Cowboy Hats and Sizing

Since your new cowboy hat is an investment that can last a lifetime,
 It is important to have your cowboy hat fit correctly.

If it is too tight, you will get headaches.
If it is too loose, it'll fall off.

So here is how to measure your hat size:

Measure around your head about 3/4 of an inch above ear where your hat will be worn.
(A cloth tape measure such as a seamstress or tailor uses is ideal.)
It is usually helpful to have someone help you.

Pull the tape tight to measure within 1/8".

  1. Read off the number and use the chart below to determine your hat size.

That's the way it's done. Simple!



Adult Hat Measurements

Head Size

Hat Size





6 – 5/8


21 –1/2


6 –3/4


21 –5/8


6 – 7/8

22 – 1/8




22 – 1/2


7 –1/8



7 –1/4


23 – 3/8


7 – 3/8

23 –3/4


7 –1/2




7 – 5/8

24 –1/2


7 –3/4




7 –7/8


Children's Hat Measurements

Hat Size

6 1/8

6 1/4

6 3/8

6 1/2

6 5/8

6 3/4

6 7/8


19 1/8

19 1/2


20 1/4

20 3/4

21 1/2

21 3/4











Hats come in sizes with 1/8-inch increments.  The common sizes are between 6 3/4 to 7 3/8.  The problem is if you go to a dozen hat websites for a definition of sizes you will get different results.  One site tells us a size 71⁄2 is 23 3⁄4 inches. Another thinks it’s 23 5⁄8 inches. Others say it is 23 1⁄2 inches.

The only safe way to get the right size is to measure your head.

  • If you have a hat and you like the way it fits, put it on.
  • Measure your head with a cloth measuring tape from the sewing department at your local department store.  Measure in the same place your favorite hat fits on your head.  You are measuring where the hat band fits.
  • If you don’t have a hat that fits well, measure around your head, two finger widths above your eyebrow and one finger width above your ear.
  • One manufacturer uses this chart for hat size, but I recommend you order by head measurement.


      Hat Measurements

      Head Size

      Hat Size

      21 – 21 ¼  6 ¾
      21 3/8 – 21 5/8 6 7/8
      21 ¾ – 22 7
      22 1/8 – 22 3/8 7 1/8
      22 ½ – 22 ¾ 7 ¼
      22 7/8 – 23 1/8 7 3/8
      23 ¼ – 23 ½ 7 ½
      23 5/8 – 23 7/8 7 5/8
      24 – 24 ¼ 7 ¾
      24 3/8 – 24 5/8 7 7/8
      24 ¾ – 25 8

In addition to hat size, heads come in different shapes. 
To accommodate different shapes cowboy hats usually come in 3 different fits.

  • Regular oval
  • Long oval
  • Round oval

Stetson makes mostly regular oval and round oval
Resistol makes long oval and round oval
Larry Mahan hats are made wider at the temple.

Brims come in various sizes 3 ½ inch, 4 inch, 5 inch and larger.

Crowns can be shaped in cattleman, 3 finger pinch, brick, etc.

Hat fit is your preference.  A tight fitting hat stays on better but might take some getting accustomed to.


Top 6 Cowboy Hat Styles

If the only one you can think of is the Ten-Gallon Hat, then you need a quick brush up on cowboy hat styles. To give you a bit of history, the first cowboy hat to achieve mass popularity in America was the Boss of the Plains, created by the legendary John B. Stetson in 1865. This soft felt hat had a high crown with no creases, and a version of this hat can still be seen from time to time.

Of the countless cowboy hat styles that have been created over the years, here are a few classics that are still being worn today:

  • The Nevada: This popular style has a flat brim and a flat crown, giving it a smooth, sophisticated look. It’s very similar in style to the Gambler and often features an attractive woven band.
  • The Gambler: If you’ve ever seen an old Western movie, then you’ll recognize this style right away because it’s the one that the gambling man always wore when he came to the saloon to clean everyone out. Originating in Mexico, it has a large, flat brim to protect the wearer from the sun. Its low, flat crown was designed to protect the head from hot air accumulating. It’s extremely popular in black, although white Gamblers have a following as well.
  • The Gus: This classic style has a high crown with three deep indentations. The crown slopes toward the front, and legend has it that this is the exact spot that cowboys used to grab hold of when they took their hats off to ladies entering the room.
  • The Cattleman: Considered by some to be the most popular style of cowboy hat today, the Cattleman looks like everyone’s idea of the traditional cowboy hat, as seen in thousands of Hollywood movies. It has three creases in the top of the crown and a brim that slightly curves. With its low crown, it’s especially designed to stay on tight in windy, rainy weather.
  • The Dakota: The Dakota is distinguished by a broad rectangular indentation in the top of the crown and has a slightly curving brim. It’s a favorite with bull riders at rodeos.
  • The Pinch Front: This style has a deep indentation on each side of the front of the crown. It’s especially popular with cowgirls, because its sloping “pinched” front elongates the face and makes it look thinner.

