Got My Horse

A Beginner’s Guide to Choosing and Understanding Cowboy Hats

Introduction to Cowboy Hats

Cowboy hats are an iconic symbol of the American West. They have a rich history that dates back to the 1860s when J.B. Stetson began selling his legendary hats.

The cowboy hat has evolved quite a bit since then, but it still maintains its purpose and design. If you’re in the market for a cowboy hat, there are a few things to consider such as fit, shape, material, budget, and how it will look on your face.

Let’s explore the history of cowboy hats, what to look for when shopping for one, and the different parts of the hat.

History of Cowboy Hats

The cowboy hat was invented by J.B. Stetson in the 1860s. He was a hat maker from New Jersey who moved west in search of adventure.

He spent months with cowboys on the trail, watching them work and observing their equipment. He noticed that their hats weren’t cutting it when it came to protection from the sun, wind, and rain.

They were often made of fur and felt, which made them hot and heavy. Stetson went back to his workshop in Philadelphia and began experimenting with different materials and shapes.

Eventually, he came up with a design that included a wide brim, a high crown, and a stiffened felt. The result was a hat that could protect cowboys from the elements and could be used as a fan to cool them off.

The cowboy hat became a symbol of the American West and was worn by cowboys and ranchers alike. It was popularized in movies and television shows and became a fashion statement.

Today, cowboy hats are still worn for protection and as a style choice.

Factors to Consider When Shopping for a Cowboy Hat

When shopping for a cowboy hat, there are a few factors to consider. The first is fit.

The hat should fit snugly but not too tightly. You should be able to rotate the hat on your head without it falling off.

If it’s too loose, it will blow off in the wind, and if it’s too tight, it will give you a headache. The shape of the hat is also important.

There are different styles of cowboy hats, including the Cattleman, the Gambler, and more. The shape of the hat should complement the shape of your face.

If you have a round face, you may want to go for a hat with a higher crown to elongate your face. If you have a long face, a wide brimmed hat can balance out your features.

Material is another important consideration. Cowboy hats are made of various materials, including felt, straw, and leather.

The material you choose depends on the purpose of the hat. Felt hats are good for cold weather, while straw hats are better for the summer.

Leather hats are durable and can be worn year-round. Your budget is also a consideration.

Cowboy hats can range in price from twenty dollars to several thousand dollars. The price depends on the quality of the hat and the material used.

It’s essential to find a hat that fits your budget and serves its purpose.

Parts of a Cowboy Hat

The cowboy hat has three main parts: the crown, the crease, and the brim. The crown is the top part of the hat.

It is the highest point of the hat and is where the hat fits on your head. The quality of the crown determines the quality of the hat.

The crease is the indentation in the crown of the hat. The crease is not just decorative; it also determines the shape of the hat.

Different styles of cowboy hats have different creases. The crease is essential for keeping the hat on your head.

The brim is the part of the hat that extends out from the crown. The width of the brim depends on the purpose of the hat.

A wider brim provides more protection from the sun and wind, while a narrower brim is better for working on horseback as it won’t hit the horse’s neck.

Basics of Cowboy Hats

Cowboy hats are more than just a fashion statement; they serve a purpose. They provide protection from the sun, wind, and rain.

They also provide increased mobility, allowing cowboys and ranchers to work their jobs more effectively. Cowboy hats are used in different settings, including ranches, rodeos, and fashion events.

They are a versatile accessory and are worn by people of all ages and genders. Understanding hat styles is essential when shopping for cowboy hats.

The Cattleman style is the most popular and is characterized by a crease that is straight down the middle of the crown and a medium-sized brim. It’s an all-around style that can be used for both work and play.

The Gambler style is characterized by a wider brim and a flat top crown. It’s a style that is worn more for fashion than function.

In conclusion, cowboy hats have a rich history and serve a purpose beyond fashion. When shopping for a cowboy hat, it’s essential to consider factors such as fit, shape, material, and price.

Knowing the different parts of the hat can help you choose the right one for you. Understanding the different styles of cowboy hats can also help you make an informed decision.

Whether you’re a rancher or looking to make a fashion statement, there is a cowboy hat out there for you.

