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distressed hats

Here’s How to Distress a Hat With Ease

Everyone likes buying new things. There’s something about the smell and feel of a new purchase that is just satisfying and fills you with happiness. From big things such as cars, a house too small ones like a pair of shoes or a new phone. All those things get replaced once in a while with a better, newer version of themselves and that is the never-ending cycle. 

But, some things shine when they get old. And there is a huge loving audience for those types of things. From an old bottle of wine, old-timer car or an old WW2 figure. Those things are often referred to as – vintage. When they get old, things get better. And it’s not just the situation with wine. Of course, we can’t say this for everything but nowadays, more and more people like that old rugged look of a vintage item than a fresh newly bought one. We can say something similar to clothes. Of course, no one likes to see a ripped, dirty and fuzzy T-shirt. But a 10-something years old denim? Well, it’s a whole other story. Vintage things have that weird feel to them which most people adore. It’s nostalgic, it makes them feel young again but manly and strong at the same time. It makes them stand out of the crowd where everyone is wearing “Supreme T-shirts” and other boring pieces of clothes. 

And, everything we said applies to hats as well. Old hat lovers know that there pretty much isn’t a better hat than a vintage one. The one which you can tell has some years to it but the one which is still in good condition. This hat also has a different feel to it. You can sense that it saw a lot of “things” and that it isn’t a teenager anymore. Those types of hats are the ones that put a smile on every experienced hat collector. And, modern society has slowly but steadily accepted all of this. One issue that is present is that in order for a hat to get to this point where it is considered as vintage you need to wait years. A lot of them. And, time is one thing that humans can’t control. So, how to speed up the process? You can’t. But, you can do the next better thing. Take an item that is new, and add a vintage feel to it.

In this article, we’ll talk about how to give your new hat that vintage. Rugged look we’ve been talking about. Even if your hat is brand new, that doesn’t mean it has to be like it. If you follow the steps we will show you in paragraphs below, you’ll transform your hat into a vintage one, or just speed up the process.

Be Cautious

A little disclaimer before we dig into the process itself. As with all other hat related DIY projects, you need to be careful. The aim here is to make your hat look vintage – worn out. If your hat isn’t looking as you would like it you can always be more aggressive with it or in other words – beat it up, but this isn’t always a good path to take for obvious reasons. You need to conduct this process slowly and with patience. Always have in mind that the final product you wish to come to and let that be your main goal. Now, let’s dive into the process itself.

Vintage Baseball Cap

Now, keep in mind that you can make pretty much any hat vintage. But, for the purpose of this article, we need to pick a few which will serve as an experiment and show you step by step how it’s done. Pick a cap that you like. Watch out for the materials that it’s made of. Hats that are made from leather or felt are a bit harder to make vintage and you should avoid them in this method. The first method we will consider is washing your hat with the help of a washing machine. 

The idea behind washing your hat several times is that the color it has starts to fade away. This is a clear sign that the hat is aging and in normal conditions, it would usually take years to come to a point which 2-3 washing sessions would do. So, just put your hat in a washing machine and begin the process. It’s recommended to use cold or cool water as the hot water can damage the material of your baseball cap a bit more than we would like. After a few washes what you should get is the same hat, but with a bit lighter color. 

After you finished this first, easy step, it’s time to pull out the big dogs and make your hat really look worn out. What are the tools you’ll need? Well, it might sound a bit weird but the best tools to make your hat look rigged are sandpaper, scissors and believe it or not, cheese grater. Let us elaborate.

If you ever looked at a rugged hat, you would notice that because it’s worn out, the material which it’s made of isn’t in such a good condition like it was before. We’re talking about all the cracks, damages, holes and fuzziness it may have. Therefore, since we don’t have years to let the time take its toll, we need to mimic it. Now, we say it again, be gentle with these things. Sandpaper isn’t made to be used on hats but if you’re careful enough, it will work wonders.

What you’ll simply do is sand the top layer of your hat. Use a gentle touch and circular or straight motion. What this should create is that worn look we seek for. There are different types of sandpaper – gentle ones and a bit harder ones. Pick the one you like. Gentle ones are, well, gentle, and if you pick harder ones, just be careful not to damage the hat too much. Scissors can help you out as well. With the help of them, rip some of the fabric on the brim of your hat or on some other place you would like. When you finish the process, what you should have is a new hat, that looks worn out and – vintage.

Wool Fedora

We will just quickly cover a special method which is used for fedora type hats. If you ever saw a fedora that has some years to it, you would notice that it kinda looks oily. It’s because the owner usually touches the brim with their hands to take on and off the hat. Therefore, after years of doing it, the fabric becomes oily and the hat gets that classy, vintage look. This is pretty usual for woolen fedoras but it can also apply to felt fedoras and any other type of wool or felt hat. It’s just that the fabric they’re made of response like this to constant touching and there’s nothing you can do about it.  

How to mimic this, since we don’t have the time for touching it hundred of times? Pretty simple really. What you’ll need is a solution of saltwater with some kind of oil (usually olive). Put it in a spray bottle, shake it up and apply it to the surface of the hat. Be strategic with this as you wouldn’t like that your hat looks oily everywhere. Just apply the solution to the brim and specific parts of the hat.

If you want to add creases and folds to your fedora – which are a clear indicator that it has some years to it, there’s a trick to this as well. Simply twist your fedora in any way you like and secure it with rubber bands. Let it stay like this overnight. After you remove the bands, there should be little folds and creases all over the fabric – mission accomplished. 

No Better Hat Than The Old Hat

Chances are that at some point in your hat-wearing career, you will wish that the hat you’re currently wearing looks a bit older and more mature. Maybe you would be sad, and you would surely look around the Internet to find a solution which will make your hat look older than it really is. And then here you are. After an endless time of lurking the Internet, you stumbled across this article. And we’re happy you did. Hopefully, what we wrote helped you to make your new hat look vintage and at the same time not damage it. 

But, we feel like that it needs to be said that nothing can mimic the real thing. If you want your hat to really become vintage, there’s no way around it, you’ll need to let time take its course. Don’t think about the hat. Wear it with style and pride. After a couple of years, we will guarantee that it will look more vintage than it would ever with any of the methods mentioned above. And that’s what it’s all about. Having a real vintage hat which became vintage the right way.