How to Keep Your Hat on Your Head

I wear hats everyday and there’s one thing I gotta  be sure of – that my hat stays on my head. Here are my tips on how to keep your hat on your head instead of flying off and floating down the street whenever it’s windy outside. (For more about my hat collection, see this page)

If your hat fits well, before you leave your home, give it a tug so it’s snug. A few months ago I hadn’t given my hat that little tug so it blew off my head right into traffic. Yep. Luckily the cars weren’t moving very fast but I couldn’t get to the hat before a car rolled over it. I was able to grab it before another car rolled over it (or I got hit by a car!). But I never want to do that again. The hat survived with just a gray smudge on one side.

One easy way to keep your hat on your head is to attach a piece of elastic cord to the back of the hat. I got this idea from a black vintage hat of mine. This great hat (I love the fun and fluffy ostrich feather on the side) came with the elastic already on it. If my hair is in a ponytail, I just slip the elastic below the ponytail and the hat stays in place. I can also just pull my unbound hair through the elastic and it’ll stay in place because my hair is on top of the elastic.

Elastic cord inside

I’ve added black  elastic cord to add to two of my hats – a very lightweight straw hat trimmed with brown ribbon (pictured in “Shopping for Hats“) and a red vintage wool hat, which also could be secured with a hatpin. The straw hat only weighed a few ounces – a light breeze would easily blow it off.

Most hats have a piece of grosgrain ribbon along the inside brim and the ribbon is the perfect place for you to poke two small  holes – one on each side – where you’ll place the elastic.

The elastic goes in place a little bit behind the ears. To figure out the the correct length of elastic, hold one end of the elastic behind one ear near the inside grosgrain ribbon, put it under your hair and then hold it near the opposite ear. Then cut the elastic about an inch past your finger.

The elastic I inserted in my straw hat

For my straw hat, I used about 13 inches of elastic and the red hat 17 inches. The length will vary according to how high or low the hat sits on your head.

I used black elastic because I have black hair (well, it’s mostly black but rather salt-and-pepper in the front – but hey, I’ve had silver in my hair since junior high). Use a color that blends in with your hair.

After you cut the elastic, thread it through the holes and tie a knot in the elastic to hold it in place. You can add a piece of wire to the knot to further hold it in place – like I did for the straw hat. I think this snippet of wire was something that the price tag was attached to. I recycled it by cutting it in half and adding it to the elastic (how’s that for reuse!).

[Update: You can also buy 12-inch hat elastics – a piece of cord elastic with a small metal barbs on the ends – at millinery supply houses, such as Judith M, which sells them in white, tan and black or Lacis retail or online store (search “hat elastic) in Berkeley.]

Now you’re all set to wear your hat on a windy day!

Elastic cord inserted into my red vintage hat

Author: Chuleenan

Chuleenan sews, collects hats and shoes, and is a fabric addict. She is also the organizer for the Bay Area Sewists Meetup group.

8 thoughts on “How to Keep Your Hat on Your Head”

    1. One vintage place in SF where I got a hat pin closed a few years ago. Lacis in Berkeley has some hat pins and hat pin blanks (just the pin, nothing on the end so you can create your own). Search hat pin on their catalog – The retail store is open by appointment only. All Things Vintage in Oakland likely has hat pins as they have plenty of vintage hats. You can also find them on Etsy.

  1. Hatpins? I haven’t seen these for years, but that is how my mother and grandmother kept hats on. You needed the kind of hairstyle you could pin into though.

      1. I am an old West reenactor and I attach my hat with a hat pin. But my hair is layered and short on top, so I put a few well-placed bobby pins in my hair and thread the hat pin underneath those.

        1. Excellent tip! I’ve been wondering what to tell people with short hair. Very clever to use bobby pins. I need to do an updated post on this topic. I’ll be sure to include your tip – with credit, of course. 🙂

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