How To Buy Vintage Top Hats

How to buy vintage top hats for a special occasion or as a collectible means learning about top hats and knowing where to look to find them. One of the first top hats was a modified riding hat.  The brim had been widened and the top area lengthened for a unique style in the color black. A top hat that flattened out to wear to the opera was developed in 1823 It could be put under the seat at the theater.  Felted beaver skin was the material top hats were made with until the 1900s.  In 1900s the top hat was made of silk worn by men at primarily social occasions. Men enjoy wearing top hats for business, pleasure and social events. Learn how to buy vintage top hats as a unique accessory to wear out to a party or to have as a collectible.

  1.  Start by deciding what type of top hat you want to collect.  Do you like  a top hat made of a certain material silk or felted beaver for example?  Did the top hat come from a certain time period like the 1920s or 1950s? If you want to wear the hat, the condition of the top hat is very important. You will want to look for a hat that is study and in good condition. A hat that fits correctly is important.  If you shop at local antique stores you can try the top hat  on.  Look for hats with good color and material that is not ripped or torn. If you shop online, know the size of the hat you wear before purchasing or ordering a top hat online.
  2. Look at labels and condition of the top hat. Collecting top hat to sell or just as a collection item, not to wear, means you do not have to be concerned about size but you not the label and condition of the hat. Look for labels in the hat that tell the manufacturer or make. Labels started being used in the 1880's so many hats may have a label. Look for well made top hats made with good material that is sewn to hold together. The color of a hat is generally black and sometimes gray. A hat that is clean and does not smell musty is a good sign. Look for material that does not need to be repaired.
  3. Look for vendors that sell vintage clothing. Where do you buy vintage top hats?  The first place is vintage clothing shops often found in antique flea markets and malls. These dealers specialize in vintage clothing and will often have top hats. You can go to flea markets and antique shows to look for top hats.  Often you can find vintage clothing dealers who might sell top hats at these show.  Some vendors can be found online by searching "Vintage Top Hat Dealers" or "Vintage Clothing Vendors". Online auctions are another place to find vintage top hats. Often online auctions have a good selection. Regular flea markets often do not carry quality top hats.  Sometimes estate sales may have a selection of top hats as part of the clothing.
  4. Collect the style and top hat that fits your budget.  Top hats come in many styles and varieties. Research the history of top hots and find the one that interests you most. Select the style and price range that fits your wallet. Look carefully, do not buy the first top hat that you see. Take time to look at quality and condition before buying.