So I’ve seen Riata Designs around for a few years and thought about ordering one, however their classic Riata style hat I don’t love the look of for me…so I never bought one until I noticed they had a few different hat options floating around. I really liked the look of the Derby style (more my look) and thought it would be fun to do a custom design. And I really should stay out of the sun more, so it was a good investment.
First off…before I go into anything else… I will say the hat is beautiful and I’ve gotten a ton of compliments on it. I’m not upset I have it despite a few things I have to say below…these are just my experiences. Don’t let what I have to say steer you away from Riata, but know it might be a slightly different experience than you expect. Or maybe it will be exactly what you expect if you read this (or maybe I just had a one off experience…who knows).
Working with Riata on a custom design wasn’t what I expected to be honest…and of course this came shortly after my custom luggage I bought that was a very collaborative process. The customization options were pretty limited and seemed to be maybe based on what she had (or could get quickly). Jill sent me a handful of fabrics to choose from with several not being anything like what I sent that I liked (some orange…eek!) when I had said pinks/grays/rose gold.
I indicated I was interested in leather, which I have seen on her site and was indicated on her custom form and would have been an up-charge on the hat, but she kinda blew past that without giving me that option. She didn’t respond to my question on one of the fabrics and seemed to have decided on the one fabric I ended up with as being what she thought I’d like. I mentioned I wasn’t really into paisley and asked if she had anything else, but she kinda bulldozed over that question as well and said she would order the fabric and I’m like…”okay.” Once the fabric was pretty well selected for me things went pretty smoothly. I liked the rosette design she showed me so I didn’t ask to see anything else. She did show me the fabric on a couple of the different hat styles, which helped me decide which I wanted. I do think that she must be VERY busy and perhaps doesn’t read all the text messages… or maybe she gets an idea in her head and runs with it and that’s that. Don’t know. If that kind of thing frustrates you, maybe buy a design already made on the website. I left the experience a little frustrated.
When I got the hat I wasn’t disappointed. The quality of the hat is good and the quality of the fabric, stitching and metal badge was good. Shipping was fast and the hat arrived healthy and undamaged. The price is probably a little high for what it is, but I mainly say this because of what happened after I started wearing it.
The first day I wore it, my head was bothering me and I quickly discovered it was because of the weaving of the hat left a bunch of loose sticks stabbing down into the crown of my head. This hat really needs a patch at the top for comfort, so I went out and bought some leather and bought some millinery glue (because I can’t sew leather or on hats…so I figured this was my best option) and made my own patch (which cost me another $20 or so). It doesn’t look super professional and clean, but the hat is much more comfortable now. I do wish that this issue with the hat design had been addressed by Riata before shipping for the price paid for the hat. Perhaps it was a problem with the singular hat I had, but who knows.
As you can see, even with the couple of issues…I have still rated these hats pretty well. I actually have another one I’m going to include in a giveaway to one of you that doesn’t seem to have the same issue with the crown as mine…but it is a different style hat. I would probably not do another custom one again, but I would for sure purchase a hat from Riata’s page of in-stock hats. They are nice and are an excellent way to give your face some sun protection and add some style to your look!