07/15/2014 A (Very) Brief History of the Cowboy Hat

Hats from our warehouse in Bagotá, Colombia.The hat.

There’s no hiding the hat. It is the most conspicuous of any apparel worn today, holding a symbolic significance that varies from culture to culture. While its global importance is not in question, views detailing its origin remain deeply conflicted.

The most prevalent historians tend to agree that the origin of the cowboy hat owes much to the Sombrero, which had been refashioned into the cowboy hat widely known today. But the concept of a hat that is broad-brimmed hat with a high crown and worn by a rider on horseback can be credited as far back as 13th-century Mongolian horsemen. And while Stetson is considered by many the originator of the modern cowboy hat design, it might be safer say that he was the first to market the cowboy hat, since it was the Bowler hat in those days that was considered the hat of choice in the American West. In fact, the Bowler hat was touted as the ‘Hat that Won the West.’ [1]

The hat has no doubt undergone significant changes, but its original design still remains. It has become a crucial part of the American culture and there are a number of political figures that have made it a part of their trademark. The likes of Harry Truman and Lyndon B Johnson are just some of the renowned American figures that that have adorned hats, so much so that it became an important part of their image. It is incredible how the modern cowboy hat remains to this day an important component of cowboy culture — and of American culture!

The Cárdenas Hats Heritage Collection adds a dash of modernity to the tradition of the cowboy hat. You can view our selections here. For our next blog, we'll give you tips for picking out the cowboy hat that's perfect for you.


[1] The Hat That Won the West. Retrieved 2010-02-10.

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