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Hat Sizes Chart: How to Get the Right Fit (Women & Men)

No matter what type of hat you have, you need the right fit. If you've ever attempted to wear a hat that's too big or too small, you know what a hassle it is. A hat size chart can help you choose the right size hat the first time.

A man measuring the diameter of his head.

You may not have given a lot of thought to hat size. You could go your entire life, assuming you have an average size head circumference, and never purchase a fitted hat.

This is particularly true for women’s hats. Nearly all of them are one size fits all. However, I’m here to tell you a secret.

There is nothing like a fitted hat that fits your head properly, regardless of gender. Sure you lose the ponytail loop, but a good hat fits like your favorite pair of jeans. Comfortable yet flattering.

If you’ve never owned a fitted hat or never bothered to learn your hat size, it’s time to upgrade. This is your guide to hat sizing. Stop settling for one size fits all hats, and feel the difference a proper fit makes.

How to Measure Hat Size

To determine your hat size, you’ll need to measure your head circumference. To do this, you’ll need a tape measure. You’ll need the type of tape measure used in sewing, which is flexible.

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Wrap the measuring tape around your head, bringing the ends together right above your eyebrows. This is your head circumference.

If you don’t have a measuring tape, you can use a piece of string or yarn. Wrap the string around your head, marking or holding the string where it meets. Then take a standard measuring tape or ruler and measure the string.

Hat Sizes Chart

Hat size chart

The hat sizing chart generally applies to men’s hats. However, you’ll find one for women as well.

To find your hat size, look for your head circumference measurement. You’ll see the hat size as well as the alpha size, ranging from small (s) to extra large (xl).

While this is a universal hat size chart, measurements can vary based on the hat manufacturer. Once you have your head circumference, you can confirm the right size with the hat size chart on the manufacturer’s website, if ordering online.

Men’s Hat Size Chart

A hat size chart for men.

Small

  • 21 1/8 – 6 3/4
  • 21 1/2 – 6 7/8

Medium (M)

  • 21 7/8 – 7
  • 22 1/4 – 7 1/8

Large (L)

  • 22 5/8 – 7 1/4
  • 23 – 7 3/8

Extra Large (XL)

  • 23 1/2 – 7 1/2
  • 23 7/8 – 7 5/8

Extra Extra Large (XXL)

  • 24 1/4 – 7 3/4
  • 24 5/8 – 7 7/8

Women’s Hat Size Chart

A hat size chart for women.

Small (S)

  • 21 1/8 – 6 3/4
  • 21 1/2 – 6 7/8

Medium (M)

  • 21 7/8 – 7
  • 22 1/4 – 7 1/8

Large (XL)

  • 22 5/8 – 7 1/4
  • 23 – 7 3/8

Extra Large (XL)

  • 23 1/2 – 7 1/2
  • 23 7/8 – 7 5/8

Extra Extra Large (XXL)

  • 24 1/4 – 7 3/4
  • 24 5/8 – 7 7/8

Actual Hat Size

After you have your measurements, buying a hat should be easy, right? Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work that way. Some hat manufacturers use a different size scale.

This means that a 7 1/2 in one brand might be a 7 1/4 in another. To make matters more confusing, hats are not always manufactured true to the size they are supposed to be.

Getting the Right Fit

A young girl with an oversized hat.

Maybe you just picked up a random hat because you liked the way it looked. Maybe you thought you had the right hat, only to find that it didn’t fit correctly.

Some hats only come in one size. Some don’t have half sizes. And of course, the actual hat size varies based on the manufacturer.

Are you stuck with an ill-fitting hat? Is your only option to return the hat for a different size? The good news is there are ways to make a hat smaller or larger, so it will fit your head.

When a Hat is Too Big

You have a hat you love. The only problem is, it’s too big for your head. It’s time to downsize. There are a few ways to accomplish this. You can use hat sizing tape or a piece of an elastic band.

Hat Sizing Tape

Double-sided tape can ruin the sweatband of your hat. Hat sizing tape is designed with adhesive on one side, and foam on the other. If you don’t have hat sizing tape, you should be able to find something similar at your local hardware store. Just be sure it has adhesive on one side and foam on the other.

It’s easiest to cut the hat sizing tape into four strips if it’s not pre-cut. These strips can go in the front, back, and sides of your hat. However, you may not need all four.

First, put the hat on your head. Where is it the biggest? This is where you should start. Apply the tape adhesive side down in this area, keeping the sweatband on the outside of the tape.

Once it’s applied, put the hat back on. Are there areas that are still too big? Apply the tape to this area. Follow these steps until you get the correct fit.

Elastic Band

You can also use an elastic band to tighten your hat. You’ll need a needle, thread, and elastic band. You can pick up a new one, or find one in an old piece of clothing and remove it.

Put the hat on, and pull it tight in the back. This gives you an idea of how much elastic you need.

If you want to ensure you have it right, pin the elastic into the hat and then try it on. Adjust as needed until it provides the right fit. Then, take the piece of elastic and sew it into the back of the hat on one side, then the other. Be sure that your stitches are knotted so they will hold under pressure.

If your hat is still too big, you can fold the elastic over and sew it. This tightens the elastic, which also tightens the hat.

Enlarging a Hat

Is that perfect hat a bit too small? Are you tired of waiting for it to “stretch” or “break in”?

There are two simple ways to stretch a hat and make it larger. You can mist or steam it, or use a hat stretcher.

Misting or Steaming

The basic premise of this method is to get the hat moist and then let it dry at the size you want it to be, which can be accomplished by wearing it while it’s damp.

You can mist it with a spray bottle until it’s damp, but not soaking wet. You can also boil a pot of water, and hold the hat in the steam for 30 seconds. Be careful not to burn your hand using this method. It’s best to do this 2-4 times.

Try to avoid the brim of the hat, because you want it to hold its shape.

If it’s too wet, you can use a hairdryer on a high setting to dry the hat until it’s slightly damp. Then, put it on your head and wear it until it’s completely dry.

Hat Stretcher

You can purchase a hat stretcher as well. These help your hat maintain shape when you aren’t wearing it. They can also stretch your hat. You can use a hat stretcher alone, or use the misting or steaming method, and place it on the stretcher instead of your head.

Hat Size Chart FAQs

What size hat is one size fits most?

Men’s one size fits most hats are usually 21 1/2-23 inches, or medium and large. Women’s are usually 21 1/2-22 1/2.

Do fitted hats stretch out?

Yes. A fitted hat will stretch over time. Wool and cotton can shrink with heat and moisture, but modern hats are designed to prevent this. If your hat is too tight, try the above tips to stretch it. Otherwise, just wearing it will break it in and give you the right fit, if you have the right hat.

What is the average hat size for men?

The average hat size for men is 23 1/4, or 7 1/4. In alpha sizing, it’s large.

What is the average hat size for women?

The average hat size for women is 22 1/2, or 7 1/8. This is medium on a women’s size chart.