Shapes and Styles

When it comes to cowboy hats, there are different shapes and styles to choose from. It’s important to distinguish between the two, as the shape refers to the way the hat is made, while the style refers to the aesthetic design of the hat.

Brim Shapes

The brim of a cowboy hat may be the most visible part of the hat, and it comes in a variety of shapes. Let’s take a closer look at the different brim styles:

1.

Western: This is the most common brim shape for cowboy hats. It has a medium width, and the front and back are turned upward while the sides angle downward.

2. Bull Rider: This brim shape is similar to the Western, but the front and back are curled upward more prominently, providing more shade and protection from the sun.

3. Reiner Low Sides: This brim shape has a wide, flat brim that angles downward on the sides.

4. Reiner High Sides: Similar to the Reiner Low Sides, but the sides angle upward to provide more sun protection.

5. Quarter Horse: This brim shape has a narrow width and provides little shade but performs well when working closely around animals.

6. Flat or Buckaroo: This brim shape is similar to the Quarter Horse in that it’s narrow, but it’s wider in the front and back and angled downward on the sides.

7. Rancher: This brim shape is wider than the Western, making it suitable for ranch work that requires more shade.

8. Rolled: This brim shape has a rolled edge and provides more shade to the face.

9. Gus: This brim shape is similar to the Western, but it has small indents that create extra shade and ventilation.

Crown Shapes

The crown of a cowboy hat also comes in a variety of shapes. Let’s explore some of the most popular:

1.

Cattleman Crease: This is the most typical crown shape for cowboy hats. It has three creases: two on either side, forming a “V” shape, and a center crease that goes from back to front.

2. Brick Crease: This crown shape has multiple creases that resemble stacked bricks.

3. The Dakota: This crown shape has a wide dip in the center, providing more headroom.

4. Pinch Front: This crown shape has two pinches at the front of the hat and a crease that runs from front to back.

5. Gambler: This crown shape is flatter than others and has a large, flat top.

6. Boss of the Plains: This crown shape is low and flat, with a creased top that runs perpendicular to the brim.

7. Montana Mix/Tom Crease/Ten Gallon: This crown shape has a high crease that runs from the front to the back and is popular in the southwestern United States.

Cowboy Hat Materials

Cowboy hats are made from a variety of materials, including felt and straw. The material that you choose depends on the purpose of the hat and your personal preference.

Felt Cowboy Hats

Felt is the most common material used in cowboy hats. It is made of wool, beaver, or a blend of the two.

The more beaver fur in a felt hat, the higher its quality and price. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of felt hats:

Advantages:

– Felt cowboy hats are water-resistant and protect the head from rain.

– Felt is an excellent insulator, keeping the head warm in cold weather. – Felt hats are typically durable and long-lasting.

Disadvantages:

– Felt hats can be heavy and hot in warmer weather. – Felt hats provide less airflow than straw hats, which can be uncomfortable in hot weather.

– Felt hats are often more expensive than straw hats due to the quality of the material used.

Straw Cowboy Hats

Straw cowboy hats are typically used in warmer weather and are made from materials such as palm, seagrass, or raffia. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of straw hats:

Advantages:

– Straw cowboy hats are lightweight and breathable, making them ideal for warm weather.

– They provide excellent airflow and ventilation. – Straw hats are usually less expensive than felt hats.

Disadvantages:

– Straw hats don’t offer the same level of insulation as felt hats, making them less suitable for cold weather. – Straw is not as durable as felt, and hats made of this material may not be as long-lasting.

– Straw cowboy hats are not waterproof and aren’t recommended for use in the rain.

Explanation of Xs on Cowboy Hats

The Xs on cowboy hats represent the quality of the material used to make the hat. The more Xs a cowboy hat has, the higher the quality of the material.

For example, a cowboy hat with one X is made of wool or felt, while a hat with three Xs is made of beaver fur. A cowboy hat with ten Xs is the highest quality and is made of pure beaver.

The X’s can also be different colors, indicating specific shades of felt. For example, Silverbelly hats have black Xs, while other colors may have white or gold Xs.

