26th September 2018
First things first, you never, ever want to be caught wearing your cowboy hat backward.
The cowboy hat is considered as an integral part of cowboy tradition around the world. In the primary days, it was chiefly valued for its wide brim which helped in protecting working cowboys from the sun and rain. The cowboy hat truly is the outlining item of clothing amongst all western wear. Cowboy hats were also used to signal others, fan a campfire, whack a horse or pull water out of a steam. Today, while it’s still very functional, mostly everyone wears them as a part of general western lifestyle. There are many different styles from many manufacturers, the most famous of which is the Stetson. John Batterson Stetson, a New Jersey man who was born into a hat making family moved to the West and developed a reputation for durable, quality hats with the manufacturing of the Ten-Gallon hat in 1865.
History of the Cowboy Hat
John Batterson Stetson introduced the Stetson Cowboy hat, called Boss of the Plains, in the mid-1800s. It was a toned down version of the hats worn by the Mexican Vaqueros and it would cost around $15, which was about two weeks’ ages. The hats worn by southern cowboys had wide brims while those worn by northern cowboys had a much narrower brim because of the wind. To the cowboy the hat was a piece of equipment, and he wanted it simple in design. It was usually made from fur felt with a braided horsehair or leather string used to hold it on his head when riding fast. The space between the top of the cowboy’s head and the crown of the hat created an air pocket that kept the cowboy’s head warm in winter. The Cowboy hats were made even more popular by Harrison Ford in his iconic movie series, ‘Indiana Jones’.
Buying a Cowboy Hat
Hats are most commonly made of felt (Beaver or Rabbit fur), Straw or wool. Prices range anywhere between $20 to $4000 (Rs 1400 to Rs 250000). For the most common type, the felt hat, cost is often determined by the content of Beaver fur vs. the rabbit fur in the hat, this is denoted by the X marking usually seen on the inside of the crown. The higher the X, the more exclusive the hat inclines to be but it is also more tough with a softer smoother feel. A good quality felt hat will last anywhere from 20 years to a lifetime because of the durability of beaver fur. One reason for purchasing a high end hat is for the fact that it should last such a long time, indeed it's a lifelong investment in the higher price ranges! Classic colours for felt cowboy hats are shades of white, black, brown and silver although you can get other colours sometimes depending on the felt used. If you go in the rain with your black hat and colour starts to run down your face, that's an indication that you bought a really cheap hat that used cheap dies.
Taking care of your beloved hat
If you buy an expensive Polo hat, you’ll obviously love to show it to everybody. You won’t want that your hat loses it’s worth early so it’s better you take care and maintain it properly. Here’s how you can take care of your Cowboy hat –
A good idea is to protect a hat from water damage by a non-silicone based protector. If your felt hat does get some rain spots after it dries, you can use a felt hat cleaning sponge to remove the stains. For keeping felt hats clean, brushes work well but always use different sets of brushes for light coloured and dark coloured hats. Hang the hat on the edge of shelf such that the brim is touching nothing. Store hats in a cool, dry environment. Hats react to heat and moisture with extended exposure potentially causing a hat to lose its shape. Excessive heat can draw out straw hat fibres, and cause permanent damage to both straw and felt.
Wearing a cowboy hat First things first, you never, ever want to be caught wearing your cowboy hat backwards. It’s not a pretty sight and on top of that it’s bad luck. On the inside of the hat, look for the small ribbon bow, that is the back of the hat. Also, the hat band on the outside of the crown will most likely have a bow, feather, a buckle or some other adornment and that always sits on the left side when the hat is worn. The last tip is that the hat will usually look narrower to the front.
These are some standard Cowboy hat etiquettes to keep in mind –
1.The hat should come off anytime you enter a building.
2. You can put the hat on if it’s an informal occasion but it should stay off for a formal occasion.
3. Out on the range, however, keep your hat on while you eat. If you take your hat off, another wrangler might step on it or spill food into the rim.