So You Want to Buy A Hat...
Come into our store: If you are interested in buying a felt or straw hat we first recommend that you come into one of our brick and mortar stores in order to get properly fitted for a hat, and to take advantage of our knowledge of shape and proportion as it relates to the style of hat that is best for you.
Custom Hats: Wait time ebbs and flows based on how many customers come in today, and what season it is. Current wait time is approx. 4 months. Making a deposit get’s you a place in line.
Materials We Offer:
100% Beaver Fur Felt: Dress Weight, Light-Weight Western, and Full Western
For everyday hats that are made to last a lifetime we work in 100% Beaver Fur felt. Just as it does for the original dam builder, the 100% beaver fur felt hat protects you from the elements. The fur fiber has a soft touch, and an admirable amount of strength, enabling your hat to hold its shape and personality even in the rain. It's durability lengthens the life of your hat and allows it to be refurbished after years of wear.
Rabbit Fur Felt
100% Rabbit fur felt is very durable, and worlds ahead of wool felt. It will hold its shape in the rain well, though not quite as well as beaver. The rabbit felt we get is slightly thicker than the beaver felt, and has a bit more furriness. It's a great choice for a softer everyday hat, and comes in more colors for special occasions.
50/50 Beaver/Rabbit Stiffened Fur Felt
If you work hard and play hard you want your hat to withstand the wear and tear alongside you. We recommend having your hat made from a western hat body. The western hat body can become any style of hat and is made of 50/50 rabbit/beaver with a bit of stiffener. This hat will be a little thicker, heavier, and more coarse than the 100% beaver.
Shag Rabbit Fur Felt
We use rabbit shag for making top hats and classic styles. Its flexibility allows us to stretch it into the sharp angels of the top hat, or for a softer dress hat. The long hair of this rabbit velour has a beautiful seal-like sheen reminiscent of top hats made long ago or the long shag we saw more of in the 70’s. The rabbit velour top hats are not ideal for the rain, but optimal for the opera.
There is only one country in the entire world whose perfect equator climate combined with a five hundred year old skill produces the raw straw bodies for the fine Panama hats we shape and finish to sell here at Paul's Hat Works. That country is Ecuador. The weaving of Panama hats is an Ecuadorian family tradition and trade, hand weaving their hats from start to finish. Ask any native from Ecuador and they will defensively explain how the biggest misnomer ever is that their hats are referred to as "Panama hats." The reason for that is because the finished hats were originally popularized on the newly established trade hub of the Panama Canal.
Depending on the quality of the the weaving, a hat can take anywhere from a few days to several months. This is precisely why the cost of a Panama hat varies so extremely. Hopefully it will now be easy for you to qualify why a straw hat is well worth its asking price. It's a product that comes from a trade that has not changed for hundreds of years; a product that is hand woven and finished, woven at night by the most skilled straw artisans in the world.
These hats come to hands of the ladies at Paul's Hat Works, straight from the villages in Ecuador. We are artisans as well and use original blocks, tools, and machines to give your hat the size, shape, and decor that is specific to you as an individual. We complete this right of passage that turns a pile of straw into a perfect specimen of couture art.
Cuenca straw hats are woven of thicker straw, shortening the time it takes to weave them to a few weeks. The thicker straw gives the hat a slightly heavier weight. This weave comes from the area around Cuenca, Ecuador.
Montecristi hats are named after the town of Montecristi, where the worlds most finely woven hats are finished after being woven in the surrounding area. The tight weave gives a soft, lightweight, fabric-like material that can take months to weave. The fineness of the weave or grade that we carry, varies with the seasonal output of hats from Ecuador.