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    

Rare Fur Felt Stetson Indiana Jones Hat 7 3/8 In Orig. Box Excellent ConditionStetson Hat - Open Road Regular Oval - New!Vintage 40s Mens Brown Stetson Fedora Hat Royal Pork Pie 7 3/8 Long Oval.Royal Stetson Stratoliner Fedora Hat. Gray Color. 7 1/2 Yakima, Wash.Stetson El Patron Black Fur Felt Cowboy Hat - 30x Mens Size 7 1/8 - TejanaVintage Mens Fedora Mallory Stetson Size 7 1/4 -7 3/8 Felt Beaver ? 7 1/8-rare- Antique -stetson- Vintage Men's Collapsible Black Taffeta Formal Top HatVintage Stetson 3x Beaver Quality Felt Fedora Hat - 7 1/4 Stetson 7x Cowboy Hat Size 7 3/8Vintage Stetson "gus" 4-x Beaver Cowboy New Mexico Movie Sz 7 1/4+ SassVintage Men's Stetson Fedora Hat Size 7-3/8 With The Box Vintage 1950's Royal Stetson Fedora Hat Modified Porkpie 7 1/8Knox New York Royal De Luxe Stetson Maurice L Rothschild HatAuthentic Stetson Snaffle Bit Men's Cowboy Hat Black Size 7 3/8Vintage Stetson Panama Straw Hat 7 1/8" With Box Great ConditionVintage Men's Hat Stetson "the Open Road" 4x Beaver 7 1/8Stetson Silver Belly Xxxx Beaver Fur Felt 7 3/8 F2070 Wisp Cowboy Hat In BoxVintage 40s Mens Black Eagle Stetson Fedora Hat Royal Deluxe Size 7 1/4.Stetson Stratoliner Vintage Reproduction Fur Felt Fedora Caribou Size 7 1/2Stetson 12-021-6102-0553 Handmade Ladies Fashion Cowboy Boot Size 8.5 2276%4Vintage Stetson Hat ~ Open Road 3x Beaver (size 7 1/8)John B. Stetson Hat Western Cowboy 3x Xxx Beaver Felt 7 3/8John B Stetson Gray 5x 'range' Cowboy Hat Size 7 Long Oval With BoxVintage Stetson Straw Boater Gondolier Hat Size 6 7/8Vintage Royal Stetson Fedora Hat Size 7 1/8Stetson 5x Beaver HatVintage Stetson "gus" 7-x Beaver Cowboy New Mexico Movie Sz 7 1/4+ SassVintage Royal Stetson Fedora Hat Size 7 ,fur? 1947-1964 (post Wwii-early 60s)?Size 7 3/8 Vintage '60s Royal Stetson Felt Fedora HatCavalry Stetson 7 1/8 Stetson Cowboy Hat Skyline Silverbelly 7 3/8 WhiteStetson Woman's Black 4 X Beaver Fur Cowboy Hat With Silver Band With CaseNew Stetson Stc186 Fedora Safari Raffia Pork Pie Hat Natural Fast Ship Xl XlargeVintage Royal Deluxe Stetson Hamburg Fedora Bowler Hat 1947 Size 7Stetson Tyler Hat Garth Brooks Bullet Size 71/2Stetson Hat Boater Skimmer Black Beaver Felt 1920s Unisex Size 7 3/8 Vintage Stetson Gun Club 4x Felt 7 1/2 Aussie Outback Boonie Safari Look Very Sharp HatStetson Crushable Half Dome 14" Wool Felt Hat - Reduced!Stetson Brown Hatteras Germany Made Stc102-brn Large 58.5 Cotton/polyester LVintage Royal Stetson Hat "weekender" Size 7 1/2 Moss ColoredStetson B1 Open Road / Lbj Straw Western Hat Size 7 3/8 Natural ColorVintage StetsonVintage Stetson Royal Deluxe Gray Felt Fedora Homburg? Nice ConditionStetson Xxxxx Tan Cowboy Hat - Size 7 1/8 R Nice7 1/8 Stetson Silverbelly Cowboy HatStetson 4x Beaver Hat 7 1/8Nwot Stetson Open Road Royal Deluxe Prototype 7 1/8 Brown Hat FedoraVintage John D Stetson 3x Beaver Winchester Limited Edition Cowboy Hat 7 1/4Stetson Western Cowboy Rodeo Snap Up Shirt Sz Mens Xl Blue Plaid*** New Stetson Men's Silver Felt Top Hat 3x Beaver Quality Size 6 7/8 *** John B. Stetson Co. Phill. Women's Feather Weight C.e. Blair Laramie, Wyo. HatVintage Royal Stetson "the Open Road" Fedora Hat & Box - Size 7 - Very Nice !Fedora Hat By StetsonStetson Rancher Hat Mist Grey Worn Once Only Few Marks 5 X Beaver Size 6 & 7/8Stetson The Billy Kidd Western Cowboy Hat W/ Feathers : 7 3/8 W/ BoxStetson Cowboy Hat Black Felt Velvet Vintage Custom Ladies Kokoras Erie PaJack Daniels Cowboy Hat Pure Womens Wool Red Mens Jd12 300 Brim. Stetson StyleTls Formed Newsboy Stetson Cuffley Small 55cm Crushable Packable Grey GrayStetson StallionBeautiful New Stetson Feathered Hatband,adjust Fit,western,cowboy,fedora,brim