Most Popular Types of Cowboy Hat Crowns and Creases

Types of Cowboy Hat Crowns and Creases

When it comes to different types of men’s cowboy hats, your options for crowns, pinches and creases are endless. One of the most iconic symbols of American western wear, the cowboy hat is a combination of fashion and function. Inspired by the hats worn by Vaqueros, cowboy hats provide protection from the sun and the harsh elements on the Great Pains. From being used to showcasing personality, cattlemen were rarely without their hats.

Eddie Montgomery in an extra wide brim mens gambler cowboy hat
Eddie Montgomery performs in an extra wide brim mens gambler cowboy hat. (Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)


This functional tool eventually became a fashionable one. Today, men’s cowboy hats of the wild west are popular among both men and women. Different styles of cowboy hats varied to fit the individual owner, usually based on the shape of the crown, crease and pinch. For example, a pinched crown made handling easy. Different brim widths provided different levels of protection from the elements while a curved shape helped the owner throw a rope without interference.

Jon Pardi Black Felt Bullrider Cowboy Hat at the Country Music Awards
This Jon Pardi Cowboy Hat is the black felt bull rider style topper that he wore to the Country Music Awards. (Jason Kempin/Getty Images for CMA)


Two Basic Types of Cowboy Hats

Hatmakers make western hats in two basic types of material: felt and straw. Most people wear different types of cowboy hats based on the time of year or the situation.

Guilherme Marchi gets ready for a bull ride in a mens felt cowboy hat.
This felt chapeau on top earning rodeo cowboy Guilherme Marchi is very similar to the Alan Jackson Cowboy Hat we covered in another post.. (Al Bello/Getty Images)


Felt hats are associated with the iconic western look. They are the traditional hat choice for cold weather and more formal events. The highest quality hats are handmade from fur felt, often referred to as pure beaver. More affordable hats are produced using wool felt. Available in a wide range of colors, a felt hat protects from both the rain, wind and snow.

Elvis Presley Felt Mens Gambler Cowboy Hat on the set on of Flaming Star.
1960: Portrait of American singer and actor Elvis Presley (1935 – 1977), sitting on the set of director Don Seigel’s Western film, \Flaming Star’, wearing a felt mens gambler cowboy hat. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)


Straw hats are much older than felt hats. The majority of straw hats on the market are machine-made hats, known in the industry as Bangora hats. These hats are lightweight and protect from the sun without trapping in heat, depending on the density of the weave. The most durable straw hat is the palm leaf cowboy hat. Either machine-made or crafted by hand, the palm leaf is a heavier straw hat and can be shaped in a wide variety of ways.

Alessandra Ambrosio in a cowgirl straw hat at a Victoria\'s Secret event.
Alessandra Ambrosio in a cowgirl straw hat at the Victoria’s Secret Spring Break Party in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Tom Grizzle/Getty Images)


Different Cowboy Hat Creases and Styles

We often picture John Wayne’s well-worn hat or George Strait’s crisp style when we think of a cowboy hat. However, there are many different types of cowboy hats. And you will find endless variations of creases and brims. Crease refers to the cowboy hat bends in the top of the hat’s crown. Different crease arrangements create different western hat crown styles. Cowboy hat crease types even go down to the brim. Cowboy brim shapes vary as widely creases. 

Modern cowboy hat shapes still combine fashion with function. Attend any event in the west, and you will find many different kinds of cowboy hats. Some shapes are so popular that they have become their own sub-styles of cowboy hats. Here are a few of the most popular shapes for cowboy hats. You’ll find some of these options on straw hats, but most of them are felt cowboy hat crown styles.

Cattleman Crease

Tim McGraw in a black mens straw cattleman crease cowboy hat
Recording artist Tim McGraw in a black mens straw cattleman crease cowboy hat at the American Music Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)


Of all western hat crown styles, the Cattleman’s crease cowboy hat is a classic cowboy hat shape. Cattleman cowboy hat shapes all feature three crown creases and a curved brim that tapers flat in the back.

Straw cattleman crease cowboy hat with leather hat band side vents.
The popular straw cattleman crease cowboy hat style with leather hat band side vents.


Montana Crease

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Silent movie era archive still image of a good guy rescuing a damsel in distress in a Montana crease cowboy hat.

This hat style proves that there is a difference in cowboy hat styles by region. Associated with Montana rough stock cowboys, the Montana features three creases and a curved brim. However, the crown creases angle down towards the front of the hat, leaving the back higher. The brim often features a lift to the back, called a mule kick, or a rolled pencil edge. 

Suede mens Montana crease cowboy hat with pencil curl brim.
Suede mens Montana crease cowboy hat with pencil curl brim.


Gus Hat Crease

Cowboy roping steer in a slanted Montana crease with curved brim.
Cowboy on horseback roping steer in a mens felt Montana crease cowboy hat with curved brim.


The Gus cowboy hat is a type of Montana crease. Named after Lonesome Dove’s Augustus McCrae, the hat usually features the curved brim seen on a Cattleman’s hat. The big difference between the Montana and the Gus crease is the curved brim, which makes it easier to throw a rope. You’ll find plenty of bull rider cowboy hat creases that resemble a Gus.

Brick Crease

Kid Rock in a mens felt brick crease cowboy hat with skull hat band
Musician Kid Rock in a mens felt brick crease cowboy hat with a skull and feathers hat band at the People’s Choice Awards in Los Angeles. (Lester Cohen/WireImage)


The Brick looks like the Cattleman’s crease with a square look. It features a square crown that is shaped to hold a brick perfectly.

