brown felt cattleman cowboy hat on a saddle

Cowboy Hats: Styles, Shapes, Crowns and Creases

Last updated by Ori Adler on

Everyone pictures something different when they think of a classic cowboy hat. This is because there isn't just one type of cowboy hat; there are multiple different hats and styles along with different variations of each.

Lets explore nine of the most common cowboy hat styles and shapes right here. Keep reading to learn more!

1. Cattleman Crease Cowboy Hat 

When you are talking about the traditional cowboy hat design, this one immediately comes to mind. The cattleman crease cowboy hat is a classic and popular cowboy hat style.

The name comes from the "cattleman's crease" that forms the centerpiece of this particular hat. This crease is designed to prevent a cowboy's hat from coming off as they are riding a horse. Since it has a high crown, there is more space to pull the hat over the head, keeping it more secure.

It has a crease down the middle of a high crown, with two more on each side. It also has a large brim to keep the sun out of the wearer's eyes. This feature was essential in the days of the cowboy. After all, they had to face intense winds coming off the land around them and definitely wouldn't want to lose their hat while riding a horse.

The cattleman crease hat has been worn in movies and TV shows for decades. The most current western series being Yellowstone.

Related: What Cowboy Hats The Yellowstone Characters Wear

image of guy on a horse wearing a black Cattleman Felt Cowboy Hat by American Hat Makers

1b. Gus

The Gus hat is an adaptation of the cattleman crease. Its pinch on the crown’s front makes it look sloped.

While the name of this particular hat may seem random at first, it actually has a bit of cinematic history attached to it. The hat was originally designed for a character named Gus, played by Robert Duvall, on the miniseries "Lonesome Dove." From there, the hat became iconic, and the name stuck to it.

 image of guy dressed in a long sleeve blue button up, blue jeans, a big belt buckle and the Billings Straw Cowboy Hat by American Hat Makers

2. Montana Mix Crease

The Montana mix crease hat is another variant of the cattleman. While the two hats look similar, they have a few key differences that set them apart. An iconic style, it's become more popular again more recently.

The center crease is more prominent than that of the cattleman. In most cases, it is deeper and a little wider. Meanwhile, the side creases are less prominent. This produces a distinctive look that stands out. It's not as traditional but gives a stylish addition to any outfit. 

3. Pinch Front Crease 

A pinch front crease cowboy hat changes the look of the traditional hat. It still has the height of a traditional hat and features a wide brim. However, instead of having a crease that runs down the length of the hat, this hat has a pinched crease along both sides of the hat's front, as suggested by its name.

Above these creases, it has a mix of a diamond and teardrop crown. Together, these factors lend an alternative look to a classic style.

Pinch front crease hats are traditionally either made of straw or felt, depending on what the wearer wants. However, these hats also look great as a leather cowboy hat, which has the potential to make them look more rugged and durable. They can be worn by either men or women.

Many enjoy the style because of the way it slightly alters their appearance. Just like how striped shirts have the potential to make your body look longer or wider, this hat changes the way your face looks. Generally, it makes the wearer's face look slightly thinner. 

image of two men leaning on a fence wearing the Hollywood Leather Cowboy Hat by American Hat Makers

4. Boss of the Plains

This is a cowboy hat with some serious history behind it. The first cowboy hat to become commercially successful, John B. Stetson designed the Boss of the Plains in 1865. This is the original "Stetson" hat, a name that would go on to be almost synonymous with the style of a cowboy hat.

Over the course of history, the hat has attracted various groups. Long ago, it was popular among cowboys, where it proved to be both stylish and utilitarian.

This led to it being taken seriously by those who needed hats for protection, causing it to become the official hat used by the US Calvary. The style lives on in a variety of western movies and has made a resurgence in everyday wear by regular people.

This style of hat has a large brim to provide sun protection. Its felt construction is resistant to water, which is key for working cowboys.

Looking for a high-quality cowboy hat you can wear on a variety of occasions? Take a look at all of our cowboy hat options

a snow dusted field with a male cowboy on horse who's wearing fur chaps, a mustard colored jacket and a brown felt Cattleman hat by American Hat Makers

5. Brick Crease

If you take a quick glance at a brick crease hat, you would almost mistake it for a cattleman crease cowboy hat. After all, both are typically made from straw or felt and feature a wide brim and a crease running down the center. However, upon closer inspection, you would immediately notice that the brick crease hat is something else entirely. 

This hat features a prominent flat, rectangular crease running down the middle of the top. This helps hold the hat in place while giving it a structured look. Along the side of the hat, there may or may not be two more creases flanking this center crease. If these additional creases are present, they are typically less prominent than the side creases on a cattleman hat.

The different approach this hat takes allows it to stand out from other cowboy hats. It is still easily recognizable as a cowboy hat, but the rectangular design makes it very different from the options presented earlier in this list.

This makes it a great choice for someone who still wants the traditional cowboy hat look but wants to show off their individuality a little.

image of a couple kissing, she is wearing a long white dress and he's wearing blue jeans, a black shirt, covering their faces with an Elkhorn, a straw cowboy by American Hat Markers

6. Gambler Crease 

Gambler crease hats have a slightly wider brim when compared to other cowboy hats, which offers more sun protection. In addition, they have a noticeably lower crown with a circular shape. When it comes to the hat's crease, it will either have no creases or will have a circular crease running around the perimeter of the crown.

