What is the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions a cowboy or a cowgirl? I bet your response is either "cowboy boots" or "cowboy hat." We have already shown you how to choose and care for your cowboy/cowgirl boots, so now, it's the hats' turn.
Oh, the hats that turn heads: a Gus, a Cattleman, a Clint, a Luke... Do you know the difference? Can you tell which style this hat is?
If you had no problem spouting out the answer, good for you! For those of us who still need to take a minute before responding, here are some tips for recognizing different hat styles.
First of all, when it comes to cowboy/cowgirl hat know-how, there are several distinctive crown shapes. There is an open crown (no folds or creases whatsoever), but there is also Cattleman (standard, low, or wide), Ranch, Gus, Brick, square top, round top, diamond top, Gambler, Clint, Association, Puncher, and Luke. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, take a look at this nifty guide to hat crowns. Pay attention to the shape of the top and height of the crown.
Next, your hat brim can be shaped in different ways. It can be flat, low, rolled, or one of several other distinctive shapes. Some of those shapes have fun names like Taco or Come-and-Go, and some are quite self-explanatory. Take a look below!
Last but not least, the way the front of the brim is shaped makes difference too. It can be pointed, round, square, wide or extra wide.
Can you now describe the hat in the first picture I showed you? Wouldn't you say it's a low brim Gus with round brim front?
Now that you know all the different crown, brim, and brim front styles, how do you choose the right one for you? The rule of thumb is to choose the one that looks good on you (gotta try it on, cowboys and cowgirls!) and that suits the function you have in mind. Functionality is the top priority for your hat if you use it for anything other than a mere fashion statement. You should never worry about it blowing off your head during ranch or field work. Also, your hat should be comfortable. It should fit without being too tight - which could restrict blood flow and leave creases on your forehead, but you don't want it falling over your eyes and obstructing your line of sight either. In addition, your hat should fit your personality, and if you are a fashion junkie, you might want to follow one of the latest trends. However, keep in mind that trends come and go but classics will always be "in."
Your facial shape plays a big role in choosing the right hat. If you have a thin and long face, hats with medium crown heights would suit you better. If you have a small chin, you should get a hat with a lower crown, preferably tapered with a forward tilt. If your face is oval, go for higher crowns and at least a medium brim. Brims that are too low can visually distort the proportions of your face.
Now that you know all the basics, go out there and try a new hat on! Above all, don't forget to spend some time in that hat in front of a mirror before you buy it. This is one time when standing in front of a mirror is not only proper but also highly recommended.
What style of cowboy/cowgirl hat do you prefer and why? Tell us in the comments below.
the mind and hands behind hART Sense Design. I am a designer and hand-maker of one-of-a-kind and limited edition jewelry and accessories for artistic, chic cowgirls, boho babes, and lovers of all things western.
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