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Either someone loves you very much and bought you a Baron California Hat, or you know how wonderful you are, and just wanted to reward and spoil yourself with a Baron California Hat! Either way, now that you have this treasure… the instructions for use are pretty easy: "Put on head, and enjoy!" Or, "Put on display and enjoy!" But there are some DO’S and DON’TS for the “Care and Feeding” of our special creations. We spend an enormous amount of time on each hat, so it’s very bittersweet when our “children” go off into the real world after spending so much time to raise them right! Therefore, we respectively ask that you heed our simplest steps to make sure your hats are as well cared for by you at home, as we cared for them here at our Studio!
Many of our specialty hats (like the hand-brushed-leather, or ones with rare fabrics or hand-weaves), will arrive with even more specific detailed “care and feeding” instructions, but these general rules are good to keep in mine no matter what kind of hat you have!
Of course all our hats are “Peterbuilt” (or should we say “Baronbuilt”) to last for generations (you can imagine the kind of wear-tear-and-abuse a hat takes on a Motion Picture set… especially an “Action-Adventure" Movie, which we seem to specialize in... so we must make them extra strong to last through almost anything!). Therefore all our hats are made of the highest caliber materials available. And we have a special Quality Control Department right here in our Studio in insure that all our of our hats are all hand-selected, inspected, respected… and if they don’t step up to our almost impossible requirements… rejected!
So, like all great things… just as your hat will give you years of enjoyment… you must show it some “respect” back! By following these simple rules, your hat will be around for your grandchildren and their grandchildren to enjoy! Now, onward to some simple rules:
Do not pick up your hat by "pinching" the crown, either at the top or front. Pinching will flex the felt, and eventually cause a hole or crack to develop in the material. It is best to pick up the hat either by the front and back of the brim, or by placing your thumbs inside the leather sweatband at the sides with your fingers just touching the outside of the brim, as shown below.
If you’re not going to be wearing your hat everyday, it’s very important that you keep it from dirt and dust. That means to keep it covered in a LOOSELY WRAPPED plastic bag… (“Hefty Bags” are great, but don’t buy the ones that come with a “fresh scent” insert)… and sealed with a “tie”. Better are those zipper “sweater” bags you can buy virtually anywhere. The best storage of all is to store them in a professional hat box. NEVER put your stored hat under anything in the closet. Even with a sturdy hatbox, it’s a good practice to put the hats on TOP of the “pile”, or on the floor, with nothing on top of it. Whatever you store your hat in... remember MOTHS LOVE HATS. I promise you... if you don't put in some kind of moth protection, you WILL discover when you take it out, that it resembles more like something SpongeBob SquarePants would wear! Or, it will make a great spaghetti strainer! So "moth balls" are imperative to hat care and long life.
There are two different types of moth balls used to combat moths. In one type, the main ingredient is naphthalene, and in the other it is paradichlorobenzene. Both chemicals kill moths and moth larvae with the fumes.
For either of these chemicals to be effective, they need to be placed with the hat in a sealed container so the fumes can build up and kill the moths. However, NEVER let the balls or the cake touch your hat. Wrap the moth balls or cake in cheese cloth and keep them as far away from the hat as well as possible. Some moth ball products come with a plastic hanging container or "box". These are excellent to use since they contain the moth balls in one place... however they all have large openings to allow the "gases" to escape and do their work... and therefore the containers can work themselves up next to your hat. So wrap the containers in cheese cloth or any extremely porous material as well. It is always a good idea to loosely wrap your hat with tissue paper inside whatever storage container you are using.
A less toxic and smelly alternative is cedar blocks, shavings or oil. The blocks are expensive, but as a little money-saving tip: try buying the cedar shavings that are used for hamster bedding (which can be bought at any pet store). They are very inexpensive and work just as well as the expensive moth-killing cedar!. Again, the container needs to be tightly closed in order for the cedar scent to have a real effect on moths. If using oil, remember to follow the directions carefully, and obviously keep the oil away from the hat, as you would the moth balls.
All our hats are "satisfaction guaranteed". We will re-work your hat until you are completely satisfied with the fit. But sometimes, you can help out your hat with a few simple "magic tricks" of your own. One of the most common problems we hear about is what we call the "hair-cut syndrome". Many of you size your hats with a big mop of hair, and the hat fits just grand... but when your wife, or mother, or boss tells you to get that hair cut... suddenly your hat seems a bit "roomy". And for women, a simple change in conditioning or shampoo, or a new "do" also gives you a hat that suddenly seems to have a mind of its own. Obviously you don't want to come into the shop or ship us your hat for readjustment, since in time, your hair will grow back, or the weather will change, and "presto", you have your old hat back as it was! So what can you do to keep that hat snug on your head while your hair has a personality change? We have at the shop some somewhat expensive "secrets" for that, in treating the hatband, but frankly we'd rather see you spend that money on another hat... or at least a better hair-cut! So here are a few economical secrets just for our very special Baron Hat customers!:
One of the best remedies for the "loose hat syndrome", is simply to place a "line" of cotton underneath the sweatband, making sure you place a consistent layer all around the hat. You can use any number of cotton "strips" from your medicine cabinet,. but if you really want to save a little money, you can do what we do, and use that cotton that comes out of vitamin and medicine bottles. It's a bit softer and more "pliable" than the professional medical version. It's easy to remove and to adjust, and depending on how much you may use it, can remain in the sweatband for years. However, it does tend to come apart after a lot of wear, especially under "heated" circumstances, and is best used as a temporary solution
Yes, that's right, the same material you use around your windows and doors! The self-sticking foam variety is best. We use this for more permanent applications. Once you've put this all around, underneath your sweatband, it will last for years, yet can be easily removed if you find your head, or hair swelling! And unlike the cotton, it won't come apart or flake inside your hat. Actually many high-end haberdashers use this to re-size hats, without actually re-blocking or re-shaping and then charge you a fortune, when in fact they've spend about one minute putting two cents of stripping under your sweatband.
