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: We offer custom hats through our stores, but not through our website. We do not charge more to make your hat custom if you come into our shop. Custom hats can take 6 - 8 weeks from time of ordering.
Hats Available Online: We offer standard colors, sizes, and shapes of felt hats in both beaver and rabbit felt online that you can buy. The ribbon that comes on all styles online is 1 1/2" wide, and in color will match the hat. No custom ribbon choices available online. Hats ordered online will be shipped within 3 - 8 weeks of ordering time.
Hats Unavailable Online: We do not sell any top hats or porkpies online because they must be sized in person. We also do not sell our straw hats online because each straw body is unique (as you will read below), and cannot be standardized appropriately for online sales. We do not sell hats smaller than 6 7/8, or bigger than 7 5/8 online.
Materials We Offer:
100% Beaver Fur Felt
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 very 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 an everyday hat, one that will get a lot of wear and tear, and be able to withstand a lot of use.
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.
Long Haired Rabbit Velour Felt
We use rabbit velour felt exclusively for making top hats and no other styles. Its flexibility allows us to stretch it into the sharp angels of the top hat. Our tops are stiffened to help keep their shape. The long hair of this rabbit velour has a beautiful seal-like sheen reminiscent of top hats made long ago. 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 style comes from the town of Cuenca, Ecuador.
Montecristi hats are named after the town of Montecristi, where the worlds most finely woven hats originate, Ecuador. 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.