How to fit your Tilley hat (sorta)

My wife bought me a Tilley hat last year while we were at REI.  I read the sizing instructions that come on a small pamphlet inside of the hat many times before choosing the size. My wife said several times that it seemed big. I kept saying that based on the sizing instructions it was correct. After a few weeks I started to get comments and realize that I might be wearing the wrong size. It turns out my dad has been wearing a Tilley hat for over 25 years and was kind of an expert on how to fit these hats, but I’ll get back to this later. In my opinion the sizing instructions describe a very different fit then what the sizing chart specifies. Here are the sizing instructions:

The Tilley Hat fits more comfortably than other hats. It’s designed to be worn low on your head and slightly loose. It should be held on by gravity, not by painful pressure on your forehead! For the proper fit, you should be able to easily insert two fingers, flat, between the middle of your forehead and the front of the Hat. The Hat should be loose enough that you can rotate it to the left and right, and lift it up and down, without friction on your forehead. When it’s windy, use the cord! I think you’ll be pleased with the way it fits and feels – especially on hot, muggy days.

To me these instructions describe much different fit then what the chart specifies. Shown below:

sizeChart

Sizing instructions vs the sizing chart

The sizing instructions says it should, 1. Be held on by gravity, not painful pressure. 2. That you should be able to easily insert two fingers between the middle of your forehead and the front of the Hat. It also says, 3.The Hat should be loose enough that you can rotate it to the left and right, and lift it up and down, without friction on your forehead. Based on these instructions I picked at hat that sat low on my head, I could easily put two fingers between the hat and my forehead (without pulling the hat forward to create space), and one that I could rotate left and right. Basically a bucket type of fit.

When I started to suspect that I purchased the wrong size I called Tilley to ask about the fit. The woman told me to measure my head, then gave me my hat size. When I told her the size I purchased and she laughed, and said something to the effect it was several sizes too big. My head measured 22″, and I had purchased the 7 3/8″ It sat low as described, and matched all of the other characteristics of the sizing instructions. The hat actually became uncomfortable because it would either curl my ears over or they would go under the brim. Neither was comfortable.

Back to my dad. I went to Florida to visit my parents recently and one of the first things they said to me was my hat was too big. My dad let me wear his hat the entire time I was there, it was 7 1/8″, he said it was a much better fit and that my actual fit should be just a bit smaller. He was so right! I won’t mention that he may be the best Tilley hat salesman on the east coast. I noticed several people in his housing area with Tilley hats and he later told me it was because of him.

The way my proper hat size fits is not at all like the sizing instructions. It’s snug!, It’s not strangling my head, but I would call it snug. I have not tested this but, I think if I hung upside down it would not fall off. I can fit two fingers between the front of the hat and my forehead but, I have to pull the hat forward by the brim with a bit of force to create the space. I can rotate the hat left and right on my head but there is friction. Done fast enough I’m sure I could create a fire. The nice thing about wearing the proper size is that it no longer fell over my ears (which caused irritation). And, I could comfortably wear the hat with sunglasses and it did not interfere with the arms of sunglasses.

Below are the images of the hat on Tilley’s website:

LTM6_Image4LTM6_Image7LTM6_Image1LTM6_Image8

In all of the above photos the hat sits above the top of ears which does not coincide with  the sizing instructions. There is one photo below that show a fit more in line with the sizing instructions. In the above photos the hat sits down to about the middle of the forehead.

LTM6_Image10

This photo above seems more like the bucket style fit that the sizing instructions describe. We cannot see her ears, but I suspect it’s over or touching them. The hat sits down to the bottom of her forehead.

I believe there is a great great disparity between what the sizing instructions describe and what the sizing chart specifies. Which happens to be the LTM6.

I know somewhere deep within the Tilley headquarters sits one of my dads old hats on display demonstrating the durably, quality and longevity of this hat and the company behind it.

24 thoughts on “How to fit your Tilley hat (sorta)

  1. Thank you!! This was so helpful. My head is 22″, too. I have 2 Tilley hats here – the 7 1/8 and 7 1/4 and I had no idea which to keep – the 7 1/4 was loose- no friction, but I wondered if it was too loose – when I bent over, it fell off my head, and when I turned my head quickly from side to side, it would slip (it didn’t cover my ears, though). The 7 1/8 fit more snugly – I had to pull it forward to get 2 fingers there, and it did cause some friction sideways (but still moved, only when I tugged it, though – not when I shook my head). So I was at a loss which to keep! Anyway, so I’m going with the 7 1/8″! Thanks again so much.

      1. So, did you end up buying the size 7 matching the 22 inch length or went up a size to 7 1/8? Just curious what your final choice was. Thanks for the info

  2. Thanks for posting this!! I’m in the market to buy a hat as well came across Tilley brand at a local store. They did not have of sizing selections and it truly does feel comfortable to wear it loose…I can now purchase online more confidently.

  3. Last year decided to go for my first Tilly Hat , a T3 . My head 22″ and Don’t suit hats but wanted something for kayaking.Tried all sizes and settled on 7 and 3/8 . It’s quite snug but best fit of all sizes.Then the “Paddlers Hat ” came out and sizing is different (bigger) and sits lower on head tilted slightly back went for size down 71/4.
    So different models may have different sizing .

    1. Hi Mark,
      I am interested in Tilley T3 Wanderer hat and i measured my had 57,5cm. According to the size chart it is 7 and 1/4. My only option is online store and cant try it, it would be helpful if you could gave me some suggestions.

