(Please see picture above for example of "how NOT to send a hat".)


Respect, care, and proper handling will insure the integrity of the shape and the life of your hat. A well cared for hat can be handed down as a heirloom sculpture.

Handle your hat by reaching to the point where the brim meets the crown. This is also the place where the trim is attached and is the strongest point on the hat. This will keep the shape of the crown and brim intact. Pinching the crown will eventually damage the shape and hat body. Straw hats will crack with repeated pinching of the corn, and even felts will weaken. Handling on the hat on the edge of the brim will distort the shape and also weaken the integrity of the hat. If your hat develops a crack or tear, please do not attempt to glue or repair it. Return it to us for restoration.

Example of appropriate handling: Place your hand on the hat as close to the trim as possible with four fingers on top and the thumb underneath the brim. To tighten your hat on your head, use an upward and downward motion to pull the hat down in the front over your eyes and then pull the hat down in the back.

Straw hats are intended for sun. All of our fine Panama straw hats are shaped with a water-based agent that allows the hat to breath. If your straw hat gets wet, use a clean cloth to absorb as much water as possible and place it on the Hat Jack or if a Hat Jack is not available, place it upside down on the crown to dry. Usually the hat will return to its original shape within a couple of days. If not, return to us for re-blocking.


Temporary Storage: Place your  hat upside-down on the crown. Make sure the surface is clean, and check that the brim is not touching anything that could change the shape.

Overnight Storage: We recommend the use of a Hat Jack to keep the size and shape of the hat. Secure the Hat Jack by placing it in the hat with the adjustable handle lined up with the center back seam of the inner band. Turn the handle so it is secure in the hat at the same tension as it is on your head. Also check to make sure the Hat Jack is flush with the leading edge of the inner band (the point where the crown and brim meet). If the hat is a bit tight, it can be stretched with the hat jack. Place the Hat Jack in the hat so it is snug and turn the handle counter-clockwise half to one revolution. Take care not to over stretch. This the most effective if it is done after the hat has been worn, as the inner band will be moist from perspiration. Leave the hat in the Hat Jack overnight. Always store your hat in a location that is relatively cool and not in direct sunlight.


Cleaning and Maintenance

Panama Straw Hats: Vacuum your hat with the round brush attachment of your vacuum cleaner. Make sure that the brush is new or clean, and used only for your hat. This will remove dust and particles that could discolor the hat if it gets wet. Any spots from ink, cosmetics, blood, etc. should be sent to us for cleaning. Please do not attempt to remove them as this could result in damage or discoloration of the straw.

Fur Felt Hats: A round brush attachment may also be used for a fur felt hat. Vacuum in a side-to-side motion to remove particles and dust. Next vacuum counter-clockwise on the top of the crown and the brim. Turn the hat upside down and vacuum clockwise on the underside of the brim. To set the textured finish, use the brush without the vacuum in the same directions as indicated above. 

Inner Sweatbands: Periodically the sweatband needs to be replaced, as it becomes saturated with oils and perspiration and can no longer protect the hat. Your sweatband will usually last 1-3 years, depending on how often you wear the hat and in what climate. Flip the front of the sweatband out to check for saturation regularly after 6 to 8 months. Perspiration, over time, not only stains the hat, but breaks down its natural fibers. Next to proper handling and storage, replacing the sweat band is the most critical thing for maintaining the life of any good hat.

Renovations: We offer complete renovation service of straw and fur-felt hats. This includes cleaning, custom re-blocking, reworking to the current size and shape of your head, new sweatbands and trims, repair of cracks, and hand finishing. We also restore antique hats. Please click here for more information about our renovation work.

Shipping: Please return hats in the Óptimo cardboard shipping box. Hat should be placed gently upside down in the insert. Take care that the trim is not crushed. Please do not include any other objects with the hat (e.g., Hat Jacks). If you do not have an Óptimo shipping box, please place the hat in a box with a few inches of clearance around the hat and float it in styrofoam packing popcorn.

If you are shipping to Óptimo Hatworks with USPS, please ship to the following address:

  • Óptimo Hatworks, P.O. Box 1914, Bisbee, Arizona 85603

If you are shipping to Óptimo Hatworks with Fed-Ex or UPS, please ship to this address:

  • Optimo Hatworks, 47 Main Street, Bisbee, Arizona 85603


Still have questions? Please feel free to call us at 520.432.4544 or email us at optimohatworks@gmail.com.