Cowboy hats are made in all shapes, colors, sizes, and materials, but share the same basic qualities. They have a tall crown with a wide brim and an inner band for a snug fit. Most are made of felt or straw but can be found in leather too.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the ten-gallon hat made by Stetson. The original commercial showed a cowboy using the hat to water his thirsty steed! It turns out a ten-gallon Stetson only holds three liters of water and it is not recommended to use it as a water bucket for your horse. The commercial illustrated the tight weave of the felt and high quality of the Stetson hat. The ten-gallon is a very popular hat among old-school cowboys, actors, country music stars, and politicians such a Rick Santorum and Ronald Reagan.
Besides watering your hoss, cowboy hats can be used to fan a campfire, block the midday sun for a siesta, and hide offensive morning bed head.
A classy felt cowboy hat is often seen with a shiny purty band around it. Bands can match the hat or a contrasting color can be used. A black band on a sand colored hat would look sharp and a teeny tiny silver buckle is a must.
A black felt hat is thought of as a winter hat and as a formal hat. A light colored straw cowboy hat is cool for summer and wind drifting through offers a bit of air conditioning. Traditional straw hats are commonly worn for work and can be obtained at a rock bottom price. If a straw hat is worn to a day event or into the evening hours its probably a blingy, raffia, and maybe bejeweled type hat. Picture a hat you would wear floating down the river on your inner tube with a bikini and Bud Light.
A very useful accessory that comes with certain hats is called a stampede strap. Can you guess what it is? The stampede strap holds that hat on your head in times of high wind, like when you are galloping REALLY fast! STAMPEDE!!
Hats come is different shapes “off the rack” or can be shaped to fit the way you like. The shape of a hat is really just personal preference. Some people like the sides curled up really tight like the super-sexy Kenny Chesney. Some people like the front brim dropped a bit, like the famous bareback diva Stacy Westfall.
There are a couple Do’s and Don’ts to be aware of before embarking on your hat adventure.
Don’t wear your hat backwards or you will be called a city slicker (great movie). To prevent this cowgirl faux pa, check to make sure the narrow part of the hat is in the front and the band buckle or other adornment is on the left side.
Do follow the same basic rules a man wearing a hat would. Remove your hat inside a home and for meals. If you are at a cookout or on the range, leave it on.
Now go out there and make a good decision!