Buying your first ever western hat is a great moment. Putting in on your head and wearing it proudly is an even better one. Yet many people make fatal mistakes regarding how to wear and keep their head gear. This guide will fill you in on all the main mistakes to avoid when deciding to put on this most classic of all American clothing.
Pay particular attention to the way you store your new item when you take it off. The crown of the hat is the one which most commonly suffers from wear and tear so you should always leave it crown side down in either a hat box or a flat, clean surface. This means the brim will not flatten. Also do not leave it for long periods in hot rooms or near hot surfaces.
One of the keys to giving your head gear a long life is cleaning it the right way. Use a soft brush in a counter clockwise stroke to brush off dirt. If the hat gets wet do not rub it dry. Instead shake the hat to get rid of the main drops and then allow it to dry itself by turning down the sweatband and leaving it somewhere cool.
Even if it becomes stained, never use a liquid cleaner. Instead brush it down with baby talcum or corn starch. Liquid is always the enemy and will lead to permanent staining. Also don’t abuse the crown. Touch that part of the hat as little as possible and handle the brim at front and back to remove it from and place it upon your head.
There are also very important rituals of etiquette for those true cowboys when it comes to head gear. The first thing to learn is the difference between tipping and removing it for the purposes of politeness. The hat-tip is done when greeting strangers and means barely lifting it above your head by the brim (hard hat) or crown (soft hat). This should always be performed without a cigarette or cigar in your mouth.
Taking off your hat also comes with certain rules and regulations. You should always do a complete remove when saying hello to someone you know or saying goodbye to anyone. The National Anthem must also be observed hatless as should a funeral. If you are talking to somebody for any length of time you should do so with your hat off too. You should also take it off in most buildings, other than a few public places.
A nice western hat is part and parcel of the classic American wardrobe. Take care of it well though. It is an item of clothing which needs plenty of attention.
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