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 1920s Stetson 50-x Beaver Cowboy Hat 7 1/8 Hat SassGreat Vintage 60’s 4x Beaver Stetson Open Road, Silverbelly, Size 7 3/8thsUsed Stetson Cavalry Hat - Size 7 3/8Vintage Royal John B Stetson Whippet Men's Fedora Felt Hat - GrayVintage Royal Stetson Fedora HatMallory Stetson Fedora VintageStetson Open Road Straw Hat Natural Color 73/8Men's Size 7 1/8 Stetson 4x Brown Beaver Cowboy Hat- In Box Stetson Cowboy Hat 4x Beaver Carson Pinch Grey, Bullet Color Size 7-1/4 Older Stetson Sheriff / Ranger Style Hat 7 1/4 W/rain Protector (union Seal)1950's Vintage Stetson Royal Deluxe St. Regis Gray Felt Homberg-fedora Sz. 7 3/8Stetson 5x Beaver Western Hat Size 7 1/2 Cowboy Rancher HatStetson Xxxxx 5x Cowboy Hat - Super Nice - Size 7.5 - 60 (lot 6942)Vintage Stetson Cowboy HatVintage Royal Stetson Pork-pie Fedora Hat 7 1/4 Buckner Ragsdale CompanyStetson Straw Fedora Hat Size Large Natural Color Black BandStetson 4xxxx, Size: 7 1/2 Cowboy Rancher Felt Hat--f2220 Tejano Ii Vintage Stetson FedoraStetson Cowboy Hat Free ShippingStallion By Stetson Men's Cowboy Hat (hutchins)Tan Stetson Cowboy Hat 60, 7 1/2Stetson Fur Felt Fedora In Chocolate Brown. 7 3/8Vintage Stetson Boater Barber Shop Quartet Fedora 7 1/4 Sharp Old Lid Stetson Cowboy HatStetson Silverton 6x Cowgirl/cowboy Hat 7 White Sf06017234 1 890Vintage Nib Stetson 10x Beaver Fur Felt Cowboy Hat,7 3/8 Stetson 6x Buckskin Fur Felt Cowboy Hat Size 7 3/8John B.stetson Beaver 4x Cowboy Hat , Silver Belly , 3" Brim , 5" Crown Size 7Stetson Black Fedora Selv-edge 3x Beaver Quality Size 7 1/2Stetson 4x Beaver Hat, 7 3/8, Straight-out Brim, VintageCabelas Fedora 100% Wool Lite Felt 3fforks Stetson Hat Men's Xl - Unused!Vintage Royal Stetson Steel Grey Straw Fedora Hat 7 1/8 22"Stetson Sable Brown Felt Fedora Style Hat Sz 7 1/8 Brim 2" Df20185 NoltonStetson 15x Top Breed -worn Twice1994Vintage Royal Stetson Fedora HatStetson 4x Beaver Sand/tan Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/2Stetson 4x Beaver Cowboy HatVtg Stetson 4x Beaver Felt Silver Belly Hat Size 7- 1/4 Cowboy Western FeatherVintage Stetson Suede Cowboy Hat, Beige 7 1/8Summer's End Sale! Mens Vintage Stetson Heavy Weight Hat Box W/ All ComponentsStetson 3x Beaver Hat 7 1/4Vintage Stetson Fedora6 Pair Vintage Ladies Dress Gloves,white,peach,brown,red,bright Blue,2 StetsonVintage Stetson Mens Cowboy Hat Size 7&1/8 4b Stampede Acorn Authentic With BoxStetson Twenty The Sovereign Mode Edge Dark Brown Hat 7-1/8 & Box ReducedStetson Black Fedora Selv-edge 3x Beaver Quality Size 7 1/2Stetson HatVintage Stetson Hat Original Box Mens Or Womens Stetson Straw Hat Large Natural Color2 Vintage Miniature Stetson Felt Fedora Hats Blue & Brown +black BoxStetson Authentic Xx Premium Wool Western Cowboy Hat Black Felt Size 7 1/8 Stetson Western Hat From The Gun Club Collection Size 7 1/4 Cowboy BrownVintage Stetson Rare Late 50's Embroidered Last Drop Open Road Grosgrain Style Vintage Stetson Cowboy Hat Authentic Mens Size 7&1/8 4x Beaver Original BoxMen's Black Stetson HatStetson Western Womens Jeans 816 Fit Classic Bootcut 11-054-0816-0059 Sz 8 LongAuthentic Vintage Stetson Black Felt Cowboy Hat 7 1/8 Made In UsaVintage Stetson 3x Beaver Hat - Size 7Great Deal Stetson 8x Shantung Panama Natural Straw Western Hat Size 7 One OwnerStetson, 10x, Gray, Western Rancher Beaver Felt Hat, 7-3/8", With 3-1/2" Brim