Baseball caps. Snapbacks. Fitted hats. No matter what you call them, New Era lids have become a staple in streetwear and athleisure looks.
But for all their ubiquity, these handmade hats have a dirty little secret – they don’t always fit the same!
So Why do New Era’s Fitted Hats Fit Differently?
As a longtime lover of hats and haberdashery, I’m here to pull back the brim on why identical New Era hats don’t fit identically. Grab your lid and let’s play ball.
1. It’s All About the Handcrafting
While mass-produced apparel emphasizes uniformity, New Era takes a different approach.
Proudly handcrafted since 1920, their hats showcase the charm and quirks of artisanal quality.
But as any knitter can tell you, even following the same pattern doesn’t guarantee identical results.
The handmade process introduces slight variations that add up to perceived fit issues. So while machines churn out the precision, hands offer character.
2. The Materials Matter
From wool to cotton to polyester, the material a hat is made from impacts the fit. Natural fabrics like cotton or wool will shrink and conform to your head over time.
Meanwhile, polyester is less forgiving and retains its shape. Blends can behave unpredictably too.
In essence, each material stretches, breathes, and wears differently. And with New Era using diverse textiles, fit varies from style to style.
3. Not All Factories Are Created Equal
Global supply chains mean production varies from factory to factory.
While New Era maintains strict quality control, differences in machinery, techniques, environments, and workers influence each hat’s construction.
These minute production variations manifest in fit inconsistencies that slip through the cracks. It’s a hidden cost of large-scale manufacturing with a handcrafted ethos.
4. Tight Quality Control, Loose Size Consistency
Speaking of quality control, New Era obsesses over aesthetic details: embroidery, stitching, shaping.
But with less focus on sizing consistency, fit seems a secondary concern. Hats deemed visually perfect ship out regardless of subtle size deviations.
Again, craft and tradition trump modern standardization. For New Era, it’s function over form…quite literally.
5. Hats Will Shrink, Hats Will Stretch
Even after leaving the factory, a hat’s fit continues evolving. Wool felts shrink slightly over time, cottons stretch to contour your crown.
A snug new cap may loosen up perfectly after a few wears. And caps seem to shrink if left idle on the shelf!
The point is, hats are dynamic objects, their sizes shifting with wear, care and environment.
6. One Size Does Not Fit All
Adding to the confusion, New Era follows its own sizing system. The internal sizes don’t directly correspond to generic “Small, Medium, Large” conventions that customers expect.
So while you may buy a 7 5/8 labeled “Large,” it won’t necessarily fit like a Large in other brands.
New Era plays by its own rules, forged over a century of hat-making tradition.
7. Fit For Sport, Not Fashion
Ultimately, New Era designs caps purpose-built for athletic activity. The firmer, snugger fit creates stability during motion.
But lifestyle customers wear them casually, expecting a relaxed everyday fit. This philosophical mismatch leaves many disappointed.
Next time you wear a fitted hat with jeans and kicks, remember it was designed for base-running, not base-walking.
I. New Era’s Size Chart Guide
So how do you find your ideal lid fit?
As you can see, they have a range of numerical sizes starting from 6 3/4 and going up to 8 1/4.
The corresponding head circumference measurements provide a reference but don’t cling too closely to the numbers.
My advice? Try on multiple sizes around your measured head circumference. I tend to size up from my measurement to allow for material stretch and a comfier fit.
If you’re between sizes, go up a size rather than down. And consider how you’ll wear it – fitted and snug for athletic activities, a bit looser for casual wear.
The size chart is a helpful starting point. But the only way to find your perfect custom fit is to experiment.
Be willing to go up or down a size until it feels just right. It may take some trial and error, but when you find that seasoned lid with the ideal fit, it’s game on.
J. Embrace the Quirks
At the end of the day, New Era hats are artisan objects, not mass-produced commodities.
Their handcrafted heritage prioritizes quality and tradition over modern uniformity.
So embrace the quirks of the by-hand process. Break in your fit over time until it feels like an old friend. And wear it with the ease and pride of someone who knows they found their perfect fit.