No more are cowboy hats only for cowboys and actors who recreated the Wild West in all its glory. Today, stylish men and women are showing a lot of interest in cowboy hats which are now in the realm of the rich and the famous, the trendsetters in fashion. The adventurist spirit in the rough and rugged-looking cowboy hats has undergone deft changes that suit the urban elites. The men’s cowboy hats seen today in the fashion corridors are a reincarnation of the original cowboy hats. Since American cowboys headed for the new frontier, men’s Western fashion has undergone a lot of modification and reshaping to stay tuned to the evolving needs of consumers.
The urge to preserve cultural heritage has been quite intense among fashion designers that led to the modified style of Western outfits, including cowboy hats. The metamorphosis of cowboy hats bears the distinct marks of the Mexican culture and the focus shifts from functionality to aesthetics. Functionality dominated the design of cowboy hats that offered considerable protection from the weather, especially in the sweltering heat of the mountainous terrains. But in their modern form, cowboy hats hold more appeal because they can help to make a strong style statement. Although the style of cowboy hats that you see today is much different from the original style, the basic design features that lend uniqueness to the hats are still visible.
Cowboy hat design
The wide flat brim of cowboy hats and the tall crown rounded at the top are the hallmarks of the large hats usually made from felt and straw and sometimes leather. The hat has a simple sweatband that helps to ensure the right fit so that the hat stays in place while braving the gust of winds without the need for chin straps. The deviation from the traditional design is evident in the crown’s creasing and the brim’s rolling, which are the modern features of the quintessential cowboy hats that remind one of the cultural roots. Black, brown, and some neutral colors like beige are popular for cowboy hats, and seldom would anyone choose flashy colors that can be entirely out of place.
The transition from functionality to fashion
Never did cowboys think beyond protection when wearing the hats because, for them, it was a matter of survival in the Wild West by braving the weather that was difficult to cope with, especially when galloping across the terrains on horseback. But the cowboy hats that we see today are mere replicas of the original design with various creative tweaks to make the hats look more fashionable. While original cowboy hats had hatbands only, the hats that we see today have more decorations like bows attached to the left side of the hat beside the hatband and buckles that add more masculine elements to the design. The same buckles but smaller in size and with some intricate designs can enhance the appeal of women’s cowboy hats. The transition from functionality to fashion is quite visible in the design of cowboy hats of our times.
Hollywood’s role in popularizing cowboy hats
Fashion flows from Hollywood, and it has been the way even today. Whatever is fashionable today must have begun with some Hollywood celebrities who created such a flutter that it marked the beginning of a new fashion trend. It happened with almost every fashion item, and cowboy hats are no exception. The characters of the Western movies would surely wear cowboy hats, and even in jungle movies like Hatari, John Wane wore the cowboy hat with aplomb that soon became a rage. Artists and entertainers have contributed immensely to popularizing the cowboy hat that has become a stylish headgear for the urban population.
Staying fashionable is a way to uphold one’s sense of belongingness as fashion permeates through communities and creates a strong social impact. Had it not been so, then how could the Texas Rangers or the Royal Canadian Mounted Police include cowboy hats in their uniforms?
The most distinct characteristic of cowboy hats that lend it a unique identity is a crease in the crown that points to the specific subculture of the place or the community. The crease has an essential function as it facilitates holding the hat firmly by the crown when wearing or removing it instead of laying the hands on the brim that can distort the shape of the hat in the long run. The subtleties of the design of cowboy hats might not interest the average person who focuses more on the style aspects. Still, every feature that creates some style has critical functionality that helps preserve the hat shape.
The millennial population and Gen-Z are taking particular interest in the homegrown rugged style that has created a profound impact in men’s luxury wear that has the unmistaken marks of contemporary times.