An Overview of the History of Cowboy Hats

close up of cowboy hat and lasso

Besides boots, nothing else represents a Western hat than straw cowboy caps for sale. Have you ever wondered, though, whether it is mainly for function or fashion? What about its history? Why do cowboys love these hats than the others?

The History of Cowboy Hats

The actual history of cowboy hats is hard to determine. Some people say that the Vaqueros of Mexico, who were strong-willed cattle herders themselves, inspired their designs. Perhaps the most popular story involves John B. Stetson.

Stetson was a Philadelphia man who ran a successful hat business. Legend has it that once, while he was hunting, he created a felt from the fur of animals he killed. He transformed the material into a wide-brimmed hat, which he wore during the entire trip.

What is fact is that in 1865, he launched what might have been the first mainstream cowboy hat. The design, though, was so different from what it looks today. It had a flat crown as opposed to a high one these days. It also did not have a crease. The edges of the brim were smooth. Back then, the materials used were from animal fur for durability.

What Are the Uses of the Cowboy Hats?

The function was the primary reason for the use and popularity of the cowboy hats. Ranchers and herders spent a lot of time on the field. They were always exposed to harmful elements, such as the sun and the rain.

cowboy wearing hat with lasso in hand while riding on horse

The hat features a wide brim, so it protects not only the head but also the face. It can help prevent glare during the daytime. The shape of the crown can assist in removing the hat quickly.

Before, the cowboy hats used animal fur. These days, many now utilize straw, which can reduce the absorption of heat. Straw hats are also cheaper, so more people can afford them.

Your purpose for purchasing a cowboy hat will help you decide whether it must be made of fur or wool felt. Wool is an excellent option since it results in the least expensive felt. On the other hand, rabbit or beaver fur felt is more durable and practical.

Usually, you can discern the traits of people by looking at their choice of headwear. With that in mind, few hats make powerful statements more than cowboy hats. You can wear one to protect yourself from the extreme heat of the sun or the freezing temperatures of winter. Alternatively, your hat might only be a fashion statement. Nonetheless, a cowboy hat can be the most customized piece of clothing in your wardrobe. The tilt, quality, and condition of your hat can speak volumes about your personality. By wearing a cowboy hat, you can make a great first impression without having to say a word.

In the end, the designs of cowboy hats might have changed over the years, but one thing remains the same. Throughout history, its purpose has always been to serve the wearer, protecting them from harm when they are outdoors.