Conclusion

Cowboy hats come in a variety of shapes and styles, allowing you to choose a hat that suits your personality and needs. When shopping for a cowboy hat, consider the brim shape, crown shape, and material.

The Xs on cowboy hats indicate the quality of the material used and play a role in the cost of the hat. Whether you choose a felt or straw cowboy hat, there’s a style and material to fit your lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Cowboy hats have been around for a long time, and as a result, there are many questions people have about them. Here are some frequently asked questions about choosing and caring for cowboy hats.

How to Choose a Cowboy Hat Shape

Choosing the right cowboy hat shape can be challenging. Your best bet is to visit a reputable hat retailer who understands the different styles and can help you choose the best hat for your desired use and face structure.

The shape of the hat should complement the shape of your face. If you have an oval face, most hat shapes will work for you.

If you have a round face, you may want to choose a hat with a higher crown to elongate your face. If you have a long face, a wider brimmed hat can balance out your features.

Most Popular Cowboy Hat Shape

The most popular cowboy hat shape is the Cattleman Crease, with a Rancher brim shape coming in as a close second. The Cattleman Crease is the most traditional cowboy hat style.

It has a tall crown, and two slight dips in the front and back of the hat. The Rancher brim shape is wider than the Cattleman Crease, making it more suitable for daily ranch work.

What Kind of Hats Do Real Cowboys Wear? Real cowboys wear hats from a variety of brands, but some of the most popular include Stetson, Greeley Hat Works, Resistol, American Hat Makers, and Shortys Hattery.

These brands offer hats that are functional for ranch work and stylish enough for rodeos and other western events.

Cowboy Hat Styles Explained

Cowboy hat styles are essentially a mix of brim shape and crown crease. The most popular brim shapes include the Western, Bull Rider, and Rancher, while popular crown creases include the Cattleman Crease, Pinch Front, and Brick Crease.

The style of cowboy hat you choose depends on the look you’re going for. The Western brim shape is the most common and provides great sun protection.

The Bull Rider brim shape offers more shade and is popular among rodeo riders. The Pinch Front crown crease has a vintage feel to it, while the Brick Crease is more modern.

Best Hat Shapes for Face Shapes

The shape of your face is an important consideration when choosing a cowboy hat. Here are some tips for selecting the best hat shape for your face:

1.

Oval Face: Most hat shapes work well for oval faces, but a medium-brimmed hat with a moderate crown height is an ideal choice. 2.

Round Face: A hat with a tall crown and a medium to wide brim can elongate a round face. 3.

Long Face: A wider brimmed hat with a moderate to low crown can balance out a long face. 4.

Square Face: A medium to wide brimmed hat with a moderate crown height can soften the features of a square face. 5.

Heart-Shaped Face: A hat with a medium brim and a high crown can complement a heart-shaped face. 6.

Diamond Face: A hat with a medium brim and a moderate to high crown can balance out the features of a diamond face.

How to Shape and Store a Cowboy Hat

Shaping and storing your cowboy hat correctly can help keep it looking great for years to come. Here are some tips:

1.

Use steam to shape your hat. Hold your hat over steam from a kettle or a pot of boiling water, then reshape the brim and crown to your liking.

2. Store your hat on a hat rack or a hat box.

If you have a lot of hats, a wall-mounted hat rack can be a good option. If you don’t have many hats, a hat box can protect your hat from dust and wear and tear.

3. Make sure to store your hat with the brim facing downwards.

This will help prevent the brim from becoming misshapen. 4.

Never store a wet hat or put it in a plastic bag. The dampness can cause mold or mildew to grow on the hat, and the plastic can trap moisture, which can damage the material.

Conclusion

Cowboy hats have a rich history and are still an iconic symbol of the American West. Choosing the right cowboy hat shape can be difficult, but with the help of a reputable hat retailer, you can find the perfect style for your needs.

Real cowboys wear hats from a variety of brands, with Stetson, Greeley Hat Works, Resistol, American Hat Makers, and Shortys Hattery being some of the most popular. Knowing how to care for and shape your cowboy hat can help ensure that it lasts for years to come.

Follow these tips and enjoy your cowboy hat for years to come.

Popular Posts