When dealing with hats, what does OS stand for?

In the context of hat sizes, and in most clothing related sizing instances, "OS" simply means one size. This means that the hat or other garment is only available in a single size and the implication is that this single size is one that will accommodate most people. In fact a variation of "One Size" is the phrase "One Size Fits Most."

You may be wondering how a hat or other garment can make that claim. How can they know that the hat will fit me specifically or my individual friends and family? The simple answer of course is that they can't definitively know that; however, hats that come in "One Size" fitting actually usually have the capability to be reduced or expanded in size. For example most hats have either a Velcro back, a Snap back, or a beck with a sliding brass buckle. This allows the wearer to increase or decrease the size of the hat as needed to a relatively large extent.

The main reason that this is possible for hats versus things like shirts and pants is that flexibility in terms of how it can be adjusted. A shirt really has no way to expand or contract around the individual except of course for stretching or purposely shrinking which is vary rarely a good option. A hat on the other hand can easily be resized with its adjustable back without impacting the integrity or look of the hat. Similarly the difference is somewhat comparable to pants with an elastic waistband that easily stretches and so may come in fewer sizes compared to a pair of jeans which is typically made out of a hard, unyielding denim which generally only allows a margin of a couple of inches.

By the same token while human heads certainly do come in a variety of shapes and sizes there isn't quite as much variance in head size compared to say waist or chest size. Thus it's much easier for hat manufacturers to develop an adjustable hat which can be resized to fit on a range of heads. Most often the hat manufacturers will further cover their bases by developing hats targeted to youth or adult only or by developing a hat which does come in both Youth One Size and Adult One Size. This takes even more of the guess work out of the equation.

So, while it isn't 100% guaranteed that the OS or One Size hat will fit your particular head there's a very good chance that it will. Also, given the high adjustability of hats, the OS concept is very handy in that it enables ordering for a large group of people, who do have varying sized heads, without having to individually measure every head. So check out how handy and effective a OS fit hat can be for your hat order.

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