How to Wear a Cowboy Hat

Do you know how to wear a cowboy hat? It is tempting to buy a modern cowboy hat from the street and wear it without a second thought. However, this move can make you fail to steal the show.

The rules that govern the wearing of a cowboy hat came into existence in 1865 when John B. Stetson made the first traditional cowboy hat. So what else should you know about cowboy hats?

Man wearing cowboy hat

Where to Buy Cowboy Hats

Amazon is one of the online shops where you can buy a cowboy hat. You can get an array of colors, sizes, and designs of cowboy hats from this platform. 

Some of the designs that Amazon sells include Wide Brim Felt Cowboy Hat, Resistol Men’s 4X Pageant Queen White Felt Cowgirl Hat, Stetson Men’s Bozeman Outdoor Hat, Stetson Cowboy, and Stetson Dune Gun Club Hat, among others.

eBay is another online platform that sells cowboy hats. Once you log in to its website, you have an option to narrow down your search either by the size of the cowboy or its material. You can also check the ones that the company has already displayed on its website.

Browsing online can also help you identify cowboy hats shops close to you. So, the list of cowboy shops is endless.

When shopping for a cowboy hat, you can find several designs. The following are some of the designs that you can get in the market:

  1. The Cattleman’s Crease: The Stetson Thunder 10X Straw is an example of a cowboy hat with the cattleman’s crease design. It has a traditional style that features a three-part top crown crease and a curved brim.
  2. The Boss of Plains: 7x Denim Open Crown is an example of the Boss of Plains cowboy hat. It is an open-crown hat with no crease. This was the pioneering design of cowboy hats.
  3. The Pinch Front: Charlie One Horse Highway 61 Silverbelly is an example of the pinch front cowboy hat. Its crown has dual pinches that form a V-shape.
  4. The Dakota: An excellent example of the Dakota style is the Resistol Smokin’ Gun cowboy hat. It has four pinched corners that make it have a square shape. It is a bull riders’ favorite.
  5. Flat: Stetson 6X Rio Grande Silver Belly 61 is an example of a flat cowboy hat. It has a wide brim that does not have any curves. In other words, it has a flat brim.
  6. Low Rodeo: An example of a Low Rodeo is the Rodeo King Bullrider 5X Slate. It has a low-rolled brim and a variety of crowns. It is ideal for protecting the face and neck from the sun.
  7. Tracker brim: Rodeo King Pecan Tracker Felt is an example of the tracker brim cowboy hat. Its brim is moderately wide, and it has a pinch front crown. Also, one side of the rim has an upward curve.

Is There a Thing Such as Cowboy Hat Etiquette?

Yes. You have to observe a specific etiquette when wearing a cowboy hat. Doing so helps you tip your cowboy hat appropriately. The following are some of the dos and don’ts to know about wearing cowboy hats:

  1. You should take your cowboy hat off after entering a hotel or any building.
  2. If you attend a formal occasion in a building, you should remove your cowboy hat. However, if the event is informal, you can wear the hat back.
  3. You can keep your cowboy hat on your head when eating casually on the counter. However, your cowboy hat should come off your head when you sit to eat in a restaurant.
  4. Keep your cowboy hat on your head when on the range. You can also eat on the range while wearing it.  
  5. Never steal the hat of a cowboy. Also, never touch it. A hat is a personal item to a cowboy. So, leave it alone.  

How to Wear a Cowboy Hat Correctly

If you want to wear a cowboy hat correctly, you follow a specific procedure. The following are the steps that you should follow:

Choose the Correct Size

Your cowboy hat should fit on your head correctly. It should fit snugly on your head. Before making a purchase, you should know the size of your head first. Better still, you can try the hat on before buying it.

Ignore Your Critics

Never ask anyone whether you should buy a cowboy heart. Some will discourage you from doing it while citing several reasons. Remember, you want to buy a cowboy hat to look confident or rugged. Also, it was your idea. So, carry on with your plans to buy your cowboy hat without looking for a second opinion.

Adjust Your Current Hat

If your current cowboy hat is big, you can adjust it to fit you. First, you should buy a foam strip that makes a hat fit your head tightly. The shape of your head determines whether you will put the foam strip all around the hat, front and back parts of the hat, sides of the hat, and front or back part of the hat.

To identify the best part of the cowboy hat to put the foam strip on, wear your hat and feel the part it fits loosely. For example, a hat that sits too low on your head requires a foam strip all around it.

Your hat should have a band on its inside part where you can flip up and flip down after placing the foam strip.

Select the Right Hat

Cowboy hats come in several sizes, designs, and colors. Also, they can have felt (rabbit or beaver pelt), straw, and leather material. Felt hats are warm and ideal for cold seasons. Straw hats befit warm seasons.

Shape the Hat

You can bend and squeeze your cowboy hat gently to give it the shape you want. However, the material of the hat determines the hat’s flexibility. If you prefer the back and front of the brim to be flat, curl the sides of the hat gently to make them stick out. You can also opt to dent the crown’s sides. Remember, never use any tools when shaping your hat. Use your hands.