We understand. No matter how careful we are… we all do mess up our hats now and then. You know what I mean. You put a hat up on your exercise bike (that you haven’t actually exercised on in years, and now has become your best clothes rack!), or on the head of that life-size teddy bear you bought for your daughter (so long ago that even her children are too old for it!)… and well, the hat sits there, and it gets dirty! What to do?
NEVER use water on the hat. Water+Dirt=A total mess that’s very hard to get out! A dry brushing then? Yes… but NOT like they show the butler do in the movies. A “whisk” brush can only damage the fur surface… I mean, try whisking your face and tell me how good you look! Use a soft bristle brush, especially one that specifically is made for hats. Remember that all fur has what we call a “nap”, which is very much like the grain on wood. By blowing on the hat, and looking closely you can see which way the “nap” goes. Though you may think brushing against the nap will get the dirt out….DON’T DO IT! Always brush WITH the nap (in the direction its going)! For straw hats, you CAN use an ordinary whisk broom. But again, use common sense when brushing it, so as not to damage the weave. If a straw hat gets wet, first wipe it immediately with a clean dry cloth, and again, never set a straw hat near any heating element to dry it. And do NOT set it (or any hat) in the sun to dry! It’s not a swimsuit! DRY IT NATURALLY INDOORS AWAY FROM DIRECT SUNLIGHT!
NEVER get your hat dry cleaned, or SHUDDER TO THINK… NEVER, EVER put it in the washing machine!! (Don’t laugh… we’ve had “critically ill” hats come to our "hat hospital" here at our Studio after their owners ran it through not only the washing machine… but the dryer as well!)
If the hat really has been “through the wars”, for example, you suddenly had this urge to jump into an amateur mud wrestling competition with it on… take the hat to a professional “Hatter”, or better yet, send it to us. For a nominal fee and shipping charges, we can clean and reblock it, and make it look even BETTER than new! For more information about sending your hat to our "hat hospital", e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
There are many fabric and stain removing solutions sold in stores. Let me give you just one rule on that subject: "USE A STORE, INTERNET OR INFOMERCIAL BOUGHT CLEANING SOLUTION ON YOUR HAT -- GO TO JAIL!" Or at least that should be the law. Every hat is different, and their fabrics very sensitive… these solutions are for ten year old rugs that “Fluffy” decided to make into her own litter box, or table cloths with mustard stains. They are NOT for top quality hat materials! I mean, if you needed surgery, would you go buy a “cut-yourself-open-at-home” kit??! Again, if you have a Baron California Hat… you have a living breathing treasure… so treat it like you would your own flesh and blood!
If a hat gets rain-soaked, smooth out the “unnatural" creases and dents that are caused by the water. Make it as even and round as possible, and if the brim is turned down, turn it up again. Then, turn out the sweatband (usually made of leather), so that it makes a round-edged “foot” under the crown. This will act as a protective “stand” to set your hat down as it dries. Leave it there until it dries out naturally. Do NOT use artificial heat, like setting it on a radiator, or heater, and NEVER use a hair dryer on it!
Remember what your mother told you about making a face, and it will get stuck that way? Well, use the same principal for a wet hat. Put it in an unnatural position, or up against something, and you will get a very ugly “face”! Make sure there’s plenty of room around the hat. Pressure of any sort on a wet hat will leave a mark when the hat dries. Don't jam the brim up against something or it will buckle while drying and will stay that way.
By the way, as a good rule of thumb, turning out the sweatband after an especially hot day (read: you got a lot of sweat on your sweatband) preserves the life of a hat. With the sweatband turned out, perspiration, hair spray, and other chemical things we put on our head evaporate and dry out, instead of being transferred to the hat. This also applies to straw hats.
To those men and women who are using hair regrowth chemicals, (Rogaine, or any of the generics): please, DO NOT put on your hat while you have the treatment on your scalp! Though the Minoxidil may work miracles in bringing back some much needed hair… it’s a nightmare on hat fabrics! Though dirt, sweat, and many other stain causing elements can be removed from most hats… Minoxidil stains can not. So please make sure you thoroughly wash your hair after your treatments before wearing your special Baron hat!
Another good rule of thumb. Never rest a hat on its brim for any length of time, particularly a light-weight fabric hat, and particularly if the hat is wet. Weight on the hat will cause the brim to flatten out. Make it a habit (especially with “cowboy hat” styles!), to place your hat on a wall rack, or if on a table or smooth surface, place it CROWN DOWN, with the brim sticking up. This is also very true of our silk top hats!
Remember that dogs, cats, other assorted pets, and especially small children see hats as food, toys or "the enemy". So, use common sense and keep your treasured Baron Hats off the floor, and out of reach of hungry animals and precocious children!
If you still have specific questions on the care and feeding of your hat or for information about shipping your hat back to our Studio for a good cleaning, maintenance, re-blocking, psychotherapy, or emergency “surgery”, e-mail us at email@example.com.