    2. Hello Mark,
      Can you help with Tilley T3 Wanderer hat if there is a way 🙂 . Since my only option is to buy a hat from online store i am not sure about size. I have read some reviews that this hat goes small. I have measured my had 57,5cm and that is 7 and 1/4 according to the size chart. I would like to hear some thoughts from you and other if someone own this hat.
      Thanks in advance.

      1. I also just bought a Wander T3. Based on the measurements, my size should be between 7 & 7 1/8. So I ordered the 7 1/8. When it arrived I experienced the same issue – I cannot put fingers between the band and my forehead without pulling on the brim and it most definitely is not loose. I actually have 2 more hats coming from other sources – Both Airflo. One with the snap brim and the other not. One in a 7 (ordered when I thought a 7 should be OK because I actually prefer to have my hat have some contact on the head, not loose) and the other a 7 1/4, based on the fairly snug fit of the 7 1/8. We will see what the differences are in fit. But I do think the Wanderer fits smaller, based on what I have been seeing from other wearers.

        1. If you can’t fit two finger thats probably good. You should have to pull hard on the brim to make the space for two fingers. Your best bet is to go by the measurements. These hats should fit snug.

  4. Head measures 23”, purchased a 7 3/8 size. Fits snug but not uncomfortable. Can put 2 fingers under the forehead by pulling hat slightly forward. Spins with little friction. I think it’s the right size but curious if it stretches a bit after wearing. Not sure if I should get the next size up.

  5. I just read the first post and then really enjoyed reading your dad’s response. Mark’s response made my day. There is a lot of love in that small reply. In regard to head sizes, I am almost embarrassed to admit that I just ordered a Tilley in an 8+. I wish that I had a smaller head, but we are what we are. Hoping that it fits.

  6. Nice write up. I followed the guide and got a 7 3/8. To tight. 7 1/2. Feels/fits much better. Can push two fingers from the side, and if I lightly pull the brim, I can push two fingers from the front…only a bit of friction. I can nod, move side to side with with only some friction. Do I go larger? Stretch? Or maybe my head is a bit more oval then others-lol? Whatcha thinking? How loose… or as you wrote, some friction is okay? Thanks!

    1. Hi Tom, No, you wouldn’t want to go larger, it sounds like it’s too big on you from your descriptions. If anything, the hats shrink when you wash them. The hat shouldn’t be loose, if you move your head and the hat moves it’s too loose. There should be a good bit of friction and you should have to pull hard to squeeze two fingers between the brim. The smaller one may feel tight, but that’s quite possibly how the hat is supposed to fit. I’d take the measurement and go by their chart if you want the right fit. You can also call Tilly they will talk to you about sizing.

  7. A helpful discussion. I also have had some confusion on fitting Tilley hats. According to Tilley’s sizing instructions I should wear a size 7.5. I have three different style hats and they all fit differently. Two are size 7.5 and fit differently…one is a little to snug for my taste, but the next size up, 7.625, was too loose. The other 7.5 is a comfortable fit. The third hat is a 7.625, which I bought in a Tilley store in Victoria, BC with sales-staff help for the fitting. This hat fits almost the same as one of the 7.5s. Some thoughts on the difficulty in sizing: the manufacture quality control for consistent sizing is not perfect every time; and the instructions for measuring head circumference does not mention just how snugly the tape should be…a snug measurement vs a loose measurement can be difference of at least a quarter of an inch

  8. Interesting discussion, while I am sitting here with my new TH5 hemp hat. I measured just under 57mm, so a 7 1/8. I happened to try a few hats (different model) on at Cabelas before I ordered (or measured) and noticed that a 7 1/4 was the most comfortable. So that is what I ordered.
    It is not loose, I cannot stick fingers in between the band and head, etc etc.
    I’m actually wondering if I shouldn’t have gone up to a 7 3/8 but that would make no sense according to the size chart.
    The hat feels a bit rounder than my head is, and that perhaps creates some pressure points. Something that may improve over time, right?

    1. I think the best way to fit is to measure and choose a size based on their chart. The 7 3/8 would probably end up being too big. Yes, they form to your head over time and fit quite snug.

  9. Thanks for this write up. I was also confused about the size chart and the seemingly contradictory explanation about how the hat should fit. I ordered what I thought was my size based on the size chart and it is a little snug. Not constricting or painful but definitely not in line with the two finger and twist tests explains by Tilley. I was concerned that I had the wrong size and immediately consulted Google, landing me here. I’m more confident that I have the correct size after reading about your experience. Thank you. And for reference, I measure right at 22” and I ordered a size 7.

  10. Thanks for this article. The sizing for Tilley hats seems so chaotic. I tried several olive LTM6 hats at REI before determining that size 7 1/4 fit perfectly. REI don’t carry this in the color I wanted so I ordered the 7 1/4 via Amazon. When it arrived it was too tight and hurt to wear. Same exact hat, same size, different color. I have given up on Tilley.

  11. I just received my new Tilley hat and it fits snugly. I wish I had a 7.5 to compare with the 73/8 I purchased. When I watched the video I thought I’d have to return it for the 7.5, but reading the commentary I think I’ll wear it around the house before I take off the tags. I love the look & style.

  12. There was a comment that got deleted when I moved this blog to a new server. It was about using a hat stretcher to stretch out the hat because holding it over the knee didn’t work. I don’t have personal experience with that, but I would imagine that would work if used very carefully.

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