Dwight Yoakam in a Brick Crease Felt Men\'s Cowboy Hat
Dwight Yoakam performs in a Brick Crease Felt Men’s Cowboy Hat (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The brim maintains a gently rounded shape that flattens at the back.

Distressed mens straw brick crease cowboy hat with simple stitched leather hat band.
Distressed mens straw brick crease cowboy hat with simple stitched leather hat band.


Biggs Crease

Brad Paisley in Biggs Crease cowboy hat at the Grammy Awards
Brad Paisley in mens white felt Biggs Crease cowboy hat at the Grammy Awards (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage for NARAS)


Attend a summer rodeo, and you’ll see plenty of Biggs rodeo hat shapes. Usually used on straw hats, the Biggs has a narrow brick shape to the crown and a square shape to the brim. Instead of a gentle roll, the front curve of the brim folds up sharply to create square angles. The brim tapers to a flat back. 

mens brown felt Biggs crease cowboy hat with Native American style hand band
Detail showing the top of a mens brown felt Biggs crease cowboy hat with Native American style hand band and side pinches.


Pinch Front Crease

Ashton Kutcher in a natural beaver felt mens felt pinch front cowboy hat.
Ashton Kutcher in a natural beaver felt mens felt pinch front cowboy hat at the Sundance Film Festival “The Butterfly Effect” Premiere. (Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage)


The pinch front is a less formal cowboy hat shape. The crown creases come to a point at the front of the hat, giving it a teardrop or diamond appearance from above. It is often paired with a brim that is curved upwards in a taco-shell shape.

Front pinch of a mens straw cowboy hat with tear shaped crown.
The front pinch of a mens straw cowboy hat results in a tear shaped crown that is similar to mens fedoras.

Telescope Crease Cowboy Hat

Toby Keith in a flat top telescope crease cowboy hat
Toby Keith in a flat top telescope crease cowboy hat at the Annual American Music Awards in Los Angeles. (Photo by KMazur/WireImage)


Popular western hat styles for women include the telescope crease. Also known as the Gambler or Pale Rider, this western felt hat features a flat-topped crown creased so that it has a circular shape. The brim is often wide and flat.

Detail showing the top of a telescope crease cowboy hat, with a circular indentation.
Detail showing the top of a telescope crease cowboy hat, with a circular indentation.


Open Crown Cowboy Hat

Cade Foehner in a black men\'s felt open crown cowboy hat
Cade Foehner in a black men’s open crown cowboy hat with Gabby Barrett at the 2021 Billboard Music Awards in Los Angeles. (Rich Fury/Getty Images for dcp)

In 1865, John B. Stetson created the “Boss of the Plains” hat. Featuring a round shape, the hat has a wide, flat brim and smooth crown that is round or flat. The Arby’s style Pharrell Williams Hat that become a distinct part of the pop signer’s look, is essential a custom version of this hat shape.

Archive photo of a man in a natural beaver felt open crown cowboy hat
Archive photo of a man in an open crown cowboy hat, also known as the Boss of the Plains. This was the first cowboy hat style designed by John B. Stetson.


Derby Bowler Hat

Elliot Gould, James Caan in derby bowler hats with Michael Caine in a top hat
American actors Elliot Gould (L) and James Caan (R) wearing derby bowler hats on either side of British actor Michael Caine in mens top hat on the set of the film “Harry And Walter Go To New York,” directed by Mark Rydell. (Columbia TriStar/courtesy of Getty Images)


The Derby showcases isn’t really a cowboy hat, but they were popular among railroad men and bankers at the time. The Derby is a traditional felt hat style. It has a rounded crown and a short brim. The brim often features a pencil-roll edge. 

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Detail of a traditional mens black derby bowler hat. Green derby bowlers are often worn on St. Patrick’s Day.

Campaign Cover

Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer in a campaign cover hat
Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer in a campaign cover hat in Pictou, Canada. (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)


The campaign cover is the iconic style of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and standard issue to the United States Marine Corps Drill Sergeants.

Pharrell Williams in a customer felt campaign cover inspired Open Crown hat. (Steve Granitz/WireImage)
Pharrell Williams in a custom felt campaign cover inspired Open Crown hat. (Steve Granitz/WireImage)


NFL quarterback Cam Newton also favors this style. Traditional campaign covers feature four symmetrical indentations in the crown. The brim is usually wide and flat, and it features a leather buckle band.

Conventional khaki felt campaign cover with a buckled leather hat band.
Conventional khaki felt campaign cover with a buckled leather hat band.


Australian Outback

Actor Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in a scene from the movie \"Australia.\"
Actor Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman in a scene from the movie “Australia.” (Photo by Fox Studios/Getty Images)


The Australian outback hat style is often seen on waxed cotton or leather hats. It can also be adapted for felt or straw cowboy hats. The crown ranges from flat to pinched front, while the brim is usually short and curved downward in the front and the back.

military outback hat
Original military issue mens felt Australian outback hat with the side brim pinned up.


Choosing your perfect cowboy hat fit

Although these are the most popular types of cowboy hats and American cowboy hat creases, there are seemingly endless cowboy hat styles. You can purchase a hat that already fits in with traditional cowboy hat crease styles or experiment with styling one yourself. Most cowboy hats can be shaped and reshaped, allowing you to find the perfect style for you. Cowboy hat crease meanings can reveal what type of cowboy or cowgirl you are. Take the time to buy a cowboy hat style that’s authentic to your persona. 

 

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