The Rogue and Scoundrels
Style Guide to Wearing A Fedora.
Fedora Chronicles FB group & Eric Renderking Fisk | Autumn 2016
I have to dedicate this to all of our members on our Facebook group! Special thanks to everyone who participated in putting this together!
Rule #1 – Be a real man and a real woman; buy a real fedora from a real hatter.
If you're going to be a daily fedora wearer, than do yourself the courtesy of buying the best fedora you deserve. Research what you want, ask questions in all of our groups, collect pictures of fedoras that you really like, budget for a new fedora, and contact a hatter like the ones we feature on our vendor's page.
Also, know the difference between a fedora and a trilby. No, a trilby is NOT a type of fedora.
Find a fedora with the right color, crown height and brim width should suit you. That’s YOUR fedora, not Harrison Ford’s. To be fair, Ford’s fedora wouldn’t suit Kevin Cosner in “The Untouchables,” Micheal Keaton in “Johnny Dangerously,” or Tom Hanks in “Road To Perdition.” You are a unique individual, your fedora should express that.
Rule #2 – You can get away with anything with your fedora.
Now, what do I mean when I say you can get away with your fedora? Specifically, I mean everything.
Do you want to swing on the climbing ropes in the gymnasium during the school dance?
Do you want to cross a sign or gate that says “No Trespassing,” or explore a condemned house or abandoned factory?
Do you want to ask out that girl or boy that’s totally out of your league?
Do you want to get to know the most gorgeous man or woman you’ve ever met while at work, go out on a date with that person, eventually move in with that person, fall in love, get married and go on many adventures like swinging climbing ropes in the gymnasium during the school dance before explore a condemned house or abandoned factory with that boy or girl that you thought was totally out of your league…. All in the same night?
A fedora gives you license to do anything and everything; not only do you have the right to be unpredictable and charismatic, people expect it.
Rule #3 – Know your color palate.
Maybe before you actually buy your next fedora you need to take a look at your entire wardrobe and figure out where all of your clothes lie on the color spectrum and decide what color your fedora should be so it will go with what you already own.
A brown fedora goes well with earth tones - browns, reds, golds, dark/desaturated shades of green.
A gray fedora goes well with metal tones such as blacks, whites, gray, and blues.
Ask yourself; “Will your first or next fedora actually go well with clothes you already own?” then shop for a fedora accordingly.
Rule #4 – Regardless of what anyone else says, a fedora goes with almost any other article of clothes.
September 28th, 2016 – the day after I submitted the first draft of this article I saw an Asian man who was wearing a karategi (also known as a karate uniform…) in the parking lot of the JFK memorial library just outside of the city of Boston. Anyone who says you can only wear a fedora with certain things need to go ahead and tell him that. I’ll wait here with a camera so I can capture the video of you getting your ass kicked by him.
I wear fedoras with everything and next to nothing. Dress shirts, casual shirts, tank-tops, turtlenecks, polo's and Hawaiian shirts, and I often go with no shirt and a pair of khaki shorts.
During my young, experimental phase in high school in Southern Vermont I would wear the school's Phys Ed costume of a white and purple t-shirt, maybe a hooded sweatshirt, and an old brown fedora. Why? Because I like the way I looked and the coach was a total dink and it annoyed the hell out of him. The people who counted said I looked great.
A fedora goes with everything, (and nothing) and whenever you're in doubt, experiment.
Rule #5 – There’s nothing wrong with building a new wardrobe around your fedoras and developing your vintage style…
In reference to Rule #3, if you see that your current wardrobe doesn’t suit your fedora then there is absolutely nothing wrong with buying a new fedora and saying ‘you know what, I want to start dressing better.’
There is nothing wrong with going overboard in buying new clothes to match your fedora with the understanding that other things might change for the better, like enjoying a classic movie. For whatever reason, a fedora opens certain interest for folks. Don’t let that deter you from enjoying a fedora and let it all just happen. Go with it.
Rule #6 – The Holifield Effect. [If you have a suit, wear a suit!]
Let me borrow this from another article I wrote; "Incognito Jones…" which will also be published here on The Fedora Chronicles and Indy Mag shortly...
This is what I call “The Holifield Effect,” when a fellow fan puts a screen accurate fedora on with a suit and becomes his own person or character of his own. When you put on your fedora and suit on, you are your own hero of your own story and you’re not doing “Indy Cosplay.” You are tapping into a style aesthetic that was ubiquitous decades ago.
