The Cromford fur hat: Shearling for deep winter

Friday, January 6th 2023
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A few weeks ago, just before Christmas when it was suddenly freezing in London, I was in Cromford talking to them about offcuts.

The shearling coats we’ve done over the past three years have been pleasingly received - the olive double-breasted in 2020, the very dark-brown version in 2021, and the mid-brown overshirt this past winter. 

But cutting them all does lead to some frustrating wastage. Shearling is precious stuff, and leather makers (just like furriers) hate wasting the materials they value so highly. Visit any leather workshop and you’ll see spare skins or parts of skins everywhere. 

I wondered aloud whether all these offcuts could be used for anything - like a hat perhaps, suitable for the uncharacteristically cold weather. Pauline and Sarah had some thoughts, and within a couple of days had a design ready. Such are the virtues of being your own leather workshop. 

The result is not that unusual: a six-panel crown with a wide strip around the bottom, turned up to show the shearling inside.

However, the design does have one advantage, which is that you can adjust how far the shearling is turned up, making it lower or higher on the head. Those that wish to cover the ears further can do so, though to be honest it’s so warm I don’t need to even when it’s way below freezing. 

There’s actually an interesting point of physics there, which perhaps a suitably educated reader can explain: if you make the top of your head really warm, that heat travels downwards, making it less necessary to cover the ears or neck. Biting wind is the only time I think you'd need to. 

I’m reminded of George when he buys a rather less attractive fur hat in Seinfeld: “This hat just bottles in the heat. I don’t even need a coat, it’s unbelievable!”

Cromford’s hat can’t only be made of offcuts, given the need for the long run around the bottom. But the small parts do mean it’s easy to offer it in the three shearlings used for coats in the past three years. 

My favourite colour for the hat is the one I’m wearing, from last year’s double-breasted coat: dark-brown with black fur. But it is also available in the mid-brown and olive

Cromford are offering them in four sizes ready-made, from small to extra large. I’m wearing a medium here, which is meant to be for a 59-60cm head. My head measures 60cm (circumference, level at mid-forehead) but I’ve found like a hat like this to fit close. 

Part that's because I don’t want the hat to appear too bulky, as it stands out more. This often happens with fur hats - they become too dramatic and as a result hard to wear.

For the same reason, I think this kind of hat looks best when there’s bulk elsewhere - a big coat, a scarf etc. You’d probably wear those things anyway, but it’s worth remembering it works best with that larger silhouette. 

I remember seeing a man trying on one a few years ago in Italy, and deciding it was too big. But he was only wearing a sweater at the time. Just like the proportions of a brimmed hat, these things make a difference.  

I’ve tried several different designs over the years for a deep-winter hat, including astrakhans (back when Wil at A Suitable Wardrobe had them) and full-on furs with ear flaps. But this is the design I like the most, and so far have found the easiest to wear. 

Cromford are selling them for £195. As with everything they do, made-to-order options are available for a little more, if you want a different material. 

Interestingly, when we were shooting the hat I set up a little display in the Cromford window with it sitting on a full skin (below).

Two separate people stopped and asked about it as we were doing so, I think because it made them think physically of the raw material. And both were interested to know there was a workshop downstairs. 

Hopefully more displays like that, and pieces like this, will help spread the word. 


The shearling hat is available on the Cromford website.

Like the coats, this is a collaboration and PS receives commission on the sales. This is a rarity today - most of the time collaborations are separated off into the PS Shop, which I feel is more transparent. But Cromford like to be closely involved with the fitting and MTO commissioning process, so these products are handled by them. 

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Simon, I thought you could be a Seinfeld fan. When you presented your reversible Valstarino, I couldn’t help but assume that the inspiration was the Seinfeld episode where Jerry considers turning his new suede jacket, (with the striped pink lining) inside out to save it from the snow – hilarity ensued. Can you confirm if this was the inspiration?

Dan G

That was a great episode.


Congratulations on the collab, Simon!

I hope to read about the Shearling in use, in a possibly even colder climate, in one of your future travels.

Does the Shearling as Headgear require any specific care or maintenance?

Kind Regards

Peter Hall

would a glove collab using PS tweed and Cromford offcuts be possible,Simon?


Another good use for those sherling offcuts would be to line gun sleeves with them.


Which colour do you think would go best with my V1 PS Donegal Tweed Overcoat ?