Adjust Your Hair

Your hair should not prevent your cowboy hat rest well on your head. If you have short hair, you do not need to adjust it. However, long hair calls for slicking for it to lay smoothly. Alternatively, you can tie your hair at the back to make a ponytail. So, never pile your hair on top of your head before wearing your cowboy hat.

Ensure the Bow is at the Back

If you want to differentiate between the front and the back sides of your cowboy hat, look at the bow ribbon inside the hat. The bow rests at the backside of the hat. To spot the bow, look inside the hat on the headband lining.

Some cowboy hats do not have a bow. So how can you identify the front and back sides of such a hat? First, look for the narrow and wide sides. The narrow side is the front side of the hat.

Angle Your Brim

The position of your hat determines how you look. If you want a social and casual look, tilt up the front part of your cowboy hat. You should see your forehead halfway. Lowering the brim above your eyebrows gives you a mysterious look. If you slant the hat to your left or right side, you will have a confident look.

Wear the Right Outfit

Jeans, button-up shirts, and cowboy boots are outfits that go well with cowboy hats. The shirt should be plaid or have a plain color. A flannel shirt is also an option to wear with a cowboy hat.

A pair of jeans that goes well with a cowboy hat is the straight-leg blue jeans. It should not have side pockets, fancy designs, back pockets’ extra buttons, intentional bleaching, or stain marks. So, it should be classic blue jeans.

Boots complement a cowboy hat perfectly. However, you can look odd when wearing a cowboy hat and sneakers. If you can, get boots with a color that matches the color of your hat.

Remember to tuck in your shirt when you put on a cowboy hat. Also, a brown or black leather belt can give you a good look. You can opt for a belt with a fancy buckle.

Do not Overdo Yourself

If you are a first-time cowboy hat wearer, show some restraint. Temptations to wear everything and do everything the Western cowboys do are usually high. However, you can fight them. Wear one cowboy item at a time. So, avoid chewing tobacco and wearing studs, bandanas, and shiny buckles after wearing your first cowboy hat.

Select Your Cowboy Icon

Real men and women always look good in cowboy hats. Some celebrities look natural in the hats, while others look confident. So, you can opt to follow the hat style of a star that you like.

How Should a Cowboy Hat Fit?

A lady or a guy wearing a cowboy hat should give it its due respect. If you wear an oversize cowboy, you will look odd. Anything can also knock off the hat. On the other hand, wearing a cowboy hat that is too small can make you feel uncomfortable. You will also look squished.

When can you wear a cowboy hat? You do it when working, plowing fields, riding horses, and cleaning barns, among other laborious tasks. So, your cowboy hat should fit you well.

If you bought an unshaped hat, shape it to make it fit you. Open-brimmed, un-creased cowboy hats can give you a customized look. If you do not know any creased style, you can start with the part of the hat above your eyes to prevent the taco look. However, you should select the creased type that you want before buying a cowboy hat.

When you wear a new cowboy hat, it should fit snugly around your head. Also, it should feel slightly uncomfortable. This is because cowboy hats expand when exposed to heat. Given that your head produces heat, it will loosen up the hat after wearing it for a long time.

Straw cowboy hats should fit tighter than the pelt ones. This is because the wind tends to blow the straw hats out of position because they are light. Pelt cowboy hats are heavy, and they rest firmly on your head, even on windy days.

If you want to tilt your cowboy hat, your face determines the angle of the brim. The following are some of the faces and their respective tilting angles:

  1. Oblong face: If you have a thin elongated face, your cowboy hat should not be too tall or short. Such a hat can exaggerate your face length. An oblong face requires a medium height of the crown. Also, it requires a wide curved brim instead of flat or short brims.
  2. Round face: A cowboy heart with a slanted brim and a high crown is ideal for people with round faces. Such a face is symmetrical, and it needs asymmetrical shapes to balance it. So, tilt your hat forward, backward, or to the sides. Avoid cowboy hats with round crowns and wide brims. Such hats over-accentuate your round face.
  3. Diamond face: If you have wide cheekbones, a short forehead, and narrow jaws, you require a cowboy hat with a shallow crown and a wide to moderate brim. Such a hat can elongate your facial features. Never wear floppy hats because they shorten your face and cast shadows on your angular facial features.
  4. Square face: If your face has a square jawline, strong cheekbones, and a broad forehead, round cowboy hats with curved brims can be your match. Such a hat can soften your striking angles. You can also wear floppy cowboy hats with soft brims.

What Are the Cowboy Hat Color Rules?

Light colors reflect heat. On the other hand, dark colors retain heat. For example, if you wear a black cowboy hat, you can feel hot because black can absorb sunlight. However, black remains the most popular color for cowboy hats. Also, it is the number one selling color of cowboy hats. 

The second popular color is brown. It is one of the fastest-growing cowboy hat colors, especially among men.

Do you know how to choose the best color of a cowboy hat? When making a choice, opt for neutral colors. For example, the black color complements almost all outfit colors. However, classic tan or brown cowboy hats are a staple in most Western wardrobes.

Cowboy Hats in different colors

Why Do Cowboys Wear Hats?

In the early days, cowboys wore hats purely for function rather than to make a fashion statement. The hat protects its wearer from weather elements. It also provides them with shade when the sun gets hot.