Do you have a favorite style of cowboy hat?





Tips For Buying a Cowboy Hat


Buying a cowboy hat can become an ordeal when shopping online especially, if a person is not armed with the proper information on how to execute the task. It can, however, become a piece of cake, if one follows certain tips and guidelines in how to properly make their purchase. Then, a buyer should be able to locate the type of hat they are looking for, in their price range.

What to Look for When Making a Purchase

Before buyers proceed on the internet trail to pick out a cowboy hat, there are certain preliminary steps that should be taken prior to shopping. From there, they can hone in on their purchases and make a decision. Shoppers should know their size, be familiar with the brands, be versed in the materials used in the manufacture, be aware of the condition of the hat if it is not new and lastly, know their prices.

Choose a Size

Knowing the size before purchasing a cowboy hat is imperative and a buyer must obtain a measurement of their head prior to shopping. Head circumference is properly measured about an inch above the eyebrows. The actual size is converted to 3/8 of an inch per size. However, experts advise that the best calculation method to use is the centimeter system. If a buyer's head measures at 54 centimeters, the size converts to 6 3/4, or for someone whose head is 55 centimeters, the size is 6 7/8. Hat sizes come in increments of one-eighth of an inch. For measurements in between, it is recommended to seek the larger size, as hats that fit too small can cause headaches. Below is a size conversion chart for adults and children.

Popular Cowboy Hat Brands

Buyers should familiarize themselves with the known cowboy hat brands available for purchase before investing in one. Among some of the popular names are: Stetson, American Hat Co., Resistol, Larry Mahan, Justin, Tony Lama, and the Montecarlo Hat Company.

Cowboy Hat Materials

Cowboy hats can vary in design and look based on the materials used in their construction. Felt is a commonly used material, deriving typically from wool. Straw is another typical option available for a cowboy hat purchase. Sisal Straw, which originates from Mexico and Central America, is a popular variety of straw because it is lightweight, yet has stiffened fibers. Bullhide is one of the signature materials that the Montecarlo Hat Company utilizes in their designs, which hails from the hide of an older female or male cow. The hide is next chemically and manually manipulated to strengthen and toughen the material.

Hat Condition

When purchasing a cowboy hat, it is most advised to buy a hat in new, never worn condition. Although some claim they have barely worn the gently used cowboy hats for sale, it is still not advisable for health reasons to wear hats that have belonged to others. Additionally, a hat that has been worn by someone else has already been broken in and fitted to that person's head. Instead, buyers should opt for a new cowboy hat within their price range. An exception would be an antique cowboy hat, purchased for the purpose of a collection and for display only.

Cowboy Hat Pricing

Depending on the quality of a cowboy hat, prices can hover in the children's sizes up to $30. For a new adult-sized cowboy hat, buyers should be ready to spend in the range of $50 to $400, depending on the brand and materials used. Shipping charges should also be factored in to the purchase. If a free shipping offer does not apply, buyers should be aware that the cost can begin at about $10 or more because of the unusual size of the hat, which in turn will necessitate a larger shipping carton.


How to Care For Your Hat

Cowboy hats and cowgirl hats are popular pieces of attire that are emblematic of the North American cowboy culture. They are worn regularly by ranch workers in northern Mexico, western and southern United States, and western Canada. This type of hat is instantly recognizable for its wide-brimmed shape, with Stetson cowboy hats among the most popular brands. Most are typically made of soft-felt (either made from wool or fur) that is lightweight, smooth, and durable. Other cowboy hats are made of straw or occasionally leather. By following a few simple care tips, owners will ensure that their cowboy hats remain in good condition and will last for many years to come.

Cowboy Hat Storage

Here are some general rules for storage with the key to all of it being - don't put pressure on the crown or brim as this may eventually cause the hat to lose its shape.

1. If you do have to lay it on a flat surface, do so with the brim up and crown down to minimize stress on the brim. Laying it brim down will slowly warp the shape of the brim (unless it's a simple flat, round brim).

2. Hang the hat on a hat stand so that the crown is supported and the brim isn't pressing down on anything.

3. Hang the hat on the edge of shelf such that the brim is touching nothing.

3. During long periods when your hat is not worn, it is probably better to store the hat in a hat box where it will be best protected from light, dust and damage. An alternative is to create a cardboard ring (Take a 7" x 28" strip of Cardboard and staple it together to form a ring that you can lay the hat in.

