When it comes to iconic headwear, nothing comes close to the Clint Eastwood cowboy hat.
Since his appearance on Rawhide in 1959, Eastwood has starred in tons of westerns. Over the years, his cowboy hat styles have adjusted accordingly. These are specific headpieces he’s worn in westerns throughout his career.
Late Clint Eastwood Cowboy Hat Career
As the highest-grossing western of the 1980s, Pale Rider was Eastwood’s only western film of the decade. Apparently, the actor developed an allergy to horses, so he had to hang up his saddle (literally) for a while.
The Pale Rider cowboy hat style is unique to the film, but it resembles a cross between a short coachman and a cowboy hat. The black felt headpiece has a flared, four ⅛-inch flat top crown and a three ½-inch brim with a slight upturn on the sides. This hat also has a one-inch leather hatband.
The early part of the decade saw Eastwood wear several cowboy hats, but not as nameless gunslingers. In Honkytonk Man, Eastwood plays Red Stovall, a singer trying to make a name for himself at the Grand Ole Opry. He wore a natural cattleman cowboy hat with a rancher crease through the center of the four-inch crown. The crown also has a slight front pinch. This headpiece has a 3.5-inch sloped brim with a rolled edge called a pencil curl, but no hatband.
The decade’s start saw Eastwood as a washed-up wild west showrunner trying to hold onto his glory days. Bronco Billy may have fancied himself the fastest gun in the west, but time makes fools of us all. Eastwood wore a cowboy hat with a teardrop crown and a front pinch. This hat has a hatband adorned with small buckles that shimmer in the light. This hat has a much wider brim. The shape is still sloped upward on the sides and down in the front and back.
Mid Cowboy Hat Career
The 70s marked the second half of Eastwood’s western heyday, and his last epic was The Outlaw Josey Wales. In the film, Wales is on the run from the law after the Civil War, just trying to make a living. Eastwood’s hat in this film had a 3.5-inch flat brim with a rolled pencil edge. It also had a four ⅛-inch teardrop crown with a slight pinch. Instead of a hatband, the hat has an acorn band with a combat knot, signifying Wales’ life in the army.
As you’ll notice, many of Eastwood’s western characters are nameless, such as in High Plains Drifter. In this movie, he plays a stranger tasked with protecting a small town from ruthless outlaws. His black felt hat has a leather strapped hatband a 3.5-inch flat brim with a slight downturn in the back. The 4-inch crown has a flat top with a pinched front.
Although Eastwood loves western dramas, he can also cut a rug with the best of them, as seen in Paint Your Wagon. This musical comedy saw Eastwood cause a ruckus during the gold rush. His character also wore a light felt cowboy hat with a semi-open crown. The brim is about four inches wide and flat all around. There’s also a braided leather hatband around the center.
Trading the old west for the Big Apple, Eastwood played an Arizona lawman in Coogan’s Bluff, a contemporary film. While trying to bring an outlaw back from NYC, Eastwood’s character wore a cowboy hat with a Biggs crease down the center. The hat also has a curved 3.5-inch brim that slopes down in the front and back. A brown leather hatband completes the piece.
In Hang ‘Em High, Eastwood plays a man who comes back from the dead (not literally) to exact revenge. During his escapades, his character wears a natural felt Pale Rider style hat with a crown about 4.5 inches tall. The hat has a flat pecan top and a slight front pinch, a 3.5-inch flat brim and a satin ribbon hatband.
Early Cowboy Hat Career
The ’60s were when Eastwood cut his teeth in the western genre. He starred in classics like The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, For a Few Dollars More, and A Fistful of Dollars. Eastwood plays nameless gunslingers wearing iconic spaghetti western cowboy hat styles.
In each film, Eastwood wears a brown felt hat with a telescope crown and a front pinch. The 3.5-inch brim curves up on the sides and down slightly in front. The hat also has a leather hatband. While there are slight differences between each movie, the hat and the look are pretty similar.
Finally, kicking things off was Eastwood’s starring role in Rawhide. This felt cowboy hat has a pinched front, pecan top crown, and a 3.25-inch flat brim. The hat also has a leather hatband and a windstring to keep it from blowing away while riding.
The Hat Stops Here
Clint Eastwood is synonymous with westerns, and he has the cowboy hats to prove it. See how his hat styles have evolved (and stayed the same) over the decades. From Rawhide to Pale Rider, we appreciate the Clint Eastwood cowboy hat.