*Originally posted October 3, 2013*
10 years in the making and after much fussing and teasing, it is finally time to introduce our new hat style.Way back in the previous century I started making fezzes for my friends. That first Christmas it was 8 fezzes for the guys, many of whom I had known for well over a decade. As I continued to make a fez here and there as birthday gifts throughout the year I started getting asked if I was going to make fezzes for the girlfriends. Since I had already been making fezzes for the guys, I wanted to do something different for the ladies. A few years prior to that, when I was studying fashion design, I created a hat loosely based on a glengarry for my collection in the graduate fashion show. I decided to revisit this idea for what would become known as the WOE Chapeau, the sister hat to the fezzes I continued in the “Before Fez-o-rama” time. Whenever we got all gussied up and hit the town in our matching hats we would get just as many compliments on the chapeaus as the fezzes.
Many Prototypes Later
After starting to get things rolling with Fez-o-rama and quickly going through many iterations of our fezzes, I continued to develop the chapeau patterns. Unfortunately every time I started to test out new chapeau patterns I would hit on a new version of the fezzes and everything else would get pushed aside. Once we locked down the Mark VI fez I once again returned to prototyping the new chapeau, getting so far as making a dozen or two for sale at shows.
It turns out that getting some public feedback was key to the whole design process. The first thing we discovered was that just as many guys as gals were interested in this style. I suppose that should have come as little surprise seeing as how the glengarry it is based on is traditionally a men’s military cap. We also got a significant number of requests to make the tassels an option on the chapeau. Again this is in line with the hat’s origins and adds a bit of personalization to the chapeau, a tassel grommet was added as a standard feature.
Fit and Finish
Sizing was another area that we needed some market research on. Since this hat is worn more on top of the head as apposed to around it like the fez, I wanted to see it on as many heads as I could before committing to a pattern. To add to this complication, the men tend to wear the chapeau closer to the skull while some ladies prefer to go with a smaller size and wear the chapeau on top of their crown often utilizing hat pins or hair clips to secure it.
We have decided to go with three basic sizes that cover the full range of our standard fez sizes. The Small Chapeau will cover the small and medium fez wearers, the Medium Chapeau covers the Large-XL, while the Large Chapeau fits the 2X-3X - generally speaking. If you are on the border, men will likely want to round up while the ladies might want to round down. For example I am between an XL & 2X fez and I fit the Large Chapeau. Maya wears a 4X fez but wears the same Large Chapeau and used hair pins to secure it fashionably in place.
Wait, doesn’t that mean “hat”?
All that was left was to decide what to call it, of course after spending a decade referring to this cap as a chapeau we were having trouble calling it anything else. While it does relate to a glengarry to a trained eye, it certainly deviates from the traditional construction –not unlike our fezzes. Ultimately I decided to stick with the Chapeau moniker, not only because it is convenient –and it rhymes- but it also feeds into my tendency to twist language back on itself with a clear disregard for logic.
Now, we are still in the early stages of rolling this new style out. We have begun ramping up production on the linings but the shells are still be cut in very small batches and cautiously sewn. At this point I have sewn literally thousands of fezzes, while I can safely say that the Chapeaus are only numbering in the tens, so please be patient as we continue to introduce these in limited numbers and styles over the coming months.