A Bit About the Cowboy Hat and the Cowboy Boot
One Size Fits All?
Not Here!

If you're on the lookout for a cowboy hat or pair of boots, here are some facts you can use. Before we get into that, let me share with you a bit of my world, before horses entered the scene.

Did you know that Seattle, Washington is home to the World's Largest Cowboy Hat and Boots?

When I was attending school in Seattle in 1954, a very unusual gas station was being built in the south part of the city. The station was located on US Highway 99, the major highway up and down the west coast until the opening of Interstate 5.

"The Hat n' Boots " gas station was to be the cornerstone of a planned Western-themed shopping complex. While the shopping complex never came to be, "Hat n' Boots" because of its strategic location on US 99, soon became Washington State's highest sales volume gas station.

Construction of I-5 in 1962 significantly affected the traffic volume on US 99. Business at Hat n' Boots went into a long decline and the station eventually closed in 1988. After 15 years of neglect and deterioration, Hat n' Boots is now in the process of landmark designation and on the road toward its rebirth in a local park.

Thus, a story of a cowboy hat and pair of boots with a happy ending.

The Hat, by the way was the main office of the station, the Boots housed the restrooms.

If you want to follow this story to its successsful conclusion you can at the Official web site of world's largest cowboy hat and boots. Now on with a Hats and Boots discussion more in line with why you're here - a brief history of the cowboy hat and the cowboy boot, followed by information on materials, sizing, and sources you should find helpful.

Now we come to a fork in the road, and as Yogi once said -

Take it.

a) If Boots are on your mind you'll find information concerning materials, prices, sizing, etc; by clicking on

b) if Cowboy hats are on your mind, read on.

Cowboy Hats - History, Styles and Sizing

The cowboy hat as we know it goes back to the 1860's with John B. Stetson credited as the inventor. Before Stetson introduced his wide-brimmed Boss of the Plains, cowpunchers wore everything from top hats and derbys to sailor's hats and Civil War gear.

Most people look good in a cowboy hat which is truly a marvelous invention.

As a proud owner you can:

Fan a fire, water your horse, gather berries (best done before watering your horse), admire your silhouette on the ground when horseback riding, feel taller and stonger,
and with the right shaped hat - be rather unique

And the list goes on.

While you don't have to pay a fortune for a nice looking hat, the look of true quality usually becomes evident when you're forking over in excess of a hundred bucks, maybe a little less for a nice straw (great for summertime).

The higher quality hats are made from felt (animal underfir to be more precise), one of the smoothest, lightest and resilient fabrics known in addition to being highly water-resistant. A good rain never hurt a quality felt hat.

Beaver, or muskrat fur are used in the best and most expensive hats, while rabbit or a combination of rabbit with one of the other felts, is most common. A 5X hat is all rabbit, a 10X hat is 50% rabbit and 50% beaver, and a 100X hat is 100% beaver.

Hat Styles

Cowboy Hat Book

If the seemingly infinite number of cowboy hat styles and shapes is puzzling to you, The Cowboy Hat Book by William Reynolds is designed to help you understand this unique item of cowboy clothing.

Beginning with a brief history of the cowboy hat, the book explains the building of the perfect hat, its care and feeding, hat etiquette, hat hair, and more. Photos of real and movie cowboys illustrate how creases, brims, shapes, and trims are unique to the individual who wears each hat.

For more details just click on the illustration which will take you to the appropriate page on Powell.coms website.

Hat Size

Of course if you have a dealer in cowboy hats in your vicinity, that is the best place to start if for no other reason than the conveience involved. If you do choose to shop by mail-order or over the Internet, the key factor, once you have found a style to your liking, is going to be the head size. Many (but not all) on-line dealers have a chart of one type or another which equates the inches around the head to the hat size. Measuring the head really is critical, being much more important to communicate to the dealer than just the hat size. A chart is provided below for your use should you be on the verge of purchasing a hat on-line.

Of course if this is a gift and is supposed to be a surpise, the hat size may be your only option. In that case, a tad too large is better than a tad to small.

Using a tape measure, measure the head's circumference at its widest part, just above (about 1/2") the ears and eyebrows, to the nearest 1/8 inch.

So, What Size Do You Need?
If Your Head Measures (in Inches)Your Hat Size is And Your Relative Hat Size is
21 6 5/8 X small
21 1/2 6 3/4Small
21 3/4 6 7/8Small
22 7Medium
22 1/2 7 1/8 Medium
22 3/4 7 1/4Large
23 7 3/8Large
23 1/2 7 1/2 X Large
24 7 5/8X Large
24 3/8 7 3/4XX Large
24 7/8 7 7/8XX Large
25 1/8 8 XXX Large
25 1/2 8 1/8XXX Large

With this information in hand you can shop for a hat through the mail or over the Internet with a pretty good dose of confidence that you will end up with a hat that is a good fit.

One more time. The Head measurement is the key.


Sometimes when surfing the Internet you come across a gem.

A rather unique hat shop that popped up on the monitor is the JAXONBILT HAT CO. out of Salmon, Idaho.
If you've a favorite movie or TV western star or role, be it Hoppy with his distinctive crown, the Lone Ranger (very stylish), John Wayne, or another hero, JAXONBILT makes hats emulating these famous western movie hat styles in addition to their regular line of western and custom hats.
For gift giving one of these hats might be just the thing for your horse lover who is also a bit of a nostalgia buff.

Another good place to start? Whether you're looking for a Stetson or another fine brand , you'll find a very wide selection of cowboy hats at

Shop Sheplers Western Wear

If you don't find an idea for a great horse lover's gift here there's always a Good Horse Book, an item of fine Equine Jewelry, or for something a little out of the ordinary see our Cool Ideas for Horse Lover Gifts page
- or pay a visit to our Gift Shop.

Back to Your Guide to Gifts for Horse Lovers Home Page