Chris Dickinson is a cowboy rancher, digital artist and Instagram influencer who knows cool cowboy hats. And he says some styles of men’s cowboy hats make a statement about what kind of cowboy you are.
Admit it. After you saw the Brad Pitt cowboy hat he wore as Tristan in Legend of the Falls, you wanted one too.
From dressing up as cowboys for Halloween to watching old-time, country western reruns, Americans have and love the cowboy mystique.
We idolize TV characters such as Walker Texas Ranger.
We’re enamored with actors like Clint Eastwood and John Wayne. Their fictional cowboy personalities reflect the true essence of western culture and their values, which we strive to embody.
Gucci cowboy hats are even a thing now.
A cool cowboy hat reminds us of integrity, strength, freedom and fearlessness. A cowboy is the original outlaw, the bad boy with a sense of pride and virtue.
It’s no wonder the fashion world is embracing this longtime country accessory, and we’re seeing it in the closet of American city slickers.
If you’re new to the cowboy hat scene, here’s the types of cowboy hats you need to know about to bring out your inner cowboy.
Find Your Inner Cowboy
Chris Dickinson is a rancher and digital artist Instagram influencer. He has gained 70,000 followers by sharing visuals of the day in the life of western cowboys. Images on his feed showcase everything from roping to branding, and feature shotguns and horses against the backdrop of Utah’s bucolic mountain ranges.
He says being a cowboy isn’t a lifestyle – it’s what’s inside of you.
“You might be somebody who lives in New York City in a high-rise building, but be a cowboy at heart. You may have never put boots on or a cowboy hat on before, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear it.”
Types of Cool Cowboy Hats
As with most fashion statements, the type of men’s cowboy hat you wear says a lot about who you are.
“For example, when you see a flat crown, which we call a gambler, which is identified as a cowboy hat with a flat brim with a tiny curl on it, you’re sending the message that you are a buckaroo,” he said.
“If you see somebody wearing that kind of hat, you know they follow the same cowboy code. But their tools are a little different,” he said.
What kind of men’s cowboy hats are out there, and what do they say about you?
That depends on who you ask. Meg Gallagaher, an LA-based stylist who also loves cowboy boots, says while we often associate the men’s cowboy hat with places like Texas or in the American south, or think of the ranchers and ropers of the west, it’s now becoming quite normal to simply see the hat on those that “want to express themselves individually.” And there are several ways you can do this, as well.
Men’s Leather, Felt, and Straw Cowboy Hats
There are plenty of men’s cowboy hats to choose from which are not necessarily just for men. J.Lo worn a distressed leather cowboy hat to the Met Gala this year.
For starters, there’s the traditional crown, cattleman’s hat known for having a slight bend in the brim. Then there’s the flat cowboy hat associated with the vaquero days.
Vaqueros, a Spanish word for herders of cattle, were said to be the originators of the North American cowboys when they came from Spain and eventually to the Americas as cattle farmers.
Then there’s the gus-style men’s cowboy hat, the mark of Montana cowboys. They’re also called “lonesome dove” hats with a curled brim, deep crease, symmetrical pinch and tall crown.
There’s also the straw cowboy hats that traditional cowboys wear during the summer months but in the fashion world tend to be up for grabs in terms of when to wear them and why. Associated with country stars and musicians around the nation, they tend to make the statement of fun, light, and free.
And then there are the leather cowboy hats, which Dickinson says you don’t see in real-life cowboys often. Perhaps you wouldn’t see it out on the farm because they’re heavy and dense, but they do go well with a nice pair of denim or, dare we say, overalls.
And the best thing about cowboy hats – you can accessorize them with as well. It’s not uncommon to see cowboy hats with signature ribbons, beads, string or leather hat bands attached to them.
Cowboy Hat Material
Dickinson says it’s not unusual for cowboys to spend thousands of dollars on a hat so when it comes to material, don’t cut corners.
“The working cowboy gladly spends thousands on a saddle and a hat. At the same time, he has holes in his jeans and boots,” he said.
Materials come in all colors and quality. Felt men’s cowboy hats, for instance, come in three kinds – rabbit, a mix of rabbit and beaver, or full on beaver felt.
Beaver is the higher-end of this material, but worth the investment as it’s stronger and more durable.
The Hat Stops Here
So whatever our battle may be, you can harness the steadfastness of a cowboy with the right men’s cowboy hats.
“Being a cowboy is a set of values” says Dickson.
“It’s a way of life in the way that you treat other people. It’s in the way you treat your family and care for your land. It’s in your word and in how you live your day-to-day life,” he said.
So maybe we can all follow this advice, and bring out our inner cowboy with the right men’s cowboy hat today.