How To Measure Your Panama Hat - Perfect Custom Fit Guaranteed

Perfect Custom Fit - Guaranteed

Welcome to the world’s only website specializing in Montecristi Panama hats. This page is all about hat sizes and how to measure your head. Other popular pages are Men’s Styles, Women’s Styles, Photo Tour, and many, many more.

Executive Summary Here’s how you and I will make sure
your hat fits perfectly.

1. Forget about hat sizes.
I will custom size your hat.

2. Measure your head to the nearest 18 inch. Instructions

3. Place your order.

4. I will use your measurement to send several sweatbands of different sizes for you to try on.

5. Choose your perfect fit from the size bands you try on, and that is the size I will make your hat.

6. If your measurement was off by more than 14 inch in either direction and the bands are all too big or too small, I will send more bands ($15 postage). While waiting, you can be happy you don’t own a custom fitted hat that doesn’t fit.

It’s a good system. It works. Help me get your size right.

1. Forget About Hat Sizes

Hat Size Tags

Hat sizes? Do not even think about hat sizes. Seriously. Hat sizes just confuse everything. Hat makers and sellers do not agree what size head a “size 7½” will fit.

I visited 12 different hat websites. One site tells us a size 7½ is 23¾ inches. Another thinks it’s 2358 inches. Others say it is 23½ inches. I expect if I look at enough websites, I’ll find some that say it’s 2338 inches.

See the problem? If you look in your hat with a tag that says 7½ and tell me that’s your size, then I still don’t know what size your head is. Could be anything from 2338 inches to 23¾ inches. That’s a big difference. A huge difference in terms of a custom fit.

If you want your hat to be the perfect size, forget about hat sizes. Think about head size. Your head size. Heads don’t always come in hat sizes. About one-third do, two thirds do not.

2. Measure Your Head

Measure your hat size Free hat size tape measure

Yes, you really have to measure your head.

It’s your hat. If you want it to fit right, then you really do have to measure your head. It’s the best way. Don’t guess. That always ends up taking longer and costing more.

If you don’t have a tape measure, email your mailing address to and I will mail you a hat tape measure and instructions. Regular mail. It is a physical object. It cannot be emailed.

If you have, or can borrow, a regular sewing tape measure, that will work fine. Fiberglass. Made in China. Some are accurate.

Tips to save you time:

Don’t try to measure the inside of a hat — that never works. It’s much easier to measure your head.

Don’t put a length of string or yarn around your head then measure it on a wood yardstick. String and yarn stretch, so the measurement is unlikely to be accurate. Wire might work.

You can look at the size tag in a hat you own that fits well, then use the Hat Size Chart below to convert the size on the tag to a measurement in inches.

Hat Size Chart
Click on Chart for Larger Image

Please take the time to measure your head and to get it right. Especially if you're in a hurry. Yeah, yeah, I know you don't want to bother. But for a perfect fit and eternal hat happiness, you need to start with a reasonably good measurement. Not a reasonably good guess.


Measure your hat size Measure your hat size
  1. 1. To measure your head for a hat, get a tape measure and put it around your head.
  2. 2. Place it where you want your hat to rest.
  3. 3. If you have a hat that fits well, put it on. Look and feel where it rests. Measure in that same spot. For most people, that just above the center of the forehead in front, and on the upper side of the “lump” in back.
  4. 4. The tape should be above the tops of your ears on both sides. Most people like their hats to rest about half an inch above the ears. Some prefer higher. Lower is likely to be a problem later. Be sure to measure in the place where you want your hat to rest. Check to make sure the tape is level all around. Pull the tape snug and see if it feels right. If not, try a little higher and a little lower until it feels just right.
  5. 5. Once you’ve found your spot, measure to the nearest one-eighth inch, or nearest millimeter if using a metric tape measure. You want it snug. If you measure three times, you will get five different answers. That’s normal. Do your best. Pay attention but don’t let it make you crazy.
  6. 6. When you’ve decided on a measurement to the nearest one-eighth inch, write it down before you forget. Remember — no hat sizes, just a measurement. Use that measurement when you place your order online or by phone.