Matthew V

A truly sustainable design and production in action! Waste = a whole new product. Great work.


Thanks, but with everything going on in the world right now, I don’t think I want to look like a rich Russian guy in public.


That’s a great looking hat!


To continue Seinfeld theme I’d say “It’s not a hat, it’s European”. Slight change from the original quote. Hat looks great on you but its slightly medieval in my opinion.


it’s 99% beanies and baseball caps

It depends where you are. Go to Birmingham Sparkhill, Coventry Road or Small Heath and it’s quite different. Other caps dominate the picture.


In my eyes your hat looks more like Ertuğrul.


Just a general hat question if I may. I’m looking for a fedora and wonder if there is much difference in quality between Lock and Co, Bates and Borsalino? Optimo look superb but I guess that’s impossible without a trip to Chicago?


Can you do a critical piece on the style of Kanye West?


Hi Simon,

I’ve heard shearling pronounced as both sheerling and shurling. Where does a Londoner stand on this matter?


n. David

If I had to guess, Simon, I’d say simply the spelling of the word (and its similarity to the word “shear”). Personally, I’ve always assumed the former pronunciation (“sheerling”), having never actually heard anyone utter the word in conversation.


Amusing comments on this piece and I can see all the associations. I live in Eastern Europe and there used to be a very clear cultural line between parts of population that looked west and other parts that looked east. People from CIS nations held on to similar style of hats much longer but unfortunately in the end even they succumbed to the all mighty beanie. Then you can also imagine Lake-town from LOTR and is there a more appropriate head cover for some minor-noble or town official to wear than this.
In all seriousness once it gets to -20C outside all these associations become irrelevant. This is when I would pull out a hat like this as an alternative to beanie that I can wear with overcoat. It would definitely work out of town and I think I’d also wear it in town. In my view it looks good on Simon and I will consider ordering one for myself for next year.

Tim Fleming

Hi Simon,
This post is right up my alley as I also bought one of Will’s astrakhans years ago when he had the shop and blog. It’s the only formal hat I have for the winter cold or would consider wearing with a suit and overcoat when the temperatures dip below freezing. It’s very warm and I like it but I’ve always been a little self-conscious about the taller crown shape and have often imagined having something that looks exactly as this one you describe here, particularly if I’m wearing something like a car coat, sweater/sports jacket, & cords.
I’m thinking of ordering one but wanted to ask some questions first, please:
Is this hat as warm as the astrakhan I have from Will’s shop? It doesn’t look like it, but is the shearling the same type of curled karakul or different? If not, which do you prefer? The astrakhan I have is made with a viscose or similar smooth interior lining fabric. I’m thinking from the last image that this hat has a shearling interior, but maybe not? Would you say this this hat is an equal or a less formal option to wear with a long overcoat and suit, such as going to the ballet or opera in winter?


Hi Simon, I was considering getting one of the two Round Shearling Hats they currently have in Paul Stuart here in New York. But then I saw your article and the color combination of the Cromford’s hat (by way of a playful inversion referred to as Crompton Hat on their website) appeals to me more. My problem is as follows. My head circumference is 59cm, but typically 59cm hats feel small due to my rather narrow and… deeper (longer back) head. But while 59cm is tight on the forehead, a size bigger will leave some gaping on the sides. Multiply all this by my super-tall forehead (such that renders it impossible to wear proper-sized caps – they end up an inch above my ears) and you’ll agree I need a custom hat in formal headwear arena. Given the ability to adjust the height of the Cromford Cromtpon Hat, do you think this could work for me? I won’t travel to the UK any time soon, so this would need to be an online order. Thank you and my compliments on the very many inspiring photos and articles.


Jan, just to flag, maybe call them – i measured my head and compared the hats i own to the website size guide, but then when i went in to pick up i found the small (which i went for) was too small and swapped to the medium. but call them to discuss, they’re lovely.


Thank you, gentlemen, for the opinion and a very useful tip.


Hi Simon,

I have a similar hat from A&S made by Eggert.

Beautiful and always heavily used in winter but you cannot turn it down over the ears.

I know this one can be adjusted but can you turn it all the way down? And any other differences between this and the A&S? Thickness, quality (by any measure) etc etc?

Many thanks in advance.



Super. Thats helpful Simon.

Many thanks.