Store hats in a cool, dry environment. Hats react to heat and moisture with extended exposure potentially causing a hat to lose its shape. Excessive heat can draw out straw hat fibers, and cause permanent damage to both straw and felt. Moisture can cause the shape to lose integrity and may even mold or rot. Even a hat left in a hot car can easily suffer damage from heat and humidity. The worst place for a cowboy hat is in the backseat window of a hot car or truck.

Handling a Cowboy Hat

It is best to avoid handling a cowboy hat by its crown. Instead, it should be picked up or held by the front and back of its brim. Owners should ensure that their hands are clean because dirty or oily hands can leave spot marks on the hat. These can be hard to remove.

Keeping a Cowboy Hat Clean

The way a cowboy hat is cleaned depends on the material it is made of. Felt and straw versions require different methods. Each should be cleaned and brushed regularly to keep them fresh and looking their best. Different sets of brushes should be used for different colors of the hat. This is to ensure the fibers from the hat fabrics do not get mixed.

Felt Cowboy Hats

A brim hat brush is required to clean the brim of the felt cowboy hat, and the crown brush for the crown removes surface dirt and dust. They can also be cleaned using a damp cloth with lukewarm water and non-detergent soap. Any leftover hairs or dust can be removed with masking tape by gently patting the hat. Any hard to remove stains should be taken care of by a hat cleaning professional. The sweat band should be turned down occasionally to help with drying, as it will allow hair oil perspiration to evaporate instead of soaking into the hat.

Straw Cowboy Hats

To remove surface dirt from a straw cowboy hat, a hat sponge or damp cloth should be used to gently rub the hat in a counter-clockwise motion toward the back of the hat. As with felt cowboy hats, the sweat band should be turned down occasionally to help with the drying process. This allows any trapped moisture to evaporate more quickly.

Cowboy Hats and Water

Contrary to the belief of some, felt hats were designed to be used in the rain as that was part of their original function. Wool hats are usually for dry climates and it is not recommended for situations where they might get wet unless you use a water repellant spray. Straw hats can handle a light rain for a brief time but nothing more unless the hat is a palm leaf straw.

If a felt hat gets wet, invert the sweat band so it's sticking out of the hat. Then stand the hat on the hat band using a clean, level surface. Let the hat dry slowly and on it's own. Don't use heat to accelerate drying as that could cause the leather sweat band to shrink. Ensure that the brim does not rest on the surface because pressure of any sort on a wet hat will warp the hat after it is dry.

If a straw hat gets wet, wipe off the water with a clean dry cloth and then turn the sweatband out and place on a level, clean surface to dry. Turning out the sweatband after a hard day sweating in your hat, preserves the length of time that your hat is going to be of service. With the band turned out, perspiration and hair oil evaporate and dry out instead of being transferred to the hat. This is the case with straw hats as well as felt. Any hat that is rain soaked can potentially sustain water damage.

Buying a Cowboy Hat on eBay

There is a huge selection of cowboy hats available on eBay at very reasonable prices, and the site is a good place to grab a bargain deal. Buyers who are interested in purchasing one should head to the Men's clothing section. From there, they can click on "Hats," located on the left-hand column, where they will be able to refine their results by searching specifically for cowboy hats. Ladies can follow the same process by going to the clothing section for women.


Finding the perfect cowboy hat is all well and good, but only if the owner knows how to properly care for it. Treat the hat with care and respect, and it will stay stylish and last for years.

Cowboy Hat Makers


  • American Hat Co.
  • Ariat
  • Atwood Hat Company
  • Bailey of Hollywood
  • Bailey Western
  • Bollman Hat Company
  • Bullhide Hats
  • Chad Chig
  • Charlie 1 Horse Cowboy Hats
  • Cody James
  • Dorfman Pacific
  • Eddy Bros.
  • Helen Kaminski - Kaminski XY
  • Justin Boots
  • Larry Mahan
  • Master Hatters of Texas
  • Milano Hat Co.
  • Moonshine Spirit
  • O'Farrell Hat Company - Santa Fe, New Mexico
  • Outback Trading Co.
  • Pantropic
  • Peter Grimm
  • Resistol Hats
  • Rodeo King
  • San Diego Hat Company
  • Serratelli Hats
  • Shorty's Hattery
  • Shyanne
  • Stetson Hats
  • Twister
  • Tommy Bahama





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Most recent revision September 24, 2022 03:00:49 PM

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