What is the “correct” hat fit? Whatever feels right to you. There is no “correct” hat size for you. It is entirely a matter of personal preference. My own personal hats are not all the same size. A tighter-fitting hat stays on better when the trade winds gust. A looser-fitting hat is more comfortable. Some people like ’em high and tight, others lower and looser. It’s totally personal, totally up to you.

3. Order Your Hat

You can order your hat at any time, even if you do not yet know your size. Many clients order their hats and request a tape measure at the same time. I like that. I know you’re serious. Just choose your style, click ORDER NOW, and when you are asked to select a size/measurement, select NO IDEA. I will send a free tape measure to your shipping address.

If you have your own tape measure and have followed the suggestions above, then you are ready. Just choose your style, click ORDER NOW, and when you are asked to select a size/measurement, select the measurement you wrote down when you measured your head. Or the measurement you came up with when you used the Hat Size Chart.

Once I have your measurement, the real fun begins. Now we come to my super-special, invented-by-me, perfect-custom-fit hat sizing system. I make custom fitted hats, custom fitted Montecristi Panama hats. I have clients in 66 countries all around the world who have received a custom fitting right in their homes or offices. Sometimes yachts or planes. Now it’s your turn.

4. My Special Custom Hat Sizing System

Finest leather sweatbands

Finest leather sweatbands

Five Leather Sweatbands, each a slightly different size

Five leather bands, each a slightly different size

Leather size bands, shipping box, instructions

Leather size bands, shipping box, instructions

Cotton Twill Sweatbands, Black is standard.

Cotton Twill Sweatbands
Black is standard.

When you order your hat, you will choose which type of sweatband you prefer. Highest quality sheepskin roan leather or cotton twill.

If you include a measurement with your order, I will send you five sweatbands of whatever type you choose. One will be the measurement you enter with your order. You will also receive a sweatband 18 inch larger, a sweatband 18 inch smaller, a sweatband 14 inch larger, and a sweatband 14 inch smaller. You can try on all five bands and choose your perfect fit. My advice is to choose a snug fit, not an “easy” fit.

Send me an email to let me know which size you chose, and I can begin to block your hat.

If the largest band is too small, or the smallest too large, then you are probably a physician. They seem to have the most difficulty measuring their heads and the highest margin of error. Odd. Just let me know and I will send more bands.

For US orders, a pre-printed, postage-paid return label is included with the bands. Just put the bands back into the same box, attach the label, and send them back. It is not possible for me to pre-pay postage for other countries. But you should be able to re-use the same box to return the size test bands.

If you request a hat size tape measure when you place your order, then when you have a good measurement, email or call to let me know what you came up with. I will send you pre-sized sweatbands as described above.

I know you might be tempted just to guess at a measurement and get on with it, without going through the various steps. Don’t do that. It’s your hat. You want it to fit perfectly, yes? You need to participate.

Every Montecristi Panama hat is custom blocked and custom sized. I don’t just reach over and take a hat off a shelf and ship it to you. I actually block, style, and size your hat for you.

I know you are impatient to have your hat. I consider that a compliment. I would be the same way. But imagine your disappointment after you’ve waited for your to-die-for, hand-blocked, custom-sized, Montecristi Panama hat to arrive and you open the box, put on your new hat, and discover that the size you gave me is actually Andre the Giant’s size, not yours. We start over. I’ve had clients get it wrong by more than an inch (physicians). That’s just not possible if you follow my advice and keep your head in the game, so to speak.

Remember—it’s all about you, it’s your hat. Be totally self-centered: get it right.

Your hat is very personal. Putting it on should feel like coming home. I don’t want you wishing it was just a little bigger or smaller every time you put it on. I much prefer to hear “This is the first hat I’ve ever had that really fits right.” That’s the plan.

We can absolutely get this exactly right, even long distance, but I need your help. Let’s do it.

Well, that’s about the size of it.

The Panama Hat Company of the Pacific dba Brent Black Panama Hats 1314 Center Dr., Suite B-448 Medford, OR 97501 There is no retail store at this address. (more) Toll Free: (888) 658-6500 Phone: (541) 201-3113

Text and photos © 1988-2022, B. Brent Black. All rights reserved.

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