Many may not realize this but the “DAPS hat” wasn’t something that was originally a thing when I started DAPS MAGIC in 2004. That came along a year or two later at the Sacramento Jazz Festival. While visiting there with a friend my ears were getting sunburned. So it was decided that it would be a great idea to get fun hats. These would be good memories and also functional. We entered a hat store in Old Sacramento. My friend found a hat almost immediately. I, on the other hand, found that because my head isn’t as large it was hard to find a hat that fits properly. After he had paid and we were about to leave, I found a hat sitting by the exit that literally was the only hat that would fit on my head. What started as a very functional purchase, ended up being something that has become synonymous with DAPS.
The DAPS Hat
So what is the “DAPS hat?” The simple answer is that it is a trilby. What is a trilby you ask? It’s similar to a fedora (that Indiana Jones wears) but with a thinner brim. This brim is generally turned up in the back and pulled down in the front. In Britain, it was once called the “brown trilby” and was frequently worn to horse races.
Traditionally it was made of rabbit hair felt. Now, it is made of other materials including tweed, straw, wool, and wool/nylon blends. Through the years, Trilbys have been worn by Frank Sinatra and also Peter Sellers as Inspector Clouseau in the Pink Panther movies.
Most frequently I wear a Stetson Trilby. I generally have one that is brown, one that is black or grey, and then another one that is a lighter color for trips to Florida or really warm days. During the Florida trips, I’ve been known to switch to a Panama hat as well. These are a bit lighter, have a larger brim for more shade, and can allow air through more on a hot and humid day. When visiting Haiti I’ve also used a Fedora. My favorite one is technically an “outback fedora.” They are a bit tougher than the Panama hat so can handle everything that is thrown at me.
The Right Fit
Having a hat fit in the right way is just as important as picking the right hat. When I wear my Trilby to Disneyland I want it to be comfortable enough that I can wear it all day comfortably and tight enough that a gust of wind won’t blow it anywhere. To get this balance, it is important to know your head size. To find out what size of hat you need, here is what you can do:
- Wrap a piece of string around your head about 1/8 inch above your ears. Have the string be comfortably tight around your head. It should be snug but also not leave a mark. Hold the end of the string in one hand and then have the loose end of the string in the other.
- Mark on the loose end of the string where it meets the end of the string when comfortably wrapped around your head.
- Measure the length of the string is from the end to the mark on the loose end of the string.
- Round up to the nearest size of hat that you would like to purchase. Also, use this number to fit yourself in the S/M/L/XL sizes.
When you get the right sized hat with the right style, you’ll wear it confidently and comfortably. It will also look really good! Don’t get a hat that is hanging over your ears or pushing your ears out. You also don’t want one that is too tight. That will give you a headache! The fit should always be comfortable but snug.
Final Tips and Thoughts
Picking and wearing a Trilby has been one of the happiest accidents I’ve made in my life. I find Trilbys to be ridiculously comfortable. They also go well with bow ties, another accessory I’ve come to love. If you are interested in purchasing a Trilby, or DAPS hat, I would encourage you to remember and do the following.
- Try multiple Trilbys on.
- This will allow you to feel what is comfortable on your head.
- It will also allow you to decide what looks good for you look and style.
- Once you know what you like and are comfortable in, you can either purchase a Trilby in a store or online. I have had good luck in hat stores, malls, and also online. Generally online has meant Amazon for me. They have a great collection!
- Trilbys are incredibly versatile.
- They can be worn when dressing up or when going casual.
- Match the hat generally with the dominant color you are wearing. If I’m wearing a brown suit/pants, I generally go with a brown Trilby. If I’m wearing black or grey, I tend to go with a matching Trilby.
- Trilbys arent invincible.
- Generally, if they get too wet (aka rain), they don’t hold their shape.
- While they aren’t delicate, they shouldn’t be crushed either as that can ruin their shape as well.
- Trilbys don’t last forever.
- You will discover that over time Trilbys will fade in the sun.
- Sweat will eventually leave a band around the inside of the brim.
- When the hat fades or gets the sweat ring, it’s time to get a new hat.
- Is the Trilby for you?
- Not all hats have the same look or fit on people. See if it looks good on you.
- Sometimes certain style hats just don’t look good on certain people, and that’s ok! (although I think a Trilby looks good on ANYONE)
- Different Trilbys look and fit differently. If one doesn’t work, keep on trying!
- If you like it, wear it!
Discovering the Trilby was a gold mine for me over a decade ago. Since then it has become a regular part of my style. I love it because it is comfortable. I also like how it looks on me. While not everyone may like this look or style, I do! And really, isn’t that what matters? I hope this guide has been helpful for those who want to wear a Trilby. If you have more questions, I’d be more than happy to try and answer them. Just leave me a comment with your questions down below!