Cowboy hats also keep the wearer warm during cold weather. Cowboys can also use their hats to fan fire and drink water. A cowboy can wave their hat to catch the attention of a fellow cowboy riding at a distance.

Can you put on a cowboy hat without being a real cowboy? The answer is yes. The rules that govern the wearing of cowboy hats do not prohibit anyone from wearing the hat. Currently, cowboys are wearing hats to make a fashion statement. Such hats feature decorations that make them look fancy.

Sometimes, lawbreakers also wear cowboy hats to look fierce. So, one can wear a cowboy to look intimidating.

Cowboy hats are also a means of identification. The early horse-riding sheriffs used to wear hats. Also, you can still find some of them still wearing cowboy hats, but without the boots.

Actors wear cowboy hats to stand out from the crowd. Several cowboy hat styles bear the name of those who wore them when acting.

When Does Straw Hat Season Start?

The straw hat season begins on Easter. However, it may get cold up North during Easter. So, you should continue wearing your felt cowboy hat if you are a Northerner to keep you warm. However, you can wear your straw hat whenever the weather allows you, especially from May to Labor Day. So, when the weather gets warm, put on your straw hat to feel cool.

When Should You Remove Your Cowboy Hat?

  1. When singing the national anthem, pledge of alliance, or raising a flag, you should remove your cowboy hat.
  2. When you pray or go to a church service, take your cowboy hat off.
  3. When you meet someone for the first time, especially an elder, take off your cowboy hat.
  4. When you attend an indoor wedding, your cowboy hat should come off.
  5. When you attend an indoor funeral, take off your cowboy hat. The same applies when a casket passes you during a funeral procession. During the parade, your right hand should hold your hat, and you should place your right hand on your chest over the heart. You can opt to put the hat over your heart while holding it with your right hand. 
  6. When someone introduces you to a woman, hold the crown of your cowboy hat and take it off with your left hand. Afterward, shake the hand of the woman with your right hand. 
  7. Take your cowboy hat off when meeting a religious leader. 
  8. When you begin a conversation with anyone, take your cowboy hat off. However, keep it on when saying hello and passing someone.  
  9. When visiting a private home, take your cowboy hat off. However, keep it on if everyone else is wearing it. 
  10. When removing your cowboy hat, always hold it by its crown. If the hat has a firm brim, you can hold it when taking off the hat. However, never hold the edge of the brim when taking the hat off. 
  11. If you need to adjust your cowboy hat, always do so while holding its crown. 
  12. If you want to rest your cowboy hat, never lay it down by its brim. Instead, its crown should rest on the surface, and the brim should be up. Better still, use a hat stand or rack to lay the hat. 
  13. Never display the inside of your cowboy hat to the public. The interior of the crown and the hatband are for your eyes only. 
Removing Cowboy Hat

What Your Cowboy Hat Says About You

Do you want to strike a confident or flirty look? Wear a cowboy hat. Tilting the hat can alter how people perceive you. The hat can also tell your place of origin. For example, cowboys that wear flat hatter come from Texas. The flat hatter has a taco crease.

Cowboys from Montana also wear the flat hatter. This hat has become increasingly popular in Montana, even though it did not originate there.

If you want to identify cowboys from Mexico, look for a cowboy hat with a pointed crown and wide brim. Such a hat is ideal for cattle herders.

Cowboy hats can also tell your profession. For example, North American Rodeo circuit performers usually wear the flat hatter. Music performers are also fond of cowboy hats. These hats give the confidence of star performers.

Do you know how to keep your cowboy hat in good shape? Let us discuss some of the tips for maintaining the hat.

Handle the Crown and Brim Carefully 

The crown and brim of your cowboy hat are integral parts of the hat. Maltreating them makes the hat lose its shape. If you want to handle the hat correctly, hold the crown or the back of the brim when putting on or taking it off. 

Store Your Cowboy Hat Appropriately

Your cowboy hat should never lay around. A hat stand comes in handy when you need to store the hat. Alternatively, you can hand it on a post or a coat rack. If you must lay it down, lay it down crown first. Its brim should never rest on any surface. You can also opt to store it in its original packaging box.

Keep Your Cowboy Hat in a Cool Place

Excess heat can damage your cowboy hat. A lot of heat can also make a fur cowboy hat shrink. So, always ensure that you keep the hat in a cool and dry place. Never leave the hat in a truck or car.

Dry Your Cowboy Hat Naturally

If your cowboy hat gets wet, dry it naturally. Never use a hair drier, clothes drier, stove, or other artificial heaters to dry the hat. Instead, you should lay it on a hat rack and wait for it to dry.

Give Your Cowboy Hat an Occasional Gentle Brushing

Brush your cowboy hat occasionally using a gentle brush to remove dirt, dust, and lint. Brush light-colored hats using a light-colored brush. Also, use a dark-colored brush on dark-colored hats. During the brushing process, follow the leather grain.

Now that you know so much about cowboy hats, it is time to change the game. Get a cowboy hat that sets you apart from others. Never forget its etiquette too. Also, keep it in the best shape.