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How to take care of your Hat?


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 hatspoil 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.

mothFor 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.

careIf 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.