The Hat Jack not only actually works, but you will probably make your hat too big

My enormous head is about 62 centimeters around. That's 24 inches. This has had two consequences for my life. Firstly, no matter what I do, I look vaguely like a bobblehead doll. Secondly, hat acquisition is a problem.

*lays Hat Jack on table in the video that would accompany this post if it were on one of those fancy magaziney sites floating like ash on a thermal of burning venture capital. The depth of field is so tight only part of the gadget is in focus. In the background, a blurry cat lurks menacingly, bokeh glinting on its ironic punk collar.*

I knew about the Hat Jack's existence but considered the idea fundamentally ridiculous and impossible, like something you'd see advertised in an old comic book alongside x-ray specs and Count Dante. If it did anything, I figured, it would just destroy or deform the hat.

Well, I finally gave it a try after finding an amazing but "small" vintage hat that I couldn't live without. For the sake of $15 it seemed worth a try.

It's basically two wooden semi-circles connected by a metal rod, which screws into the wood at both ends. Rotating the rod increases the circumference defined by the device. You insert the Hat Jack into the hatband, stretch it, and leave it there for a few hours.

It worked beyond my wildest dreams. My hat is now too large.

hat-too-largeA hat that is now, arguably, too large.

I've since tested it on a few other hats, and figured out a few things. Basically, it will stretch cotton, straw and leather as far as you want. It doesn't work so well on hats which have a rigid structure or are made to traditional forms; you might get a centimeter out of hard felt before things obviously go awry. What doesn't stretch well at all, I found, was polyester. Be on the lookout for polyester hatbands inside other materials; removing them will make your Hat Jack's job easier.

So that's the Hat Jack. If you want to make a hat bigger, it actually works. And if you make it too big, there is always Hat Size Reducing Tape, which I am like 95% certain is just foam weather stripping.

Hat Jack [Amazon]