Today’s western hat first gained popularity during the late 1800’s and  early 1900’s. The concept of a broad-brimmed hat with a high crown  worn by a rider on horseback came primarily from the tradition of the  Mexican vaquero. However, the cowboy hat is a by-product of many  designs, including Mexican hats such as the sombrero, and various  designs of wide-brimmed hats worn by farmers and plantation workers,  as well as the design used by the U.S. Cavalry. The shape of a cowboy  hat once depended very much on the region from which it originated– at  one time a person could tell where a cowboy was from just by the  crease in his hat.

In the early days, the cowboy hat was valued for being functional,  with the wide brim protecting working cowboys from the sun and rain.  It could be used to signal others, fan a campfire, or pull water out  of a stream. Today, while the hats can still serve these purposes, most people wear them for their aesthetic value as a part of Western  lifestyle, or as a fashion statement. Every cowboy hat makes a  statement about its wearer, and is the most individualized piece of  apparel in the Western world. The West may forever be tamed, but the  cowboy hat still brings a bit of the rugged and reckless history of  the West.

Written by Rodney Allison


North Valley Hat Co.
8356 Liberty Rd. S.
Salem, Oregon, USA 97306
PH: 503-371-1110
Email: nvhatco@q.com
Web: www.northvalleyhatco.com