Sunday, April 18, 2010

The 'Optimo'-l Summer Hat

The Optimo style straw hat (not to be confused with the Optimo hat works in Chicago) is considered to be a somewhat outdated style hat by many in the mainstream.

Thankfully we're not in the mainstream, here.

The unique look of the open crown with a solitary ridge running down the center of the crown is a conservative (read old fashioned) and therefore a somewhat daring (in this day and age) shape to give a hat. So its name 'Optimo' is well deserved, as I consider it the king of summer straws.

click images to enlarge

Finding a vintage Optimo straw is difficult: while popular back in the day, the fedora-style Panama hat still took first place in the hearts and on the heads of hat wearers. Seeing an Optimo straw on the head of a man meant he was a little bit of a dandy and that the rest of his attire would not disappoint.

And so, I'd never seen let alone handled a vintage Optimo. Until a couple weeks ago.

That's when I bought this beauty from the 1930s:

It's a Stetson, as are so many fine quality hats from that era. The very finely and tightly woven straw was in perfect condition and still flexible.

No stains on the thin bi-colored ribbon and bow. The ventilated sweatband in beautiful condition. Size 7 3/8.

Pristine. Rare. Not my size.

So, I sold it the same day I got it. Truthfully, it sold within 5 minutes of being offered.
And don't ask the price. Let's just say it was fair for both the seller and buyer and that both are very happy with the deal.

But one thing's for sure: if you ever see me scouring the thrift shops and antique malls, I'll still be looking for that King, the Optimo.

In my size.

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