What is a Stetson Hat? Stetson Cowboy Hat Story

What is a Stetson Hat? Stetson Cowboy Hat Story

Last updated by Ori Adler on

Many images come to mind when one imagines the "wild" days of the American West. However, in 1865, a hat company was created that would have a massive impact on everyone's vision of this area and era. The Stetson Hat Company was responsible for creating the original cowboy hat, an element of fashion that has endured the test of time.

So, what is a Stetson hat? How do you wear one? And what more should you know about them? Keep reading to find out!

Related: Best Cowboy Hats: Modern Western Styles

What Is a Stetson Hat? 

A Stetson hat is the classic cowboy hat. This hat has a wide brim and a high crown. The crown is often creased, and the brim is often rolled, whether by the owner or the seller.

Stetson hats generally have a similar structure but have a range of options that set them apart from one another. One way this happens is through the material, as these hats can be made from felt, straw, leather, or other materials. In addition, some hats are adorned with bands or ties as an additional flair. 

Originally, these hats were used in settling the wild west. The wide brim provided protection from the harsh heat of the sun. Meanwhile, the waterproof nature of the hat allowed the owner to wear it in all kinds of weather. 

Why Do Stetson Hats Cost So Much?

One of the original features that made the Stetson hat popular was its durability. This came from the fact that Stetson hats were made from quality material and were made to last. This tradition continues to this day.

Stetson hats made from leather are wonderfully durable. Leather lasts a long time on its own and often ends up looking even better with age. These hats are perfect for colder weather, as the leather traps in heat well.

Related: Best Felt Hats for Men

Meanwhile, hats made from straw are a little less durable. However, quality versions will still last a long time as long as they are cared for. These hats are perfect for warmer weather, as straw is light and breezy.

Stetson hats made from felt are the best of all worlds. They are durable and tough, so they can be worn in many different situations. They also handle the cold and warm weather well, as the felt insulates but also does a great job in wicking away sweat.

These are all quality materials that go into making a quality hat. The hats could be made from cheaper materials, but they wouldn't be the same.

Ready to add your own Stetson hat to your wardrobe? Check out our men’s cowboy hats now

How to Wear a Stetson Hat

A Stetson hat can be worn just like any other hat. All you have to do is find the right clothes to pair it with. 

This will often mean finding something that represents the western lifestyle. Stetson hats are irrevocably tied to the concept of the wild west and the freedom of a cowboy lifestyle. When people see these hats, their minds will instantly go to these topics.

Because of this, many people choose to pair a Stetson hat with clothing that fits a country aesthetic or even a classic western throwback. Dark and earthy colors will bring to mind the wild side of the cowboy hat. A slick button-up, a nice jacket, or even a comfy t-shirt will all pair well if chosen right.

However, a Stetson hat always works well with denim. In the days of the cowboy, denim was widespread because of its utility. It is a tough fabric that, when necessary, can go for a while without being washed. This made it a great choice for a cowboy about to go on a cattle drive.

Because of this old association between cowboys and denim, the two still work well together. They give off a classic western look that cannot be found elsewhere. If you are going to wear a Stetson hat, denim is a clear option. 

How to Clean a Stetson Hat 

A Stetson hat is a hat that has the potential to last a lifetime. However, though these hats are durable, they still need to be cared for. Proper care and cleaning will go a long way in extending the life of a quality Stetson hat. 

When cleaning a felt Stetson hat, start by brushing it. Make sure to use a soft brush and work around the hat in a counterclockwise movement. Be sure not to miss any spaces.

In addition, you can treat any problem areas with a little talcum powder or cornstarch. Just set a little on the spot and brush it away after a while. Just make sure not to use any liquid cleaners on a felt hat!

However, you can clean a straw Stetson hat with a very mild cleaning solution. Once you do so, you can brush the hat with a very soft brush or wipe it with a wipe. Then, make sure to set the hat out until it dries completely.

When it comes to leather Stetson hats, you also need to use a specific technique. For these hats, we also suggest brushing them off with a soft brush. After doing so, you can treat the hat with a cleaner that is relevant to the material.

This will change depending on the exact type of leather the hat is made from, as there are plenty of unique types, like rattlesnake leather, out there. Make sure to keep this in mind when picking out your hat, and consider asking for cleaning suggestions from the company you buy it from.

Related: Best Leather Cleaners: Clean, Condition & Maintain Your Hats

Stetson Hat Misconceptions

Finally, let's talk about misconceptions regarding the Stetson hat. This hat's longevity has created several misconceptions regarding it.

First, the name is Stetson, which is often misspelled as Stetsen. However, the hat is named after a specific individual, so it is spelled in a specific way.

Many also believe that all cowboy hats are Stetson hats and vice versa. This isn't true. Stetson is a specific brand of cowboy hats. However, it is also a generic term referring to the style of hat in general. So, Stetson hats can be bought from any number of companies, not just Stetson itself. 

Last, some believe only people who take part in traditional western activities should wear Stetson hats. This simply isn't true! Anyone and everyone can class up their wardrobe with a Stetson hat.

Understand the Stetson Story 

Stetson hats have a unique history that gives them a unique place in modern fashion. Knowing some details about them, how to wear them, and a few more pieces of information clears up a lot. All of this shows how fashionable and versatile these hats really are!

Women can rock a cowboy hat too! Shop our selection of cowgirl hats!

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