Stetson is just another word for cowboy hat, right? Almost. Like Kleenex and Xerox, Stetsons are so widespread and ingrained in the culture of hats that the name is practically a universal term.

The Stetson story began in the mid-19th century in East Orange, New Jersey, where a boy named John Batterson Stetson learned how to be a hatter from his father, who was already successful in the trade. By 1865, when Stetson was 35, the aspiring hatter rented a small space in Philadelphia for his shop, spent no more than $100 on tools and materials, and established the John B. Stetson Hat Company.

Within a year, Stetson had introduced a hat called Boss of the Plains. With its wide, flat brim and straight-sided, round crown, the hat was an instant success with anyone working outdoors. It was a particular hit out West, where the short-lived era of the cowboy was in full swing. Other hats from the early years of Stetson include the Carlsbad, whose crown was creased instead of rounded like the Boss’s. Twenty years later, Stetson was the largest hat factory in the world.

It’s thought that Custer was wearing a Stetson when he rode to defeat in the Battle of Little Bighorn, but that didn't stop Canada’s North West Mounted Police from placing an order for the very wide, flat-brimmed hats what would become their trademark look later in the century.

By the 1900s, Stetson hats were on the heads of some of the most famous figures of the day. Buffalo Bill Cody wore Stetsons, as did Will Rogers. In the first half of the 20th century, Stetson was also regarded for its fashionable women’s hats, in Ascot, cloche, and other classic styles—one fedora-like creation was dubbed the Lady Stetson.

For Hollywood, Stetsons were irresistible props. Silent-film star Tom Mix was famous for his big, white 10 Gallon Stetsons—for the record, the hat only held three quarts of water. But the big crown suited the cameras, as well as Texas ranchers, who liked their imposing look.

Today Stetson makes a wide range of form-fitting wool, beaver, and buffalo felt hats in classic Western landscape colors, as well as white and black. Stetson also makes tightly woven straw and Panama hats, one of which features a band and rim that glows in the dark. And Stetson continues to be known for its dress hats, from fedoras to derbies to homburgs.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Des Chapeaux

Des Chapeaux

A French tribute to women's hats and other headwear from the 1940s... primarily magazine images, with some commenta… [read review or visit site]

American Hatpin Society

American Hatpin Society

Who knew there was so much to hatpin collecting? This site is all about great hatpin images - from recent hatpin co… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Most watched eBay auctions    

