Photo: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
Every gal loves a bargain, and sometimes you find a fierce fedora or superfly slouch cap that's just a touch too small for your noggin. Rather than cramp your brains or -- horrors -- bypass a bargain, treat yourself to the hat and use gentle heat to stretch it out. Just like bikram yoga uses heat for more effective stretching, you'll relax your hat, then up it from a 1/2 to 5/8 circumference for a relaxed fit.
Plug in a steamer or put your tea kettle on and wait for it to het up. That hat's not gonna stretch without some help.
Position the hat over the steam so it softens the brim (for a fitted fedora or similar hat) or the head band (for fitted ball caps). Wherever you want the fabric to stretch is the right place to steam. Work the steam back and forth over a few inches of hat until you feel the material get moist and soften. Don't get the hat soggy; just wet enough to loosen.
Put down the kettle or steamer and gently pull the band to stretch it, using both hands. Maintain even pressure and don't pull quickly or so much that you warp that hat. Keep it slow and steady, like yoga for your cap.
Steam another spot, right beside the first one. Again, give your hat a light-but-firm stretch. Work your way around the hat like this.
Wear the hat just after stretching. It might feel a bit damp, but the fibers will soften to your head shape as they dry out fully for a more effective stretch.
If the steaming does not give your hat enough of a stretch, try it again or take your hat to a professional hat shop, where they can stretch it with a machine.
The Village Hat Shop recommends this strategy for stretching hats from a 1/2-size to a 5/8-size. If you need a larger stretch, seek professional help.