw and forehead are the same widths.
  • Your face is as long as it is wide.
  • You have a strong, defined jawline.

These face shapes have strong, straight features and are symmetrical in length and width. To highlight the natural definition and shape of a square face, floppy hats with large brims will cast beautiful shadows and accent your angles. People with square face shapes can also pull off classic styles like clochesberets and flat caps.


Oval

You have an oval face shape if:

  • Your cheekbones are the widest part of your face.
  • You have a soft jawline and chin.
  • Your face measures longer than it is wide.
  • Your chin is less wide than your forehead.

When it comes to wearing hats, oval faces have the most selection available to them. If you have an oval-shaped face, you can pull off any hat as you see fit. But if you're looking for inspiration, try wearing wide brimsboater hats or a captain's hat to complement your natural features.

Heart

You have a heart face shape if:

  • Your forehead and cheeks are the widest part of your face.
  • You have a slender jawline.
  • You have an angled chin that narrows at the bottom.
  • You have a rounded hairline or widow's peak.
  • Your face is slightly longer than it is wide.

These faces can have a range of features, and choosing your ideal hat will come down to those. If you have prominent cheekbones, try wearing hats with narrow crowns like short brim fedorasbaseball caps and boater hatsHowever, if you have soft cheekbones, newsboy caps and beanies will balance the sharpness of your chin.


Diamond

You have a diamond face shape if:

  • Your cheekbones are noticeably wider than your forehead and jawline.
  • You have a narrow chin that comes to a defined point.
  • The length of your face is the same size as its width.
  • You have a narrow forehead.
  • You have high cheekbones.

These face shapes share similarities with heart-shaped faces. However, the biggest difference is in the hairline. While diamond-shaped faces have a narrower hairline, heart-shaped faces tend to expand at the forehead. To maintain the proportions of your facial structure, you should wear flat caps, wide-brimmed fedorasoutback hats and beanies.

Regardless of your face shape or head size, you should always choose a hat that you love to wear and fits correctly. The right hat for you will make you feel poised, chic and unstoppable no matter the cut, shape or color. If you love outrageous bold looks, then stomp the streets like you're on the runway. If subtle sophistication is your cup of tea, raise eyebrows with coy netting or a lavish toque. Don't let shape stop you from feeling and looking your best.

Find Your Perfect Fit With Eric Javits

For over three decades, Eric Javits has broken barriers and redefined the art of hat-making. With dozens of summer and winter styles for every head size and shape, we prove that there's a hat for every occasion and every person. From classic fashionistas to internet trendsetters, we help you show off your style with a hat that makes a statement. 

Shop today to find exclusive designs and inspiration for your next look.

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