The characters of the Western movies that depicted the violent and adventurous lives of cowboys, ranch keepers, and the band of outlaws all wearing the quintessential cowboy hats have influenced fashion and style in its way. Their daring gun blazing acts turned many of them into the heroes of our dreams as people appreciated their bravery and stunts. The attention that the characters received soon inspired people to emulate their styles but not their lifestyle, and it contributed to the popularity of cowboy hats.
The cowboy hats have a history of a few centuries during which they remained the emblem of male fashion, but in due course of time, they turned into a fashion accessory for women. Although you might not find a cowgirl hat, you will find plenty of womens western hats that are now part of the mainstream. Women keen to recreate the memories of the Wild West by fusing the style of country musicians and ranch workers with some modern tweaks are ardent lovers of cowboy hats.
Whether men or women wear the hats, the design and profile of the cowboy hats carry the essential elements of the design created by John B. Stetson way back in 1865. The influences of the Mexican culture are pretty evident in the morphing of the types and designs of cowboy hats that have undergone a complete transformation from a durable felt hat that provides excellent sun protection to a fashion statement that rules the fashion scene today. Despite the changing style of cowboy hats, it retains most of the design features of the original design created by Stetson.
The design of cowboy hats
Typically the design of cowboy hats consists of a broad flat brim and a tall rounded crown mainly made from straw and felt and occasionally leather. The simple sweatband fitted to the inside of the hat helps the hat stay firmly placed on the head, at least resisting the thrust of wind blowing at moderate speed. The tweaking of the design begins by altering the brim’s rolling and the crown’s creasing. These changes form the attributes of the modern cowboy hats that create a style without forgetting its roots and stick to the neutral colors of beige, black and brown.
From functionality to fashion
But as time progressed, cowboy hats became more modern in their looks by including some decorative items like buckles or bows attached to the left side of the hatband. The placement of the buckles or bows on the left side had some strategic advantages because most people being right-handed, the additional ornamental items would never interfere when using a weapon. The touches of modernity to the hat design and style soon diminished the focus on practicality and functionality. They turned cowboy hats into must-have accessories for making a fashion statement.
Hollywood has always played a dominant role in introducing and popularizing new styles and fashion, and it was no different for cowboy hats. Many characters of the Western movies filled donning cowboy hats soon became the crowd’s heartthrob, and artists and entertainers like John Wayne and Tom Mix influenced the hat market by turning it more trendy and stylish to wear.
Such has been the popularity of cowboy hats that it has become a part of the uniform for agencies like the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Texas Rangers.
Cowboy hats owe their most identifiable and individual characteristics to the crease in the crown that has links to a specific subculture to which the wearer belongs. The crease helps you o wear or remove the hat by holding it by the crown instead of trying to hold it by the brim. The average person fond of cowboy hats might not attach much importance to the subtleties of the style. Each style has its individual meaning and functionality that helped the cowboy hat hold its place in today’s world of fashion.
Types of creases
The Cattleman crease – You will find this type of crease in the oldest style of cowboy hats. The crown is taller and narrower, usually about 4 to 5 inches, with two creases on the side and a crease along the center.
The Pinch Front crease – The Pinch crease results from the fusion of the diamond crown and the teardrop crown. Although this style is typical for fedoras and trilbys, too, in cowboy hats, the style is identifiable by the larger brim of the hat.
Tom Mix Crease or Montana – The crease derives its name from the state of Montana. It is similar to the Cattleman crease but with smaller indentations on the sides.
Today’s cowboy hats are much more elaborate and ornate and more of fashion than functionality. You can adopt the different styles with ease.