A controversial topic that you will see raised in most any hat shop is “how much fedora” someone can wear. This has nothing to do with the fit of the fedora, but rather how large the brim and the crown of the hat is. A “stingy” fedora has a smaller brim, less than two inches in length, while a wide brimmed or “generous” fedora will have a brim at least two inches in length, and ranging upwards from there. A person’s body and face shape, personal style, and preference all dictate how much hat they might be able to wear.
Originally, the fedora had a four inch crown and a two and a quarter inch brim. This is considered to be the classic fedora dimensions, and could be seen on everyone from gangsters to businessmen for the first half of the twentieth century. It should be noted that this size of fedora was also mostly seen with a teardrop crown, which somewhat visually mitigates larger brims. In Europe, the center dent crown was also popular, and worn a little more commonly than the teardrop crown fedora. These center dent crowns more often had two inch brims, as they lacked the larger crown to match the larger two and a quarter inch brim. The safari style also became popular in the ‘30s and ‘40s, with its two and a half inch turned down brim.
Through the ‘60s and ‘70s, hat wear as a rule went down, and when hats came back into fashion in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the stingy brim fedora became the most popular fedora, rather than the more generous brims of previous fedora wearing generations. Whether this was because of one social movement or another can be debated, but what cannot be debated is that a stingier brim is easier to wear. The shape of a fedora’s crown and the length of its brim change how the face is perceived. If you are not used to seeing yourself in a more generous fedora, as past generations were, you might be uncomfortable seeing yourself in a wide brimmed fedora.
In this way, the stingy brimmed fedora can be thought of as an entry level hat. The smaller profile of the hat makes less of an impact on overall appearance, and so the stingy brimmed fedora might make it easier for someone to become accustomed to its appearance.
As people became more accustomed to hat wear, the started seeking out other options. Especially in the last decade, it can be seen that some more generous hats can be more flattering on some body types, or with certain styles. A large hat makes a larger impact on an outfit or a persona, and a wider brim will better equip you to weather the elements.
Crown and brim height and shape can be taken into account when fitting a hat, and deciding how much hat can be worn, in a variety of ways. As far as the crown goes, fitting is usually fairly simple. Unless you are going for a particular style, the crown of the hat should usually mirror the shape of your face. If you have a longer face or shorter face, wear a proportionally longer or shorter crown. If you have a rounder face, you might consider a center dent crown, whereas if you have a larger, stronger, jawline, you could probably look at a teardrop crown.
When it comes to fitting a brim length, there are even more variables to consider. A taller person, a broader person, or someone with longer hair, might all consider wearing a more wide brimmed fedora. All of these fit factors can become over emphasized when you are wearing a stingy brimmed fedora, which better fits someone who might be a little smaller, a little shorter, or be sporting a shorter hair style. Of course, someone might by any combination of qualities, but using these fit guidelines can help you find the most flattering hat for you.
Another contributing factor is style. If you are prone to bulky or layered clothing, or long items, like coats or dresses, you should probably first look at a wide brimmed fedora, where a slimmer or more streamlined look could be better complimented by a stingy brimmed fedoras.
The quest for the perfect fedora is a long one, and at the end of the day you have a accept that such a thing probably doesn’t exist. External factors, like society and occasion, and internal factors, like your face and body shape, as well as personal style, make for too many variables. Hopefully we’ve managed to provide some helpful tips and background to help guide you, though.