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 Fedora Hat 7 3/8 Lo Whippet Style Brim Binding! Grey Fur FeltThe Open Road Royal Delux Stetson 7 1/4 Fedora Grey Made In Usa Spy Or GangsterVintage Mens Fedora Hat Adam Gray Felt 7 3/8 Stetson BoxVintage Stetson 5x Beaver Fedora 7 3/8 Wide Brim Hat Taupe Or Putty With Box Classic 50's Beige Stetson 25 Open Road Size 7 3/8 Fedora Vintage Antique Mens Royal Stetson 7 3/8 Black Felt Fedora Hat Cap No Reserve Royal Stetson Fedora Men's Vintage Hat Size 7 3/8 Gray 1940sVintage Stetson Fedora Beige Sovereign Hat Sz 7 1/4 W/original Stetson Hat Box Vintage 7 1/4 Stetson Open Road Silverbelly Owned By Makeup Artist Bill TuttleStetson "dune" The Gun Club, Acorn Xxxx Beaver Fur Felt Cowboy Hat 7 1/4Mens Vintage 1950s 50s Stetson 3x Beaver Gus Cowboy Western Hat 7 1/4 ~very NiceMallory Derby W/orig Box, Royal Stetson & Checked Fedora Lot Of 3 Vintage HatsMint Stetson Temple Wide Brimmed Dress Fedora 7 3/8 In Orig. Box From Hats PlusVtg Stetson 4x Beaver Wide Brim Fedora 7 1/4 Aussie Outback Safari Gun Club LookVtg Stetson Cowboy Hat Xxxx Wool Tracy Lawrence Men 7 1/2 Ranch Rodeo WesternVintage Green Gray 7 1/4 Royal Stetson Playboy Hat Orig Tag Superb Condition Vintage Royal Stetson Fedora ( Great Shape)Stetson 4x Beaver Black Western Cowboy Hat 7-3/8Stetson 4x Beaver Fur Felt Western Cowboy Hat - Brown, Size 7 5/8 John B StetsonVintage Men's Stetson Tan Cowboy HatVintage Genuine Dobbs Men's 7 3/8 Straw Boating Hat With Vintage Stetson Hat BoxThe Gun Club By Stetson Brown Chevron Cowboy Hat 7 1/4 With BoxStetson Stallion Chocolate Cowboy Hat Style-justice 71/4 Long Oval Vtg Stephen L Stetson Fedora Hat Felt Size 7 ½ Brown Band Harry Anderson StyleVintage Spanish American War Us Cavalry Campaign Hat Stetson 6 7/8Vintage 1920's-'30's Stetson Black Felt Derby Hat Size 7 3/8 Guerdan Hat Co Stl Mens 4 Xxxx Beaver Stetson Cowboy Hat Size 7 5/8 Used Great ConditionBlack Stetson 59 7 3/8 Fedora, Royal Stetson, Black Band With FeathersVintage Stetson Twenty Brown Hat Fedora Sovereign W/ Trolley Wind Cord 7-1/8Vtg Resistol 4xxxx Cowboy Western Stetson Hat Sz 7 3/8 Vtg 1893 Advertisement John B Stetson Co On Heavy Paper Showing 30 Hat StylesAntique Stetson Nutria Fur Felt Derby Bowler Hat Size 7 3/8 M. Rothshild Design Vtg Royal Stetson Stratoliner Fedora Beige Felt Hat Sz 6 7/8 Small Pre OwnedMen's Size 7 1/8 Xxx Stetson Cowboy Hat/box - Chas.p.shipley Stetson El Presidente Cowboy HatVintage Antique Western Collectible Stetson Cowboy Hat Still In Box Looks NewStetson 4x Beaver 07 Black Cowboy Hat Size 7 R XxxxTwo Used Men's Hats,fedora Style,banded,stetson & Stevens,7 1/4 SizeVintage Stetson Royal Deluxe Fedora Hat For Silverwoods Southern California L@@kStetson Soverign Open Road Twenty,7-1/8 Long OvalVtg Resistol 4xxxx Cowboy Hat George Strait Model Stetson Size 7 3/8Stetson Cowboy Hats- 2 Hats - 4" Brim Xxxxx (5x) D4 Ranch Tan Size 7 W/ BoxStetson Cowboy Black Hat 4x Beaver ...size 58 7 1/4 ...preownedStetson Cowboy Hat (size 7-1/2), Black, Premium WoolVtg Royal Stetson Fedora Hat W Feather Dark Brown Sz 71/4 Vgc Heritage Beautiful Vintage Stetson Straw Western Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/4Stetson Mens Dress Hat-the Sovereign-6 7/8-black-brown Band,feather-cool StyleStetson Men's Lonesome Trail Crushable Wool Cowboy Western Hat Olive Mix MVintage '50s Royal Stetson Camel Tan Felt Fedora Hat Size 7Vintage Stetson Open Road Xxx Western Hat With Original Storage Box Nice Cond.Vtg John B Stetson Black Genuine Panama Straw Fedora Hat W/fabric Band Sz 7 1/4Stetson Mountain Sky 11 Size/oval M R Mens Crushable Cowboy Western Hat - NewWomens Stetson Cowboy Boot Size 7bStallion By Stetson Cowboy Hat 7 3/8 Bone White Black Band W Conchos Xx WoolStetson Saxon Fur Felt Fedora Hat Size 7 3/8Vintage Royal Stetson Men's Size 7 5/8 Grey W Black Band Hat Satin Lining Wool?Vtg. Stetson Men's Vintage Felt Hat Leather Band 7 5/8 John B. Stetson ClothingBrand New Never Worn Stetson Cowboy HatStetson Men's Lonesome Trail Crush-able Hat, Olive Brown, Size Large No ReserveVintage Stetson Hat