Cowboy Hats – From the Wild West to Today

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The cowboy hat is a wide-brimmed and high-crowned hat made famous by North American cowman over 150 years ago; not as a fashion accessory, but as a functional piece of day to day wear that protects the wearer from the sun and rain, and can even be used as a water bowl.

The cowboy hat was invented by John Batterson Stetson, who, as the story goes, stumbled across the design while amusing his friends by making cloth out of fur without weaving. After making his ‘fur blanket’, Stetson created a huge brimmed hat that he noted was wide enough to protect a man from the sun and rain, and he decided the wear it for the rest of the trip. Stetson began manufacturing the men’s hats back in 1865 and the original Stetson hat was sold for five dollars.

Modern cowboy hat’s are now long loved for their unique style and function, and receive instant recognition across the world as a quintessential symbol of the cowboy culture. Authentic hats are made of fur-based felt, straw or leather, but the best quality cowboy hats are made of beaver or rabbit fur.

Today cowboy hats are worn by those who identify themselves with sharing cultural aspects of the American West, such as ranch workers, country-western singers and participants in rodeo games. While traditional cowboy hats are produced by a wide range of companies, some of the most noteworthy and authentic brands are Stetson, Henschel, Greeley, Milano or Toby Keith.

Cowboy hats have also become a favourite accessory of American presidents during election periods, including Roosevelt, Hoover, Ford, Reagan and President Bush, and have even been adopted by the law-enforcement agency the Texas Rangers as part of their uniform. They have even made an appearance in US TV shows, most prominently worn by the famous cowboy and crime fighting TV star, the Lone Ranger, who sported a white cowboy hat throughout his TV series.

There’s no doubting that cowboy hats look great on just about anyone, and it’s no surprise then that non-traditional cowboy hats are now worn as fashion accessories and fun fancy dress items across the world. From felt covered plastic to bright pink faux fur accessories covered with flashing lights, nothing makes a statement like a cowboy hat and they can really spice up your wardrobe and give your that exotic and mysterious look.

write by John Rogers

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