The name of the hat comes from its connection to gambling. Gamblers found that the wide brim of the hat gave them an advantage in card games. It hid their eyes from their opponents and prevented others from gauging their reactions.

While this history gave the hat its name, the hat was actually originally popularized by Mexican cowboys. The hat's wide brim offered sun protection that was viewed as being incredibly helpful. In the end, the hat's practicality led to its popularity.

Nowadays, the gambler crease hat adds a unique touch to both men's and women's outfits. It can be made in either straw or felt and in a variety of colors. If you're looking for a hat that can hide your eyes or that offers unparalleled sun protection, this may be the choice for you. 

7. Tom Mix

If you know anything about cowboy hats, you've probably heard of a cowboy hat being called a ten-gallon hat. However, this name doesn't initially appear to make much sense. A cowboy hat couldn't hold ten gallons of water, so why would it get this nickname? Well, the answer comes from the Tom Mix hat.

This is a large hat, larger than other cowboy hats. The added size comes from the higher crown, which can extend several inches higher than other options. However, the exact size of the hat varies.

You can find some that are ridiculously large and others that are more modest. This style of hat is traditionally made of felt in a milky color and decorated with a ribbon band.

The brim of this hat varies depending on the model. Some feature a brim that curves up at the sides. Others feature a completely flat brim. Once again, the exact type you go with is up to personal preference. 

This style was originally made by the John B. Stetson Company in the 1910s or 1920s. It became a trademark of Tom Mix, a silent film cowboy star famous for his flamboyant clothing and daring stunts. The star's use of a particularly large hat caused the "ten-gallon hat" nickname to enter the common lexicon.

Related: The Ultimate Guide to Women's Hat Styles

image of male with facial hair and shoulder length wavey hair wearing a white t-shirt with a light grey flannel an the Diego, a straw cowboy hat by American Hat Makers

8. Open Crown Crease

The open crown crease hat looks like a traditional cowboy hat without creases. Instead, this creaseless style has a rounded top similar to a sombrero. The smooth design of the hat looks particularly nice when made from felt.

It became popular from cowboys sporting them on Texas cattle drives. The traditional style is to turn the brim upwards, though you can also sport cattleman-style creases or slants on the sides.

A fun part of this style is that you can change it to become a different crease style. Simply crease the crown to another type you like. This is how cowboys did it in the days when these hats were first made, so doing it in the present is a fun homage to the hat's origins.

image of girl wearing the Josey Pencil Rim Open Crown Cowboy Hat by American Hat Makers

9. Low Rodeo

The low rodeo hat has a lower-than-usual crown and a large brim and is usually made of felt or straw. The wide brim gives ample shade, while the short crown provides sun protection for the wearer. The understated nature of this hat has a wonderful appeal to it and makes it a popular option for anyone looking for a cowboy hat.

The wide brim of this hat makes it ideal for personalization. Many decorate their hats with colorful accessories or a bandana.

As the name implies, many cowboys opt to wear the low rodeo style in rodeos. So, if you're looking for something to wear to a rodeo, this hat will allow you to fit right in. 

Related: What to Wear to a Rodeo: Look Stylish & Turn Heads!

image of a brown horse with a white mane wearing a Cattleman Felt Cowboy Hat by American Hat Makrs

Optional Additions

Cowboy hats come in a variety of different styles and options. The exact positives and negatives of each style are specific to that style. However, all hats can take on new features through a range of optional additions.

Bands are an incredibly popular example of this. Many people choose to place a band around their hat as an additional stylistic flourish. The band can be something related to the hat or the wearer's personality, like a strip of fabric with horses on it for a horse-lover.

It can also be something that just looks good, like a decorative piece of leather. The options here are endless and, thus, a perfect place to express your style.

A sweat liner is a more utilitarian example of the accessories available. Most modern hats will have a sweatband running around the interior.

This is there to absorb sweat as it runs down your head, preventing it from getting into your eyes. While this addition is typically more focused on utility than fashion, there are liners out there with cool patterns and bright colors.

Many cowboy hats also have a chin strap. This can be worn around the wearer's head to attach the hat more firmly. If a gust of wind suddenly blows the hat away, the chinstrap will prevent it from being lost.

Some cowboy hats can even be vented. A vented cowboy hat looks like a regular one yet has small holes. These holes allow for increased airflow, making the hat cool and breezy to wear.

Some vented hats only have a few holes along the side, while others will have dozens around the entire hat. How much venting your hat needs will depend on how hot the weather is in the places you plan to wear it and how much you value ventilation on your head.

Which Cowboy Hat Style Is Right for You?

Each cowboy hat style and shape has its own strengths and weaknesses. Some fit different uses better, and some work better with certain types of outfits. Which one you ultimately choose to wear is totally up to you! 

Want to make your hat unique and fun? A hat band can help you do just that. Check out our selection of hat bands here!

← Older Post Newer Post →


  • Can you make a gambler straw hat out of close knit straw that is stiff after it is made. Crown 41/2" and brim 31/2" or as close as you can get to these measurements. email me back if you can and we can discuss particulars. Thank You!!!

    Daron Perkins on
  • I have yet to see a Gambler style hat. Do you carry?

    Patrick on

Leave a comment