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 Open Road Felt Hat-sz 7-3/8Vintage Stetson Sovereign Fedora Hat 7 5/8 Gray W/feather Exc. Cond. No Reserve!Nib Mens Stetson Stratoliner Gray Fedora Hat Caribou 7 5/8 2 1/2" Brim W Box 61Stetson Fedora Playboy 1959? 7 1/14 Fur FeltVintage Stetson Open Road Hat 7 1/8 1950-60s Classic GrayMens Stetson 4x Western Hat "gun Club" 7 1/4 Light TanStetson 4x Felt Cowboy Hat Size 7 3/8Stetson Men's 'the Open Road', Beige Western, 4x Beaver Hat W/ Box, 7 1/8Stetson Cowboy Hat 4x BeaverVintage Stetson Derby Syle Hat Size 7 1/4 With HatboxVintage Stetson 5x Beaver Cowboy Hat Size 7 3/8 (new)Vintage Stetson Twenty Five Selv Edge Dark Gray Fur Felt Fedora Hat 7 1/4Stetson Gun Club 4x Dune 7 1/4 Crossover East Meets West Or Aussie Outback LookVintage Men's Stetson "the Sovereign" Coffee Fedora Felt Hat Size 7 3/8Stetson Hat: Vintage With Fur FeltStetson "royal Stetson" Classic Hat Size 7 3/8Vintage 1928 Royal Stetson Playboy Hat With BoxStetson The Centennial Hat/ Fedora 7 1/4 3 X Beaver Quality Selv-edgeMens Stetson FedoraStetson 5x Beaver Cowboy Hat Size 7 3/8Stallion By Stetson 6x 7 1/8 Gray Felt Cowboy/western HatStetson 100x El Presidente Fur Felt Western Hat No ReserveStetson Brown "the Sovereign" Luxuro Finish Size 7 3/8 HatStetson 6 7/8 Open Road Cowboy Hat Vintage Vtg Stetson 7x Beaver Beige Ranch Hat With Original Box Size 7 1/8Stetson Western Shirt Womens Tank Plaid Xl Blue 11-052-0597-0471 BuNew Stetson Womens Western Cowboy Pointy Toe Black Size 7 Stetson Hat Royal Stetson Size 6 7/8 Tan Chicago Stockyard Inn Vintage 50's HatVintage Wool And Leather John B. Stetson Wool Black Bowler Hat 7 1/4 John B. Stetson Hat Xxx 3x Beaver - Sz 7 1/8 - Brown Cowboy / Western StyleNib Stetson Cowboy Hat Sz 7 1/4 4x Beaver Fur Felt Tycoon Bullet 3 1/2 BrimVintage Stetson Royal De Luxe Men's Beige Derby Hat *size 3/4* BeautifulStetson Western Brown Felt Hat 7 1/2Stetson Felt Fur Cowboy Hat Size 6 7/8 Ranch Tan Color $12.00 ShippingBlack Stetson Hat Size 7r W/ Hammer Plastics Hard CaseStetson Navarro Felt Fur Cowboy Hat Size 6 7/8 Sahara Color $12.00 ShippingMens Stetson 3x Western Hat 7 1/4Vintage Stetson Gambler's Hat - NrClassic Stetson Open Road 4xxxx Beaver, Size 7Stetson Black 4x Rancher Cowboy Hat Sz 7 1/4 Beaver Fur Hat W/ Box Jbs Mint Stetson Xxxxx & 7 5/8 Dans Western Wear, Sheridan Wyoming TagNew Nwt Stetson Size Xl Western Teal Blouse W/ Embroidery And FlawVintage Stetson Hat Rancher Xxx 3x Beaver (7 1/4?)Very Nice Used Stetson Whippet Fedora, 7-1/4, Caribu (gray) - Fur Felt -modernStetson Cavalry Hat 7 1/8th Vtg €Stetson Xxxxxx Cream Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/4Stetson Cowboy Hat 5x Beaver Fur Felt D4 Ranch Tan New In Box! Sf0575d440 Sz 7Vtg Stetson Western Hat, Cool Eastwood/gunfighter Style, Gambler, Deadwood 7John B Stetson 7 5/8 Xl Xxxxx 5x Beaver Quality Felt Cowboy HatVintage Stetson Hats Hat Box Fox Hunting Horses Hounds Just BoxNew In Box Men's Stetson 81 Natural Cinch (cb) Straw Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/4Men's Vintage Royal Stetson Fedora - Sz 6-7/8Stetson 4x Beaver Cowboy Hat Size 7 Made In U.s.aMinature Great Christmas Salesman Sample Advertising Stetson Hat & Box W/ SantaStetson Skyline 4x Black Size 7 1/2Stetson Belt Buckle Limited Edition Stetson Hat BlackLot F- 8 Vtg Men's Hats- Stetson, Sherlock Holmes, Golf Leather, Russian GermanVintage Stetson Cowboy Hat Xxxx Rancher Silver Belly 6 7/8 Original Box Logo