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    

Stetson Men's Hat "open Road" Tan Size 7 3/8 Stetson Pin On BandStetson El Presidente Black Cowboy Hat Sz 7 3/8 An Icon "the 100x El Presidente"Vintage 1960s Stetson 7 1/4 “open Road ” 50-x Beaver Quality Cowboy hat Vintage Stetson Sovereign Fedora Hat Gray With Original Stetson Hat BoxStetson Men's Temple Royal De Luxe Fedora Hat-42 Sage Sz7 5/8 N-4872Quite Dashing Stetson Fedora 7 1/4 Akubra Slouch Hat Pug Aussie Outback Safari Vtg John B.stetson Open Road 7 3/8 3x Beaver Luskey's Fort Worth, TexasVintage Beater Stetson Felt Cowboy Hat - Size 7 1/8Vintage Men's Royal Stetson The Avenue Black Felt Fedora Hat 7 1/4" NiceStallion By Stetson Cowboy Western Wool Hat Size 7 1/8 / 57The Sovereign Stetson Men's Black Felt Ritz Derby Hat Size 7 1/2Vintage Stetson Open Road Silver Belly 4xb 7 1/8 PerfectVintage Old 30s 40s 50s? Stetson Fedora Hat Black Size 7 1/4 Harris & FrankEl Patron Stetson Felt HatNew Nwt Mens Royal Stetson Saxon Fedora Black Size 7-1/8 57 Fur Felt Hat Stetson Western Cowboy Hat Size 7⅛ 4x Beaver Gray John B.stetson's HatMen's Vintage Stetson Fedora Trilby Hat Size 7 1/8John B Stetson 4x Xxxx Beaver Cowboy Hat Silver Belly Size 7 With A 3" BrimVintage 1960s Stetson Sz7 - 30-x Beaver Cowboy cowgirl Hat- Santa FeStetson Cowboy Hat - 3x Beaver - Excellent Condition - Stetson Hat - 7 1/8 !!Impressive 6x Fur Felt Stetson Silverton Western Dress Hat 7 1/4 Very Good CondEstate~new Stetson Mist Grey Merced 6x Fur Felt Cowboy Hat Sz. 7-1/8 W/boxMens Stetson 5x Beaver Tan Felt Cowboy Hat *size 7 1/8*Stetson Sovereign Brown 7 1/4 Vintage HatVtg. 60's,70's Stetson Open Road 4x Silver Belly Sz.7 Rancher Fedora,never WornStetson Saxon Caribou 7 1/8 New Old StockVintage Stetson Roadrunner Straw Western Cowboy Hat~bryantcote Finish~7 5/8 116 Stetson Xxxx 4x Beaver Fur 0462 Carson Pinched 7 1/8~3~black Cowboy Hat BoxStetson Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/2 Oval Long L@@kVtg Jb Stetson Black 4x Beaver Tyler Wide Brim Western Cowboy Hat Men's Sz 71/8Vintage Older Stephen L Stetson Salesman Sample Miniature Hat Box With Straw HatStetson Cowboy Hat 4x Stetson Tom Mix Cowboy Hat Gus Shaped Perfection Exceptional Condition 7 3/8John B. Stetson Grand Prize 1900 Paris Flexible Conforming Bowler Hat Sz 7 1/8Stetson 5 Xxxxx Beaver Cowboy Hat Black Felt ~ 7 1/4 Original BoxJohn B. Stetson The Billy Kidd Vintage Brown Western Cowboy Hat Men's Sz 6 7/8Stetson Men's Hat Gray With Black Band Royal Stetson Jay's Toggery Bucyrus OhJohn B Stetson Co. No. 1 Quality The Army Store Vinita Oklahoma No Reserve!Men's Stetson X-large Straw Hat N-4870Nib Stetson Men's Cowboy Hat Black Felt 4x Beaver Jbs Heritage 7 1/4"Stetson Cowboy Hat 5x Beaver Fur Felt Cowboy Ranch TanStetson Stallion Black Wool Western Cowboy Hat W Conchos Sz. 7 1/4 Made In TexasStetson 4x Beaver 7 3/8 Size Felt Classic Western Cowboy Hat Black Stetson Cowboy HatStetson 3x Beaver Vintage 1960's Felt Fedora Hat Size 7Stetson Royal De Luxe Fedora Hat Dark Green 7 1/4Vintage Tan Stetson Cowboy Hat Size 7 Nice Condition Stetson One- HundredStetson Ranch Tan 5x Felt Cowboy Hat - Sz 7 Vntg Womens Brown Felt Hat Stetson Fifth Avenue Chas Bear York PaVintage Women's Lady's Gloves Lot Of 4 White Beige Ivory Aria StetsonMen's Stetson Crushable Western Style Hat Size X-largeJohn B. Stetson Felt Cowboy Hat 7-1/8"Royal Stetson Stratoliner Fedora - Tan Color - Size 7 - Vintage 1950'sVtg Black Stetson Pure Wool Mallory Hat Wide Brim 6 7/8 Rare Vintage Stetson Mens Milan Straw Hat Fedora 7 Silk Band Vtg Leather SweatStetson Capri Jeans Size 4 Super CuteStetson & Stilzig Rancher Hat Size 7 Made In UsaVintage 1940s Stetson Selv-edge 3x Beaver Size 7 Fedora HatStetson Panama Hat, With Vented Crown, Half Inch Leather Hat Band Size 71/4-73/8Stetson 4x Beaver Hat Size 7