Thursday, April 11, 2013

My Ginormo-Noggin and Me: Finding Hats for Plus-Sized Heads

Sometimes, I feel like this.
(Chiho Saito concept art
for Revolutionary Girl Utena
found at Empty Movement)
I have a confession to make: I have a large head.

I do. I legitimately have a large head. My head circumference is 24", which comes to somewhere between US hat size 7-3/4 and 7-5/8 depending on who you ask. Wikipedia tells me that one US study estimated the average female head circumference in the United States at 53 cm (20.8661 inches). My head is a little over three inches bigger than that.

This is something that a lot of other people don't quite understand, unfortunately, because "my head is too big" is not a common complaint women make about their bodies. It's not a problem for which people generally make lists of advice, and it's not a problem that most people talk about because it's simply not common.

It also makes fashion difficult.

This causes some people to eschew hats entirely, except for the moments when sub-zero temperatures make them absolutely necessary. But cute hats? Hats as accessories that are strictly aesthetic? They suddenly seem completely out of reach.

They aren't.

Over the years, I've figured out the ways that I like to avoid the style problems associated with my head size.  This is a list for other ladies with bigger noggins, so I'm sorry if you don't fit into this category and the following advice is rendered useless. This is by no means a complete list of the options available to those of us with larger heads, but it's my favorite options.

Miniature hats, pillbox hats, and fascinators

Yeah, I know some people think they're tacky and, as such, they're not for everyone, but they can be really nice if styled well. Yes, even miniature top hats. One of my favorite miniature hats is actually a miniature straw boater/skimmer, worn tilted. It's got seriously adorable vintage flair. And, best of all, you don't have to worry about them fitting around your noggin because they're not meant to. Whether you find a miniature tilt hat at an antique store or make your own pillbox hat, these can be a great option for when your head just doesn't fit into most hats.

Mens' hats

If you've got a plus-sized noggin, you're much more likely to find mens' hats that fit than you are hats made for women. Yes, they'll be plain, but you can always spruce them up with ribbon, lace, flowers, feathers, or any other craziness you feel like adding. You're unlikely to find some of the girlier styles like cloche hats, so go for bowlers/derbies, berets, and boaters. Top hats are a little harder to find, but really fun if you're going for a more steampunk-inspired look. If you're worried about these being too boring, don't be; if you're willing to make an investment, you can even find real oddball options like a derby in baby pink.

Hat stretchers

This won't work with all hats, but there's usually a bit of give to felt hats. Not a lot, so if you're a good bit over the max measurements for the hat then this method is unlikely to work. But if the hat's just a hair too small, a hat stretcher might be just what you need.

Make your own hats or commission someone else to make you a hat

I might have mentioned before... last month... that I'm enthusiastic about DIY. Berets are definitely the easiest type of hat to make, being that they are composed of circles, but other types of hats can be made, too. This does take practice, but you'll get the hang of it eventually. Or, if you don't have faith in your DIY skills, commission someone else to make a hat for you. Whether that's someone on Etsy or elsewhere on the web or a local artisan, there are people out there who can make you beautiful things.

Try to maintain your sense of humor

This is the hardest tip, but easily the most important. Learn to laugh at yourself. Try on a hat that really doesn't fit? Look in the mirror and have a good laugh. Just because the hat is too big doesn't mean trying it on was a complete waste of time. Have fun. You might not find a hat that fits for a while. It happens.

The biggest thing I can say is that you should enjoy yourself and own your head. It's one of the few things that we cannot change about ourselves, so why worry too much about it. Throw some stuff on your noggin and have fun.

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