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Cowboy Hats: Then and Now

Apr 12, 2008
The hat that was defined by the region of the United States so affectionately referred to as the Wild West is the Cowboy Hat. A very small number of history's icons stir this level of emotion like this piece of history can.

Before the inventor started making cowboy hats the citizens of the west would wear the hat of their past. Some would wear the hats of their native country while others wore hats that represented their previous work experience. All the way up and down society was represented in the leftovers of a different life. The cowboy hat gave them headgear that represented their current life.

Although the cowboy hat is recognized all over the world, it is the distinctive shape that will identify the region where the hat was made and usually worn. There was a time when the wearer could be recognized as from a certain region by his hat.

First the hat was all about function and when it started to get popular out west it was because they were functional for work and for dressing up too. In the second century since its invention it has become more a cultural symbol and fashion in parallel with the functional purpose.

There is very little difference between hat of today and hats of 1865 when John Stetson first made them in 1865. He sold the first Stetsons for five dollars in the little town of Central City Colorado. Although many know cowboy hats as Stetsons they are in reality referring to a brand and Stetson is not the generic term at all.

Cowboy hats were from an early time associated with a rougher segment of society and although that association is far less grounded today it continues to convey that feeling. The hats themselves seem to make one feel more rugged with its wearing.

Cowboy hats were first made to be protection from the weather conditions like snow, sleet, rain and the sun. Today although the hat can still serve that purpose they have far more to do with fashion that they do with protection in the majority of cases.

The fabric of choice these days is felt as it is far superior in terms of usability as it is more light weight, water resistant, smoother and is far more durable than other materials. Hats come in many colors but the grey, brown and black family dominate the cowboy market with the silver/grey hat being by far the most popular. Even women join this trend toward fashion and come in almost every color.

When hats were first made they were marked with Xs to display the quality. The more Xs on the hat the higher the content of beaver in the hat. Today the Xs have continued in use even though beaver has been discontinued for a long time as a hat making material. There is one flaw in this system. There is no standard so there is no way to compare between brands.

With that you now have a basis for understanding the history of the cowboy hat and how it has evolved today. When you wear one you will understand the symbolism and heritage that you have on your head and can enjoy the projected personal that it contains.
About the Author
Copyright Detro Canaro (2008) Detro Canaro is a father, a writer, a proud Bassett Hound lover and a co-owner of several website that support he and his family. One of those websites all about Cheap Cowboy Boots
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