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 40's Era Stetson Stratoliner Mens Fedora Hat Sz 7 3/8 GreyStetson 4x Open Road Western Fedora 7 3/8 / 7 1/4 L Bob Wills/earl ScruggsVtg. Classic Stetson Open Road 3x Sb Western Fedora Sz. 7 3/8 9 Of 10 Vg-ex CondStetson El Patron 7 -1/4 R White 4 Brim Cowboy Hat VintageMen's Stetson 4x Beaver "the Gun Club" Western Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/4Vintage Stetson Royal Deluxe Brown Homburg Size 7 5/8Royal Stetson De LuxeVintage Stetson 3x Beaver Open Road Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/8 W/original BoxStetson Open Road 7 1/8Vintage John B Stetson Western Fedora Hat 3x Beaver Braided Rawhide BandVintage Stetson Royal Deluxe Stetsonian Fedora Hat Sz 7 1/4Stetson - 7 5/8 (61) Felt Cowboy Hat - Some Damage - Worn Twice - Free ShippingMens Stetson Western Cowboy Hat 5x Horse Hair Band Size 7 1/4Vintage Stetson Hat, The Gun Club By Stetson Xxxx 7 1/2 Vintage 1950s Mens Fedora Royal Stetson Brown Felt 7 1/8 CollectibleVintage 50's Stetson Open Road Twenty Fedora Mens Felt Hat Tan Ribbon Sz 6 7/8Stetson 7255 Mens Airway Beige Straw Breezer Panama Hat Xl BhfoVintage Men's Western Hat Stallion By Stetson Silver Belly Open Road Size ~7 1/2Mens Cowboy Western Stetson Hat 7 1/4 W Original BoxRoyal Stetson Long OvalStetson Hat Statesman Wf2257 7 5/8 Chocolate (old Stock)Stetson 30x Western Cowboy Hat (7 1/8) Black Beaver Stetson Western Hat 4x Beaver Sz 7 3/8 BlackStetson Mens Size 7 Hat Fedora Beige KhakiVintage Royal Stetson Fedora Men's Grey Hat 7 3/8 W. Box NiceVintage Stetson Xxx Beaver Felt Hat 7 1/8 Embroidered Liner "the Last Drop"Stetson Hat Black 7 1/4Stetson Sheplers Men's Black Felt Western Hat Sz 7 1/4Stetson Western Sweater Mens Long Sleeve L Blue 11-014-01203-0604 BuLarge Vintage Hat Lot, 10 Costume Hats 40's 50's Stetson Fedora Fez Beret TurbanVintage - Real Fur Hat By Stetson - Mens - Size 7.Vintage Stetson Hat Size 7 5/8Stetson Authentic X's Cowboy Hat - Black - Roper - Size 7-3/8, 4x Beaver - (639) Size 7 1/8 Vintage '50's Royal Stetson Brown Felt Fedora Hat W Black Band WvStetson Cowboy Hat 5x Cowboy Ranch Felt Tan Size 6 7/8 Fast ShippingVintage Black Stetson Cowboy Hat Xxxx 4x Beaver Fur Felt Size 7 1/4 58Men's Stetson 20x 7 1/8 Beige 4inch Brim Felted Fur HatVintage Gray John B. Stetson 6 7/8 Royal Stetson Hat W/pin & FeatherStetson Jeans Women Pixie Stix Skinny 10 Reg Light 11-054-0503-0446 BuVtg. Stetson 4x " The Gun Club " Western Hat Size 7 / NiceStetson Khaki Cotton Twill Safari/fedora Outback-made In Usa-vtg.-ecStetson Gore-tex Bucket Hat Beige With Green Band Size Xl Usa MadeVintage John B Stetson ? Cowboy Hat Straw Size 7 ? Halloween Women's ?Stetson Green Corduroy Ear Flap Cap L 58 Paperboy Bakersboy Hat Newsboy CabbyStetson Hat Fedora Royal John B. Stetson 2 Beavers Size 7 With Original BoxStetson Mens Large Blue Plaid 100% Cotton Midnight Western Coyboy Shirt *new*Stetson Hat Man Or/womans/ Brand New/216 Men's Stetson Jeans Standard Dark Heavy Denimn Straight Leg Size 36/31 EucStetson Plastic Eyeglass Frames Vintage, Men BrownVintage Gold Cowboy Hat Stetson Leather Rodeo Western Bolo Bola Tie Necktie