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.
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Gus Hat Crease
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.
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.
The brim maintains a gently rounded shape that flattens at the back.
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.
Pinch Front Crease
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.
Telescope Crease Cowboy Hat
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.
Open Crown Cowboy Hat
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.
Derby Bowler Hat
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.
The campaign cover is the iconic style of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and standard issue to the United States Marine Corps Drill Sergeants.
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.
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.
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.