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 Grey Royal Deluxe Stetson Wide Brim Fedora Whippet Mens Hat Size 7 1/4Vintage Stetson Twenty Five Open Road Hat Silver Belly Gray Original Box 7 1/8Two Vintage, John B. Stetson Company 3x Beaver Cowboy Hats - Size 7 1/2Vintage Extra Quality Stetson Fedora Hat "stetsonian" Circa 1930 Size 7 1/4Vintage Stetson Beaver Hat 7 1/2 In BoxStetson Billy The Kid Fur Felt Cowboy Hat - 1985 Size 7 1/4Men's Eddie Bauer John B. Stetson Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/4 - 4x Beaver1950s Stetson Royal De Luxe Model Fedora Hat Light Gray W Wide Band 7 1/8Stetson 4x Apache Black Buffalo Fur Felt Cowboy Western Hat - Size 7 1/4Stetson Royal Delux St. Regis 7"1/4 Silver Gray Felt In Pristiine Condition Vintage Stetson 4 X Beaver Open Road Silverbelly Size 7 3/8 New In Box NiceStetson Gun Club Cowboy Hat, Size 7 1/8Stetson 5x Cowboy Hat, Size 7 1/4The Gun Club By Stetson Cowboy HatStetson Fedora Royal De Luxe Black 7 3/8 Mens Hat Vintage? Excellent Condition.Stetson Men's Cowboy Hat 7 3/8Black Stetson Hat - Style Dw411 Outland - Size 7 1/2 - Pure WoolNew Stetson 4x Beaver 7 1/4 W/ 4in Brim Chocolate Brown Rancher Cowboy HatJohn B. Stetson Western Cowboy Hat 4x Beaver 61 Silverbelly 7 1/4 R Stry-r Stetson Hat Python 7-1/8" Chocolate Color Sf04402232 *relist Royal Stetson Fedora - 7 1/4 Stetson 9x Beaver The Stetsonian Black Fedora Size Long Oval 7 1/87 1/4 Vintage, Stetson 4-x "gus" 5" Brim Cowboy -new Mexico Movie Hat - SassStetson Brown Hat The Kleinhans Co Buffalo R/m 7 Sixteen Fifty With BoxMen's John B. Stetson 4x Beaver Black Cowboy Hat Size 7 NewMen's Stetson Hat Fedora "chatham" Color Sage Size 7-1/2 (w/ Box)Vintage Stetson Royal De Luxe Hat Fedora Excellent Cond. Size 6 7/8 Ridgway PaVintage John B. Stetson Mist Grey Cowboy Hat Rancher Style 5x Beaver Size 7 1/27 1/4 The Stetsonian John B Stetson Fedora Hat Black Wool Felt True Vtg 50's EucVintage Stetson Medalist Straw Homburg Hat - Size 7 1/8Vintage John B Stetson Brown Felt Fedora Hat 7 1/2 Lexington VirginiaStetson Downs HatVintage John B. Stetson 4x Beaver Hat - 7 3/8 Cowboy HatStetson Men's Rancher Jbs Straw Cowboy Hat With Leather Band Size 60 7 1/2Ladies Stetson Fifth Avenue Mid-century Gray Hat With Brim Size 22 1/2Stetson Rancher 101 Acorn Color 4x Beaver Sz 7 1/4 Cowboy Hat F2010Men's Stetson Hat 6 7/8l Gun Club Xxxx VintageVintage Stetson Royal Deluxe Fedora 7 1/2 BrownStetson Sheplers 601 Silver Belly Cowboy Hat 7 3/8 Brim 300 Style F0110 9614sMens Stetson Straw Cowboy Hat Feathers Hat Band 6 7/8 In BoxStetson Men's Felt Cowboy HatVintage John B Stetson Company - 4x Beaver Hat - Western Cowboy Hat - Size 7Vintage 1947 Stetson Mistral Beret Covered In Red Fox Fur HatVintage Stetson Roadrunner Straw Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/8 Excellent Used Condition!Stetson 4x Beaver Cowboy HatStetson Stallion Western Cowboy HatStetson Cowboy Hat Ranch TanVintage Stetson Cowboy Western Hat "rancher" 4x Beaver Size 7 3/8 Never Worn Stetson Bomber / Aviator Trapper Cap Hat Large / Xl New Weathered CottonMens John B Stetson Distressed Rocker Boot Jeans Sz 38 X 38 Long TallClean Stetson Cowboy Hat Cocoa Brown W Rattlesnake Hat Band Size 7Stetson Blue Paisley Pearl Snap Long Sleeve Western Shirt Size MediumStetson El Patron 30x Mist Grey 7 1/4 New In Box - No ReserveVintage Hat-stetson-size 7 Original Filenes Ivy League Granite HomburgStetson 8 Panel Virgin Wool Earlap Newsboy Cap Hat Grey LargeStetson Fedora Vintage 71/4Stetson Hat D4 Ranch Tan Sz 7 1/2 RVintage Stetson The Sovereign Light Brown Fur Felt Fedora HatVintage Stetson Tweed Cabbie Style Cap Turquoise Men's Size Extra Large NiceStetson Polyester Tweed Houndstooth Ivy Cabbie Driving Cap Hat Grey Small / Med