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    

Vintage Royal Stetson Whippet Gray Felt Fedora Size 7 1/2 Hat Russell Bros.Loose 7 1/8 Vintage, Stetson "gus" 7-x Beaver Cowboy -new Mexico Movie Hat- SassNos Stetson 4x 7 3/8 3 3/4 Brim Carson 61 Silverbelly Cowboy Hat In BoxOld Antique Western Themed Cowboy Stetson Box With Portis Fedora Beaver HatVintage John B. Stetson Select Straw Boater Grosgrain Band Hat Long Oval 7 NrMens Stetson 4x Beaver Short Brim Cowboy Hat Western Retro Classic Size 59 7 3/8John B Stetson Co 4 X Beaver Black Felt Cowboy Western Hat With Box 56/7 Royal De Luxe Stetson Men's Chocolate Brown Hat Size 7 1/4" With Original BoxVintage Men's Stetson Royal Fedora Hat Size 7 3/8 Great CondStetson Canyon Large Men's HatVintage Mens Stetson Style Black Hat 7 1/4 Mens Accessories Clothing CollectibleVintage Stetson 3x Beaver Fedora Hat In BlackVintage John B. Stetson 4x Cowboy Hat "porters Of Arizona" 7 1/4Royal Stetson Men's Dark Brown Fedora Hat With Feather Size 7 1/8" In BoxVintage Stetson Mallory Felt Fedora Hat Size 7 1/8Nice! Stetson 5x Beaver Rancher Cowboy Hat - Mist Grey - Size 7 - XxxxxStetson Cowboy HatStetson 3x Rialto Black Cowboy Hat -4" Brim. 4.5" Crown - Size 7 3/4 NosExcellent Royal Stetson Men's Fedora, Size 7 1/8, Black Felt, Very Stylish!!Stetson Cowboy Hat "tyler" Size 7 1/8 4x Beaver - Dark Grey -& Nice Distressed Beater Vintage D Bar J Western Cowboy Hat - Size 7 1/4 - ?stetson?Stetson Cowboy Hat 4x Buffalo Fur Felt Seminole Mink Size 7 3/8Stetson 4x Beaver Size 6 7/8 Cowboy Hat Style Name Stampede Color AcornJohn B. Stetson 4 X Beaver Beige Cowboy Hat. 7-1/4Black Bowler Vintage Felt Stetson Hat The Stetson Special Estimate Pre-1950Stetson 56cm Newsboy Cabby Seide/silk/ 8 Panel Button Hatteras Silk HartfordVintage Brown Royal Stetson Fedora Hat 7 3/8 Size W/ Brown Ribbon & Feather& BoxVintage Stetson Hat In Original Box Fedora Style Size 7 Royal Deluxe St RegisVtg Stetson 50s Lizard Dress Shoes Exotic Italian Size 10.5 PremiumStallion By Stetson Western Xx Black Wool Hat - Size 7 1/2Stetson Crushable 100% Wool Hat Eagles Nest Retail $59.99 LVintage Stetson Royal Bantam Fedora-type Hat - Size 7Vintage Stetson Rancher Cowboy Hat 4x F2010 Dove Grey 3 1/2" Brim W Box 7 1/8 Women's Western Wedding Hat Lady Stetson & Veil White Size 6-7/8 Stetson Hat 100% Wool Expedition Model Size Xl Crushable Water Repellent40's - 50's Stetson Brown Fedora Mens Hat Long Oval Dobbs Hat BoxStetson 4x "wyatt Earp" Style 7 1/2Antique Stetson Top Hat Collapsible BlackJohn B Stetson Black 4x Beaver Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/8 Style F2102 Mens's-women'sStetson Torrance Toyo Tan Porkpie Hat New LargeStetson Multi Colored Horizontal Patch Work M 8/4 7 1/8 57Stetson Cahmere/silk Brown Blue 8/4 Hatteras Germany Handmade Retail $129Stetson Western Hat 4x Beaver Black W/ Band Size 6 7/8 Cattleman Cowboy Usa MadeStetson Western Hat Black Grant Beaver Size 7 1/4Stetson New Men Ivory Lightweight Safari Summer Sun Hat Cap W/ Grossgrain Band LVery Old Vintage Stetson Men's Hat Sz 7 1/4 In Very Good ConditionStetson Corduroy Medium Olive Green Snap Front Bill NewMen's Military Dress Uniform With StetsonStetson Western Cowboy Hat Carlson F2621 Excellent Condition Size 7 3/8th Man’s Black Stetson Rancher Hat Xxxx Beaver Size 7 In Box (609)Vtg John B. Stetson Bark Xxxx 4x Beaver Range Felt Western Cowboy Sz 7 1/8Stetson Mans Vintage Shoe Wing Tip Size 9 Black Leather Great LookStetson Wool Bomber Trapper Baseball Cap Hat Xl NewStetson HatStallion By Stetson Men's 10x Beige Western Straw Hat - Size 7Vintage Womens Stetson 5th Ave Blue Felted Hat W/feathers-sz 22 1/2Men's Black Stetson Hat Mello Felt Crushable Water Repellent Small SStetson Pork Pie Hat Tan Medium/small?