Cowboys first started wearing hats out of necessity rather than as some fashion statement. Working out in the elements, cowboys needed a way to keep the wind and rain out of their faces and the hot blazing sun off their heads and necks. The first cowboy hat was floppy and not very serviceable.
John B. Stetson was responsible for creating a sturdy hat that wouldn't lose its shape while it provided sun and weather protection and the modern cowboy hats were born. Today's felt cowboy hat is made from quality animal fur that is shaped and blocked using water and steam to create the distinctive brim and shape that characterizes the cowboy hat. Cowboy hats are also made of straw in basically the same fashion. Many people like to own both styles, using the lighterweight straw cowboy hat in the spring and summer and the heavier felt cowboy hat during the fall and winter months.
When selecting either a felt or straw cowboy hat, it's important to take a person's facial shape as well as their build into consideration so that the hat will complement both. Look in the mirror and if your face is heart shaped and slender, select a cowboy hat with a narrow brim and well-tapered crown. If you are a round faced person, select a hat with a full crown, medium brim and flatset rather than rolled.
Next look in a full-length mirror to match the cowboy hat with your body type. If you are short in stature and slender, the right cowboy hat for you features a tall crown and a brim that flatters your facial shape. A tall and lanky person, on the other hand, should get a hat with a shorter crown and a medium brim so as not to emphasize their height.
A short and muscular person should select a cowboy hat with a medium to narrow brim to avoid appearing even shorter and more squat. A tall individual with a stocky build looks good in a cowboy hat with full crown and medium to full flatset brim. Tall and muscular individuals should select a cowboy hat featuring a moderate brim and full crown.
A cowboy hat is an investment you can enjoy for many years to come. You may want to spend a little more and personalize yours with a hatband. It's a good idea to invest in cleaning brushes to remove the dust and dirt that accumulate on the crown and the brim. On a daily basis, store your hat on a hat rack with a wire arm to help the hat retain its shape and if you won't be wearing it for a while, store it in a closed hatbox to protect it from damage.