Some of you reading this might believe that a suit is out of your price range, but if you're like me and you wear a fedora daily you really can't afford not to have a couple of good suits for countless occasions. It’s also amazing how people treat you differently when you dress professionally, but that’s another topic.
If you ever feel that you need to wear something with your fedora to make you feel less self-conscience and make your outfit look less like a costume, then, by all means, wear a contemporary dress shirt and tie, or with a vest.
Rule #7 – Learn How To Take Care of Your Fedora.
You can do miracles with a white cloth and some naphtha. I saved a fedora that I thought was ruined because it was covered in tree sap; with a wad of cheesecloth and Dry Cleaning fluid, it looked brand new after a half hour.
On top of that, you can do daily or weekly care to your fedoras with a hat brush to remove dust and dirt that is bound to accumulate. There’s going to come a time though that you might want to get a little deeper cleaning, do your own reblocking with a steamer and a wooden block carved to your own specifications. Learn how to do it right by asking people questions and watching tutorials on-line.
As aside - I only use cleaning fluid that says "Naphtha" on the bottle or can. I never use "Dry Cleaning fluid" unless it also says "Made with 100% naphtha!" Test your cleaning fluid on a part of your fedora that nobody else will see, like under the crown and behind the liner.
If you have an old fedora, practice on that first.
Also, consider this “Rule #7 Part 2:” Don’t put on someone else’s fedora on without asking, and don’t let someone else wear your fedora or take it from you. A fedora is just as personal as other articles of clothes like underwear. You would never ask another dude if you can try on his boxers, would you?
Rule #7 Part 3: The Winter Rules: Humidifiers and Leather Lotion.
I can't stress this enough - get a small humidifier for the room you keep your fedoras since the air in your home will get drier.
Add some leather lotion to the sweat band on either side you're most comfortible with, avoiding where there might be any writting or printing you want to preserve.
Rule #8 – Learn How to actually put a fedora on and take it off.
Most people will tell you to NEVER take a fedora on and never put it on by squeezing the pinch in the front of the crown because you’ll eventually cause such a crease and wear a hole in the actual material and destroy the fedora.
The proper way to handle a fedora is by the brim, and in most cases specifically the very edge of the brim. Not only will this preserve the shape of the crown but it will help to make the brim a bit floppy.
Rule #9 – Learn WHEN to actually put a fedora on and take it off. (The Two Hands Rule…)
Why is this also called “The Two Hand Rule?” When you need both hands to do something, keep it on!
There are some polite rules that should be followed and if you’re a human being living in this day and age you should just know… don’t wear a fedora in a church or house of worship, don’t wear them in restaurants, don’t wear your fedora during the national anthem or Pledge Allegiance to The Flag.
If you have to keep it off in a public place, hold your fedora on your side or learn to balance it on your knee under the table or next to you sitting on your belonging like luggage or bags.
Like anything else, there are exceptions to the rules. If you go to a restaurant like "Texas Roadhouse" or any other theme or unique style restaurant where everyone else is wearing western or cowboy hats, keep your fedora on, too. When in doubt, follow the example of other people in the room and follow the lead of other people around you. Read the situation, pay attention to what’s going on.
Rule #10 - It takes a special person to wear a fedora, so be that special person. Get the right attitude!
Once again I'm going to plagiarize myself with this nugget from my "Incognito Jones" article.
The most important aspect of this is your attitude. You can wear anything you like so long as you’re not self-conscious. If you’re self-conscious and wondering, “is everyone looking at me funny,” then you won’t be able to pull it off. Because, why yes – everyone is looking at you because you’re calling attention to yourself.
If you act as if you’re wearing the right thing, at the right time, at the right place you’ll be golden. Act as if you’re supposed to be wearing a fedora with whatever your wearing and everyone will not only think it’s practically normal, but it’s pretty awesome and they’ll want to wear one of their own, too.
The best way to live your life to your greatest potential is to wear your fedora and other items from the Indy-Wear set; if you know this like I do then there is nothing to it. I have said this countless times on numerous forums and my own website, there’s only one of you and you only have one life, it’s up to you to live it to the fullest.
Rule Zero: There Are No Real Rules.
There are so many bullshit artists that write the “Style Guide To Wearing A Fedora.” There are people who are going to tell you how to dress with a fedora, what not to wear with a fedora, when to take it on and when to take if off. There are jerks out there who will tell you what kind of person you need to be when you wear a fedora…
… and it’s all bullshit. All of it, including this one.
The key to wearing a fedora is to just wear a good one, whenever and whenever you want.