The Modern Cowboy Hat
Cowboy hats are trending—and for good reason. Learn the history of this western-inspired headpiece, and discover new ways to style your own cowboy hat.
Cowboy hats are a trending, fashionable, and elegant hat style with a rich historical background and a strong, confident personality.
Cowboy hats feature a high, pinched crown (which makes for easy holding and wearing). Wide brim cowboy hats are perfect for shielding the wearer’s face, head and eyes from the elements.
This trendy yet timeless headpiece dates back to the 1860s, when original vaqueros, or Mexican cowboys, wore similarly styled somberos as they herded cattle. After some transformations and adaptation to different fabrics and designs, John B. Stetson created the style we all know and love in 1865.
A recent uptick in celebrities who’ve taken the western hat back into mainstream pop culture has caused a surge of interest in this classic hat. The fashion director of GQ, Luke Day, for example, wears his Stetson everywhere.
The emergence of the country rap music genre, led by cowboy hat-sporting artists like Lil Nas X and Mason Ramsey, is also a factor in the growing popularity of western hats. Even billionaire Jeff Bezos wore a 10-gallon cattleman cowboy hat on his return from the recent Blue Origin New Shepard space flight.
Modern cowboy hats come in various styles, with different materials and colors that add flair and versatility to any wardrobe. From special occasions to a long workday outdoors, there’s always a good reason to wear a western hat. And thanks to the wide variety of features in modern cowboy hats, anyone can find a look they love.
Choosing the perfect cowboy hat for yourself comes down to personal preference at the end of the day. However, here are some guidelines to consider when shopping and trying out different styles of cowboy hats.
The varying heights, widths, and styles of a cowboy hat can bring out the best of different face shapes. Once you’ve determined your own face shape, take a look at these tips to narrow down your search:
- Round Faces: A cowboy hat with a slanted brim and taller crown would be a flattering option.
- Oval-Shaped Faces: Good news! Just about any type of cowboy hat fits your shape.
- Oblong Faces: A western hat with a medium-height crown can bring balance and elegance to your appearance.
- Square Faces: Cowboy hats with round crowns and curved brims (and with minimal angles) should fit you best.
- Heart-Shaped Faces: Look for a teardrop-shaped crown and shorter brim in your new western hat. Does it fit comfortably?
To save yourself the trouble of trying on hat after cowboy hat, looking for the elusive perfect fit, take a tape measure, wrap it around your head from the middle of your forehead above the ears, and note the measurement. Then, take a look at the hat size charts that most cowboy hat manufacturers publish along with their offerings, and choose from the styles offered in the sizes closest to your measurements.
The cowboy hat should sit comfortably on your head without feeling too snug or too loose, and should stay in place even when you tilt it at the desired angle to achieve that confident, stylish look.
Thanks to their cultural significance and distinctive appearance, the best cowboy hats have an aura all their own. As you shop for your new western hat, explore the many different ways this unique hat style can enhance your regular outfits to highlight your personal style and add an extra touch of cultured elegance.
Having the right cowboy hat is just the first step, though. Now you’re probably wondering how to wear a cowboy hat.
If this is your first time purchasing and styling a cowboy hat—or even if you feel like you’re a veteran, consider the following “cowboy rules” on properly wearing a cowboy hat.
- Not sure which side is the front? Look for a small bow tied to the sweatband on the inside of your cowboy hat, and make sure it goes to the back of your head. If there’s a buckle or feather plume tucked under the band, they should be on the left side of your head. In general, the front of the hat is narrower than the back. You can also use the manufacturer’s label in the interior sweatband to properly wear your cowboy hat.
- The best cowboy hats need some time to be broken in, just like authentic cowboy boots. A properly fitted hat might feel a little too snug until you’ve worn it for a while.
- If you’ve watched old western movies before, you already know that most cultured cowboys take off their hats when entering a public building or private home. Make it a habit to remove your western hat indoors.
- Even the way you put your hat down when you’re not wearing it matters. When sitting down to dinner, place the hat down on the crown with the opening of the hat turned upwards to protect the brim from being flattened overtime. Another option is to hang it on a nearby hat rack
- As with other hats, remove your cowboy hat in church and at weddings and funerals as a show of respect.
- Match the type of cowboy hat to the weather. Straw western hats are usually worn from May until Labor Day, while felt hats can be worn year-round. Consider the climate and weather where you live as you shop for your western hat.
- Tipping your hat is a silent way of showing respect. In the code of the Old West, men would only tip their hat to women, not other men; but in either case, nowadays it’s an elegant way to acknowledge someone important.
The 4” upturned brim gives the coffee-colored Bronco Western Hat a flair and personality all its own. A metal crest pin and genuine leather band give this classic an added touch of timeless elegance that complements both formal and informal outfits.
Refined Western style made with cruelty-free wool, the Cohen Cowboy Hat comes with a structured wide brim and an adjustable interior sweatband. This hat pairs perfectly with solid colored jackets and casual shirts. Felt ones come in colors such as Dove, Desert Palm, Mahogany, Coffee and Black, while straw Cohen hats come in Dark Tan and Washed Black.
Our Sedona Reserve Cowboy Hat gives an elegantly elevated twist to the classic western hat. Coming in three different colors to suit multiple seasons and different outfits styles, this hat features a 100% suede band, an elegant metal plaque, a custom gold foil art appliqué under the band, and a genuine 100% leather interior sweatband. To top it all off, the hat itself is made from cruelty-free wool. Colors include Mojave and Dove.
A western-inspired high-crown hat with a thin grosgrain band and metal Brixton pin, our Topeka Cowboy Hat features a short stiff brim and is made from 100% wool felt that is sustainably sourced. Color choices include Dark Gray and Beige.
The cowboy hat can be an elegant, stylish, western-inspired addition to your personal wardrobe.
As a timeless classic, our Sedona Reserve complements most casual outfits, such as plaid or solid-colored jackets and shirts. The Bronco Cowboy Hat matches well with a pressed plaid shirt and dark-colored jeans for a classy and classic look.
How you wear a cowboy hat greatly affects your overall appearance and outfit personality. As you experiment with your new cowboy hat, try tilting the front of the hat up for a more casual, lounging look, or slant if forward to add a bit of cowboy mystique. For most occasions, however, a simple level slant (with the brim parallel with the ground) works well.
Brixton's best cowboy hats balance heritage western styles with modern elegance, and can be a statement item worn conventionally or unconventionally with unique and personality-driven styling for both men and women.
By blending the classics with modern aesthetics, Brixton’s headpieces bring a touch of class and elegance to any outfit. Shop our full offerings of elevated cowboy hats today!
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