Vtg Stetson Tom Mix Beaver Felt Hat In The BoxVintage Stetson Premier Genuine Panama Straw Fedora Hat 7 1/4 Unique Weave!Vintage Stetson Hat Size 7 3/8 Gray Rare StyleVintage Stetson Bantam Fedora Hat Sz 7 3/8Vintage Stetson "montana Peak" 4-x Beaver Cowboy New Mexico Movie 7 3/8 Hat SassVintage Stetson "gus" 4-x Beaver Cowboy New Mexico Movie 7 1/2 Hat SassVtg Royal Stetson Fedora Hat Size 7 1/2 Saxon Caribou Gray Nos W/ Tags & BoxVintage Stetson "gus" 4-x Beaver Cowboy New Mexico Movie 7 1/8 Hat Sass3x Beaver Stetson Open Road Fedora 7 1/4 Handsome Depression Era Look Antique Collapsible John B Stetson Top Hat Beautiful Condition In Original BoxVintage Stetson Stratoliner Fedora Men's Hat Felt Gray Grey AccessoryVintage Royal Stetson Stratoliner Size 7 1/8 Brown Nice Condition Felt FedoraLeather Stetson HatGus Creased Stetson 35 Carlsbad Hat 7 1/4 Long Nap Fur Felt? Beaver? Velour?John B. Stetson Moose River 7 3/4 R 23/8 Brim Silverbelly Color Made Usa Ll BeanVintage 40's-50's Royal Stetson Boiler Hat Western Derby Age Distressed Sz 7 3/8Vintage 3x Beaver Stetson Fedora Hat W/boxVtg John B Stetson 4x Xxxx Beaver Cowboy Western Hat 7 1/8 Tan Extra Bands NiceStetson White Hillcrest 6x Beaver Fur Felt Cowboy Hat 4" Brim 7 1/4 Tanya TuckerBeautiful Stetson Straw Fedora Style Hat W/ Multi-colored Band~sz 7 1/4~unworn?Vintage Stetson Lite Felt Hat 7 5/8 Leather & Turquoise BandStetson Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/2Vintage Stetson Felt Fedora New Condition* With Original Box Size 7 1/8Vintage The Gun Club By Stetson 3x Beaver Hat 7 1/4 Size Hat Good Condition New Men's Stetson 5x Silverbelly Beaver Felt Cowboy Hat-size 7-1/8rStetson Hat - Vintage "the Sovereign" StetsonTingle Grey Texas Wool Felt Large Stetson Cowboy Western Wear Hat - F4 F04Mens Vtg Rand Hatters Billings Mt Custom-made Stetson-style Cowboy Hat Sz 7 3/8Vintage Royal Stetson Fedora Hat Sz 7 1/8 Southcomb Baltimore St HaberdasheryStetson Blk Black Newsboy Driving Hat Cabbie Linen/cotton Medium/large 8 Panel Brown Stetson Cowboy Hat The Billy Kidd Size 7 5/8Vintage Stetson "the Stetsonian" 5x Beaver With Original Box-7 1/8-near MintVintage John B. Stetson Xxx-3x Beaver Western Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/2 In Box Nice!Stetson Authentic 4 X Beaver Western Cowboy Hat Black Felt Xxxx Size 7 1/2 Stetson - The Gun Club Hat - Starburst Style - Xxxx - Size 7 3/8 Sandstone/duneBlack Stetson 4x Beaver Thunder Rolls Cowboy Western Hat 7 3/8 Buckle W/ BoxStetson Open Road 7 1/2Vintage Stetson The Gun Club 3x Fur Felt Western Fedora Hat 7 1/4 Vintage Stetson 20x "rancher" Silver Belly Cowboy Western Hat Size 7 1/4 58Stetson Gray Felt Cowboy Hat 5x Size 7 1/8Stetson Gun Club Brown Beaver Fur Cowboy Hat Mens 6 7/8 #239Vintage Stetson Royal De Luxe "bogart" Fur Felt Fedora Hat 7 1/8 Lo W/ Hat BoxStetson Western Dress Womens Lace Dark Gray Size MediumStetson Cowboy Hat Tyler 7 1/4 58 GrayVintage Men's Mallory Straw Panama Hat Boater Style Size 7 1/8 Made By Stetson Stetson 3x Black Felt Western Cowboy Hat Size 6 7/8 (55) Vintage!Men's Vintage Royal Stetson Whippet Fedora Sz 6-7/8Vintage Stetson Hat 4x Beaver Felt, Western Style Size 7 1/8Black 7 1/8 Carson Stetson Hat 3 1/2 Inch Brim New Fur Felt, Cowboy WesternAdult Stetson Black Roper Cowboy Hat Size 7 3/8 R 4x BeaverNew Stetson Men's Size Xxl Fedora Hat Grey 2xl Herring Bone !Stetson Cowboy Hat Size 6 7/8 Mist Grey 5 XxxxxMen's Vintage Stetson Royal De Luxe St Regis Homburg - Sz 7Stetson Mens 11" Pull-on Cowboy Boot Style 1202088010901 Size 12d No ReserveVtg Men's Stetson Leather Jacket Western Sherpa Lined Brown Coat Size 40Vintage Stetson Cowboy Hat With Feather Band, 4x Beaver, 7/8 With BoxStetson 4x Cowboy Western Hat Acorn Color Size 7 1/8Stetson Vintage Fifth Avenue Womens Camel Felt Hat 22 ½ Vintage Stetson "stetsonian" 5x Fur Felt Fedora Hat 7 GrayMens Stetson Cowboy Western Hat Size 7 1/4, 3x Beaver, Light Brown