How to Give Your Cowboy Hat the Respect It Deserves

The earliest example of hats worn by horsemen can be dated as far back as 13th century Mongolia, however, it was only after the hat designed by John B. Stetson in 1865 that the cowboy or Stetson hat became popular with ranchers and just about anyone who wanted superior sun protection. As the hat worn by the cattlemen became wildly popular, it acquired a kind of legendary status in Western-style in North America and neighboring Mexico. With its rising popularity, some guidelines regarding how and when to wear cowboy hats, etiquette, and dos and don’ts came into existence. Because cowboy hats are a staple of the western lifestyle and an important personal accessory, you need to follow the generally accepted rules of wearing them. Some tips:

Make Sure It Fits Properly

Because of the status of cowboy hats, respect follows whenever you wear them. However, you must make sure that the hat is not too big or small and sits properly on your head. If the size of the hat is not correct, you will not feel comfortable and also look silly, which is what you will not want. If the hat is too large, you will look like a clown, and the hat may easily fall off, but if the hat is too small, you will have a squished look. Most people wear their hats during work. They may be riding horses, working the fields, cleaning barns, or doing other laborious tasks. A badly fitting hat is likely to get in your way and be a distraction rather than a help. The good thing about cowboy hats is that it is not too difficult to get a proper fit. Any good milliner or hat shop will help you measure the size of your head and offer you a selection of cowboy hats that fit well. You can go in for a pre-shaped hat or buy a hat you can shape at home according to whatever is your personal choice. Un-creased hats are the best choice if you want to customize your looks. However, if you do not have anything specific in mind, you should begin from the area just outside your eyes as it will prevent the hat from looking like a taco. If you are new to wearing hats, you should not attempt to shape hats, instead, take a good look at the various shapes and creases available at the shop, and decide on a cowboy hat that suits you.

The Right Hat for the Right Season

Nowadays, cowboy hats are commonly made of straw and fur-based felt, with leather being a rare choice. As you can imagine wearing a fur felt hat in the heat of the summer can make it very uncomfortable for you. It is better to keep them away to wear during fall and winter, even early spring when you need extra protection from the cold and damp. Cowboy hats made of straw are ideal for summertime wear since they are lightweight and breathable. A general rule is to straw hats from May to Labor Day and felt, thereafter. However, it all depends on the climate of the place you are in, and you should choose based on the prevailing weather. You should opt for a straw hat in warm weather, but a fur hat is more comfortable in cool weather.

Etiquette for Wearing Cowboy Hats

According to Master Class, you are obligated to remove your hat when you are entering a building or a restaurant. Once you are inside, you can wear your hat again if the occasion is informal, however, for all formal occasions, you should not wear your hat again. If you are dining formally at the table, you should not wear your hat, but if you are enjoying a casual meal or drink at the counter. There is no need to take your hat off when you are on the range, even when eating.

You must take care to remove your hat from your head during the singing of the National anthem, passing of the pledge of allegiance, and the passing of the flag, inside a church, meeting a person for the first time, particularly an elder, or attending a wedding or funeral indoor. You should remove your hat when the casket passes in a funeral procession. It is customary for you to take your hat in your right hand and place it over your heart or hold your hat in your left hand and place your right hand over your heart.


An important aspect of treating your hat with respect is never to handle it by the brim. According to experts, by doing so, you will invariably damage it because the brim is fragile. It is better to hold the hat by the crown when taking it off. Use a hat rack to keep the hat or place it upside down on the crown on a flat surface.