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 Stetson "gus" 3-x Beaver Cowboy New Mexico Movie 7 3/8 Hat Sass1950's Vintage Stetson Royal Deluxe St. Regis Gray Felt Homberg-fedora Sz. 7 3/8Vtg John B Stetson John Wayne Style Western Cowboy Hat 4x Xxxx Beaver Size 7 3/8Vintage Royal Stetson Blue/greyMens Stetson 10x Fur Felt Western Cowboy Hat 7 1/4 Pebble Gray ~worn OnceStetson Men's Hat 7 5/8 Royal Stetson Brown Felt Fedora New In BoxAntique Vintage Stetson Steampunk Collapsible Opera Top Hat 1930s Size 7-1/4Vintage Royal Brown Stetson Fedora W/ Multi Color Feather Detail Size 7 3/8Stetson 4xxxx, Size: 7 1/2 Cowboy Rancher Felt Hat--f2220 Tejano Ii Vintage Stetson Royal De Luxe Gray Stetsonian Men's Hat Sz 6 7/8 Philip MarloweMen's Stetson Black Vintage Alligator Skin Loafers Size 10.5 DVtg John B Stetson Grey/beige 4x Beaver Cowboy Western Hat W/bead Band Sz 7 1/4Stetson Cowboy Hat 5x Beaver Fur Felt Cowboy Ranch Tan - Size 6-7/8Stetson, 4x, Beaver Felt, Open Road, 7-1/4" Oval, 2-3/4" Brim, Silver Belly Stetson 30x El Patron Silver Belly Felt Cowboy Hat (7 1/8)Original John B Stetson Mens The Gun Club Western / Cowboy Hat Size 7 3/8 / 59Vintage Men's Stetson Hat / Augenstein & Hoeffel NapoleonW Vtg Stetson Western Cowboy Hat Sz 7 3/8 Whiskey Brown/rust With BoxStetson Sheplers Felt Cowboy Hat Size Men's 59 7-3/8 Xxx StoneStetson Authentic Xx Premium Wool Western Cowboy Hat Black Felt Size 7 1/8 Summer's End Sale! Mens Vintage Stetson Heavy Weight Hat Box W/ All ComponentsClassic Stetson Stratoliner, Gray, Men's Felt Fedora Size 7 1/4Stetson Cowboy HatStetson Sable Brown Felt Fedora Style Hat Sz 7 1/8 Brim 2" Df20185 NoltonVintage Stetson Suede Cowboy Hat, Beige 7 1/8Vintage Stetson Dillon 4x Beaver Cowboy Western Hat Size 7 1/8Vintage 4x Fur Felt Stetson Gray 7 1/2 (60) With BoxVintage Royal Stetson Steel Grey Straw Fedora Hat 7 1/8 22"50s Vintage Stetson "the Sovereign" Brown Velour Fedora Sz 7 3/8Vintage Stetson Stampede Style Cowboy Hat Sz 6 7/8 High Crown Wide Brim 3xbeaverVintage Stetson Cowboy Hat Box. Very Good ConditionStetson Cowboy Hat, Bronzine, Size 7-1/4 No Reserve! 21-1/2" Brim, SutleyStetson, 10x, Gray, Western Rancher Beaver Felt Hat, 7-3/8", With 3-1/2" Brim Stetson 10x Western Rancher Hat 7 Beaver FeltVtg 70's Stetson Hi Roller Silver Belly 3x Beaver Oval Felt Hat ~ 3.5 B ~ 7 WboxStetson Cowboy HatVintage Stetson Xxxxxxx Western Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/8 Neutral Bone Color UsedNew Old Stock Belt Buckle Assortment Stetson Wells Fargo Billy The KidStetson Black Newsboy Driving Hat Cabbie New Linen/cotton Small/medium 7 1/8 56Stetson Felt Hat, Beaded Fringe, Vintage Cowboy Hat, 7 1/8, 22 5/8 LargeVintage Stetson Cowbot Hat Brown John B. Stetson Cowboy Hat 3x Beaver Felt Sz 6 7/8 Mens Womens Youth Stetson Openroad HatStetson Hat, Stallion Excellent Condition Chocolate Brown With Box Tx, Usa, 7.5Stetson Hat Black Fedora Size 7 Xxxx Beaver Brim 23/4Stetson Ear Flap Hat Cap Men Women L Xl Trapper Bomber Aviator Sherpa Brown NewJohn Stetson 7 Brown Wide Brim HatFabulous Vintage Royal Grey Stetson Fedora Multi Color Feather Detail Size 7 Vintage Antique John B. Stetson, Philadelphia, Pa. Derby Bowler Hat Size 6 3/4 Vintage John Stetson For Eddie Bauer 3 X Beaver Men's Hat - Baron Safari 7 3/8 Mourning Veil 48" X 16" And Black Womens Stetson Gloves 6 1/2"Stetson "gun Club" 4xxxx Felt Fedora Size 6 7/8 Excellent Condition Original BoxVintage Old West 4x Chocolate Beaver Skin Stetson Cowboy Western Movie Hat Sz 7Vintage Stetson Hat! Brown Beaver 4x, 7 1/850s Vintage Stetson Classic Fedora - The Sovereign" In Black Velour Sz 7 3/8 Stetson Lambskin Leather Fedora Hat Black Large New !Vintage Us Marshal Western Cowboy Hat Stetson Style Classic Rare Stetson HatVtg Stetson Cabelas No.1 Quality Little Dogie Buckskin Feather Band Felt Hat ~ 7Black Stetson Made In Texas Stallion Sz 7 3/8 R Oval Cowboy Western Hat