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 Royal Stetson Playboy Fedora Hat Sz 7 1/8Vintage Stetson Open Road Hat, Size 7 1/4"Lot Of 8 50s 60s Mens Hats Wool Fedora Gangster Noir Detective Stetson KakaduVintage Stetson Cowboy Hat In Box 5x Beaver 7-1/4Vintage Stetson Open Road 7x Beaver 7-1/8 With Box!Vintage 1940s Stetson Whippet Fedora Hat 7 1/8 GreyJohn B. Stetson Open Road 4x Beaver Hat Sz 7 1/4 Silver BellyVintage Stetson 4x Beaver Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/8 John B. Stetson Company / NiceVintage Stetson Xxx Open Road Gene Autry Beige HatVintage Stetson Sovereign Caribou Gray Fur Felt Fedora Size 7 3/8Vintage Stetson The Open Road 4x Beaver Fur Felt Fawn Hat 7 1/8Vintage/estate/antique Stetson Mens Fedora Grey Hat Size 7 1/2 With Original BoxStetson Hat, Size 7-5/8" Size 7 5/8 Vintage Stetson Felt Fedora HatJohn B. Stetson Open Road 3x Beaver Western Fedora Hat 7-1/8 Vtg 1950s Very NiceStetson Cowboy Hat Rancher Style Size 7 3/8th Brim 3 1/2 Silver Belly ColorVintage Stetson Stampede 3x Beaver Fur Felt Palomino Cowboy Hat 7 3/8Lot Of 4 Vintage 1960's Stetson Brodts Melton Manhattan Fedora Men's 7 1/2 HatStetson Cowboy Hat Silver Belly Range 4x Beaver Size 7 1/4Vintage Stetson Avanti Fidora Style Hat Very Nice C@@l Approx 7 3/8 Dark GreenVintage Stetson Fedora Stetson Hat Stetson Cap Long Oval 7-1/2 Black Stetson NrHat Co Stetson El Presidente Regular Oval Black Fur Felt Sfpres 100x Beaver 71/8Vintage Resistol Band Stetson Liner Men Cowboy Hat 4x Beaver Long Oval Sz 7 1/8Vintage 1940's Stetson "playboy" Fedora: Ten Million Dollar Hat 7+Vintage Mallory Coast To Coast Fedora. (stetson)Stetson Western Hat Xxxxx 7 1/8Vintage Stetson Cowboy Hat Rawlins Silver Belly 4x Beaver 7 1/8 Euc With BoxVintage Stetson Floridian 3x Beaver Hat-used, No ReserveStetson Open Road 3x Beaver Quality - Vintage Hat, Worn Tan ColorJohn B. Stetson Xxxx Beaver Cowboy Western Hat Indiana Jones Hat Fedora Temple Of Doom Stetson 1984Authentic Stetson Miniature Roper Hat With Hat Stand In Collectors TinStetson Western Shirt Men Plaid Long Sleeve L Blue 11-001-0478-0700 BuStetson Xxx Colt Special Black Cavalry Hat M71232 U2005 4" Brim Sz 7Satellite By Stetson Vintage Hat BoxMens Stetson Xxx Beaver Cowboy Hat With Montana Silver Hat Band Size 87x Straw Stetson Western Cowboy Mens Ivory Hat Size 7.5, 60cmStetson Fidora Style Hat Very Nice C@@@l Approx 7 1/8 Worn Twice Stetson Cowboy Hat 4x Beaver FeltStetson Brown Cowboy Hat 7 3/4 Excellent Cond Rarely Used Black *stetson* 4x Fur Felt Western Cowboy Hat Size: 7 3/4 Vintage Stetson Winchester Cowboy Hat 3x Beaver With Carrying Suitcase Size 7Stetson Men's Size L Genuine Raffia Timberlane Natural Straw HatVintage Stetson Soft Woven Open Rode Style Straw Hat 7 1/4 - 2 3/4 Brim Vintage Men's Stetson Western Felt Hat 4" Wide Brim Mens Size 6 7/8 Grey ColorStetson Leather Brim Baseball Cap Hat - M (7 - 7 3/8)Stetson Imperial Fur Felt Size 7 1/8 Vintage Hat Box Fedora Gray W Orig Hat Pin Stetson - Open Road 3x Beaver Quality - Vintage Hat, Worn Tan ColorStetson Dark Blue Warm Lined Wool Blend Ivy Driving Cap Hat Medium New !Stetson - Brown Pink Floral Embroidered Long Sleeve Mid-length Dress Size LargeStetson Vintage Fedora Felt Hat Size 6 7/8 With Woven Band, Pin And Feather :)Stetson Hat Fedora Black Men's 7 Vintage The Royal Stetson 428577Stetson Brown Leather Jr Ewing Western Style Sports Coat Blazer-46 Long