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Vol. 2 - No.8 August, 2020 Nooseletter Home SUBMIT AN ARTICLE
Rich in History
The Evolution of the Iconic Cowboy Hat at a Glance
The Evolution of the Iconic Cowboy Hat at a Glance
The concept of the cowboy hat worn by a rider on horseback can be seen as far back as the 13th century. The sombrero first appeared in the 15th century, designed in response to the demands of the physical environment. By the early 19th century, the Vaqueros changed the current wide-brimmed cowboy hat they had been wearing, which was based on the sombrero. They redesigned the hat and made it with a tall crown to provide insulation and made the brim wider to provide shade from the hot and sunny climates of Mexico. They also curved the edges upwards so it wouldn't interfere with the rope.
In the Old West, hats came off the rack with a flat brim and an open crown, undyed and un-creased. Cowboys began naturally custom-shaping their hats, and so the cowboy hat underwent changes in shape to better suit the needs of its owner. Pioneer day laborers shaped their hats with wear and use. As the pinched the crown putting the hat on or taking it off, creases naturally formed. Cowboys in windy regions had more crown pinching because it gave the hat less lift. Some forced the brims up front likely to enhance their range of vision. Over time, the cowboy hat evolved into the form we are more familiar with today.
Get your cowboy hats at Boot Barn.
Old West Style: the flat brim provided shade, the open crown held in heat.
Get your cowboy hats at Boot Barn.
While panning for gold in Colorado in the 1860s, John B. Stetson noticed that Americans who made the trek out West were not wearing proper hats. They either had narrow brims that didn't suffice out in the elements or they were made of wool which drooped when soaking wet. As the son or a professional hat maker, he quickly made the first official American cowboy hat, a wide-brimmed fir felt hat made of beaver, rabbit, and other small animals. He named the hat the "Boss of the Plains" and it became instantly popular due to its durability, ideal for the demands of the working cowboy. By 1915, Stetson had become the world's largest hat company.
Get your cowboy hats at Boot Barn.
Cowboy Hat at Boot Barn
The brim and creases of the cowboy hat have evolved over time based on the cowboy's region and personal preference. Cowboys today prefer different hats and hat shapes based on their lifestyle. Modern cowboy hats are labeled with Xs. The X designation for cowboy hats originalted from counting the amount of beaver/felt in a hat. The more beaver fur in the hat, the better quality the hat is, and the more Xs it is assigned. The marketting world picked this up for straw hats and it is now and indicator of a straw cowboy hat's quality as well.
Cowboy Hat at Boot Barn

by Boot Barn

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