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Ask Men's Fitness: I’m going to a barbecue, and it’s a real laid-back poolside thing. I want to wear a hat. What’s more in style these days—curved brim or flat?


Frankly, dude, asking a barber about what hat to wear is sort of like asking a podiatrist about a rash on your face. But as it turns out, I am the right guy to ask—I love a good hat, and I think I can help you out here.

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If it’s a chill sesh with the guys, then I don’t see a problem with a baseball cap, and these days, flat-brimmed caps are definitely in. If you have a smaller head, though, and the flat brim looks flat-out goofy on you, go with the rounded brim—it’s more athletic looking, anyway.

But if this is a formal affair, or the boss’s Fourth of July party, I’m going to say fedora. Yes, fedora.

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And before you whine and groan and chant “Poser!” at me, I don’t mean just any fedora. I mean a snap-brim straw fedora, which is just formal enough to pass at any gathering. Not only is a straw fedora sophisticated, it’s also versatile. You can pop the brim up or down. If you have a smaller head, anything from a three quarter inch to a one and a half inch brim will work. If you’ve got a watermelon-size noggin, you’re going to need a little extra: one and three quarter to a two and a quarter. 

Just don’t go too large on the brim. You’ll look like a cowboy, and that’s another column. 

Shorty Maniace is the proprietor of J.P. Kempt Barber & Social in San Francisco. Send your questions to

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