If you are a fan of western fashion, you will have a collection of cowboy hats in your wardrobe for sure. Ever since John B. Stetson invented the iconic hat in 1865, cattlemen facing the brunt of the blistering sun in the dusty plains took to it in ever-increasing numbers. In no time, the macho look and the unique style statement made it wildly popular even with people who had nothing to do with taking care of cattle. However, if you want to create a splash wherever you go, you need to choose the cowboy hat with care and wear it in the right way. Some handy tips for wearing a cowboy hat with pizzazz:

Understanding What a Cowboy Hat Is

A cowboy hat, also known as a Western hat, features a wide brim designed to protect the wearer from the blazing sunlight and gusty winds. The very first cowboy hat, “The Boss of the Plains”, designed by John B. Stetson in 1865, proved to be a runaway hit with ranchers, cattlemen, and rodeo riders. The fur-felt hat with a tall crown, straight sides, and a wide brim, inspired by the headgear of the Mexican vaqueros was designed to give the best protection from the elements and was waterproof. Over time, the iconic hat has evolved, and today, you get a wide choice of styles and materials. Most fashionable cowboy hats today are made of straw, which is lightweight and more comfortable to wear in the heat.

Choosing the Right Cowboy Hat 

Buying a cowboy hat is a matter of personal preference, depending on your sense of style, the occasion, and the weather. While there are many cowboy hat styles to choose from with variations in the height, the shape and creases in the crown, the width, and the shape of the brim, and other considerations, the overriding factor you must consider is a good fit and whether you look good it in. Getting the fit right is vital because a loose hat will sit low on your head, get in the way of your ears, fall off easily when you bend and may blow off in the wind. A hat that sits too tight on your head will cause chafing marks on your forehead and sides of the head and will be uncomfortable to wear for long durations.

If you buy a cowboy hat from any reputed manufacturer, you can go by their published hat size charts; however, if you want to be perfectly sure about the right size, there is nothing to beat getting your head measured. You can ask a store specializing in western hats for men to do it for you or you can do it at home using a measuring tape. The correct way of doing it is to place the tape in the middle of your forehead just above the ears and wrap it firmly around your head. If your size is in between the hat sizes available, you should always choose the smaller size since the hat expands a little with use. At first, many cowboy hats feel tight, and it is only after some time, that they break in and become comfortable, very much like new boots.

Looking good in a cowboy hat also depends on how well you suit the shape of the hat to the shape of your face. If you have an oval-shaped face, you are lucky because you can wear just about any cowboy hat style. If you have a round face, you will look good in a hat with a tall crown and a slanted brim. People with long and narrow faces will do well to wear hats with rounded crowns and curved brims; however, if they have heart-shaped faces, a teardrop-shaped crown, and a narrow brim will complement your looks well.

Completing the Western Look

With cowboy hats coming in many styles, you can be sure you will find one to suit your fashion sense for all occasions. While a black cowboy hat goes perfectly on formal occasions, you can wear a straw cowboy hat to casual parties and events. When the fun is in the air, you can complete the Western look with cowboy boots, a pair of blue jeans, and a button-down plaid shirt. You can, however, as easily pair it with a T-shirt on a day out with buddies.

Cowboy Hat Etiquette

There are plenty of dos and don’ts regarding cowboy hat etiquette. If you are new to cowboy hats, you can be forgiven for being confused trying to figure out which is the front of the hat. The secret is to spot the small bow on the inside of the hat fixed to the sweatband. You should wear a hat so that the bow is at the back of your head.

You must remove your hat when you are entering a building or home, but once inside, you can wear it again though it is customary not to wear hats indoors when visiting someone’s home or when you are attending a formal occasion. You should not wear a hat when attending an indoor wedding, in church, or at funerals. If you are wearing your hat outdoors and a funeral procession passes by, you should remove your hat in respect.

The kind of cowboy hat you wear also depends on the season. According to SeniorCare2Share, it is a convention to wear straw cowboy hats from Memorial Day until Labor Day and fur-felt hats for the rest of the year. However, there is no hard and fast rule. If you live in a place with warm weather all the year, you will feel more comfortable in a straw hat due to its better breathability and low weight, while in a cold place; a felt hat is cozier.


Choosing the tight cowboy hat is not rocket science, however, you need to put comfort ahead of style. You should also be able to carry off the hat confidently and not feel and look awkward wearing a cowboy hat. In addition to the occasion and the weather, wearing a cowboy hat with élan is more to do with your attitude and confidence.


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