Most people are familiar with how cowboy hat look, so they assume buying one is a simple affair. However, when you scratch the surface, you will discover that you have to contend with several different styles, materials, embellishments, and costs that make the selection process challenging.
Cowboy Hats – Why They Are the Way They Are
While ranchers and shepherds the world over have traditionally worn large-brimmed hats to protect their eyes, face, neck, and shoulders from exposure to long hours in the sun, the modern cowboy hat is a North American invention. The typical cowboy hat is defined by a tall crown. And a wide brim that may be flat or rolled up depending on the wearer’s preference. Even though there are specific styles, the good thing is that you can shape a cowboy hat according to your desire to suit specific weather conditions and fashion requirements.
John B. Stetson invented the very first cowboy hat, the “Boss of the Plains” way back in 1865 using fur from small animals like rabbits and beavers for enhanced sun protection. Realizing the potential of the hat, Stetson took to selling them in right earnest in Philadelphia. The large-brimmed hat proved to be extremely popular with both cattlemen and townspeople. Since then film actors, celebrities, musicians, and other leading lights of western society have worn the cowboy hat. The cowboy hat is an icon of western culture.
Modern cowboy hats are made from several different material like fur felt and straw, with leather being relatively rare. A sweatband on the inside of the crown helps absorb sweat and prevent it from getting into your eyes. It also keeps it more secure on your head. A hatband, wrapped around the base of the crown, and feathers are popular embellishments. Some wearers even have strings hanging from the base of the crown as decorations. Cowboy hats come in different colors, but the most popular colors are brown, beige, and black.
While the brim of the cowboy hat can be flat, it is more common for them to have a curl that shields the eyes, face, forehead, and neck of the wearer from the sun and rain. Today, the cowboy hat is a part of the great American tradition, especially at country music shows and rodeos. Some of the typical attire that goes best with American straw cowboy hats includesjeans, button-down shirts, vests, and boots. Today, more town people wear cowboy hats than cattlemen.
Good Reasons to Buy a Cowboy Hat
According to fashion experts, you can pull off the ultimate western look if you are not wearing a cowboy hat. While a cowboy hat made of fur felt looks awesome, it is best worn when the weather is cool. The best option is to wear a cowboy hat made from straw in the summer. Apart from giving a sophisticated vibe, a straw cowboy hat is a great way to keep cool when in the sweltering sun.
A straw hat sits lightly on the head, and because it is breathable, sweat does not accumulate inside the crown, making you feel hot. The tall crown of the cowboy hat also helps. The light color of the straw also helps to keep your head cool. Another compelling reasons to buy straw cowboy hats are that they are relatively inexpensive. And you can shape them in any way you want. Straw cowboy hats also require little maintenance save the occasional brushing and wiping. The only problem is that you cannot let it become wet in the rain as it loses its shape when wet.
Cowboy Hat Quality
As far as straw cowboy hats are concerned, the tighter the weave the more robust is the hat and the costlier it is. One way to check the tightness of the weave is to hold it up against the light and see how much light it lets in. A loosely woven hat will let in a lot of light and is also less rigid. One way of checking the quality of a straw hat is to check the manufacturer’s label for the number of Xs. The more the number of Xs, the tighter is the weave. The straw is also finer, resulting in better durability. According to Cowgirl Magazine, unfortunately, there is no standardization of the X-rating, and every manufacturer has its own standard.
Straw cowboy hats are ideal for wearing in hot weather while felt ones are more comfortable when the temperature falls. Even though there is no hard and fast rule, you can wear straw hats from Memorial Day to Labor Day and felt hats thereafter. Things to look out for when buying a straw cowboy hat include how well it fits, and the material. The level of comfort, the width of the brim, and the style of the crown. Expensive cowboy hats are not necessarily better. You should buy the best one you can afford and ensure it is good value for money.