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    

Royal Stetson Hat 7 3/8 Cream Fedora Wolff And Marx Co. San Antonio With BoxVintage Stetson Open Road 4x Fur Felt Fedora Hat 7 1/2 Silver Belly Vintage Stetson "gus" 4-x Cowboy New Mexico Movie Hat Sz 7 3/8" SassNice Stetson Fedora, Size 7 1/4Vintage Stetson Royal Deluxe Fedora Hat - Size 7 1/4 - FeltVintage Stetson 3x Beaver Open Road Western Style Dress Hat 7 3/8Vintage Stetson "gus" 20-x Cowboy New Mexico Movie Hat Sz 7 3/8" SassVintage Stetson Panama Straw Fedora Hat 7 3/8 Hempstead SandVtg. Gray Stetson Open Road 3x Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/4 W/ Orig. Box, Rain Cover Vtg 50's 3x Beaver Stetson Fedora Hat 7 3/8Vintage Stetson 7 1/8 Lightweight Fur Felt Fedora 30s IvoryMens Stetson Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/4Vintage Mens Stetson Hat Royal Deluxe Open Road With Size Tag Still Attached Stetson Open Road Silverbelly 7 1/4 With BoxVintage Stetson One Hundred 100 Leather Presentation Case Hat Carrier Box W/ KeyLight Gray Stetson Cowboy Hat, Size 7 3/8Gray Stetson Felt Hat-size 7 5/8 - 5x Beaver Made By John B. Stetson Co.Classic Stetson Rancher In 5x Beaver Quality 7 3/8 Cattleman-western Banker EcStetson Hat Khaki Moose River 7-5/8rRoyal Stetson Gray Charcoal Vintage Fedora 7 1/8 Women's Black Cowboy Boot Stetson Size 8Vintage Royal Stetson Fedora Hat Nobel Royal Black Size 61 7 5/8 With BoxVintage Black Royal Stetson Men's Hat Fedora 7 1/4The Sovereign Stetson Fabulous Grey 7 1/8 Men's Hat Vintage Stetson Open Road Fedora 3x SbVintage Stetson Xxxxxx Beaver Cowboy Hat, 6-7/8 UnwornStetson 50s/60s Vintage The Gun Club Series Pork Pie Style Beaver Skin Hat 7 1/4Stetson "royal Stetson" Fedora In Dark Dove Grey (size:7-3/8) Vtg Stetson Fedora/hat~sz 7 1/4~very Nice~abraham Nieves Puerto Rico~classy~nrVintage Brown Stetson Stampede 3x Beaver Fur Felt Cowboy Hat 7 1/4 Vintage Men's Stallion By Stetson Ravine Western Cowboy Hat Size 7 3/8 W/ Tag Vintage Stetson Royal Deluxe St. Regis Gray Homburg 7 1/4 Cavanagh Ny Hat Box Stetson Cowboy Hat, 4 In Brim Size 7 1/8, Suede D4 Ranch Tan ColorMans Retro Light Tan Stetson Xxx Tan Fadora HatStetson 6x Bar None Men's Fur Felt Western Hat - Silverbelly 7 3/8Vtg The Gun Club By John B Stetson Hat Sz 7 1/8 Black Royal De Luxe Wool FeltStetson The Billy Kid Wool Cowboy Hat Xxxx Sz 7 1/2 Black Turquoise Braided BeltMen's Vintage John B. Stetson 3x Beaver Open Road Hat With Box Stetson 4x Xxxx Beaver Cowboy Western Hat Without Hat BeltStetson Hat Gun Club 7 1/4Men's The Gun Club By Stetson, Brown Cowboy, Western Hat, Size 55 Or 6 7/81965 Stetson Fedora, In Original Box, Size 7.5New Stetson Natural Beaver 30x Cowboy Hat Size 6 7/8 With Box NosVintage "john B. Stetson" Feather Weight Bowler Derby Black Hat ~ Size 7Vintage "royal Stetson" Men's Hat - Size 6 6/7- Sage W/ Leather BandStetson 6x Bar None Men's Fur Felt Western Hat - Black 7 3/8Vintage Stetson Winchester Limited Edition Xxx 3x Beaver John B Stetson HatStetson Vintage Brown/rust Wool Tweed Fedora, Size "large" (7 1/4 - 7 3/8)Mens Stallion Stetson Black Xx Premium Wool 6 3/4 Hat Cowboy Western TeagueMen's Vintage Stetson Faux Fur Winter Fedora Hat 7 1/2 Super Stetson Western Cowboy Hat, 5x / 50x Beaver, Size 7 1/2Vintage Stetson Men's Fedora Silver Felt Hat 6 7/8 '3x Beaver Quality' Dobbs BoxJohn B. Stetson Co. 4xbeaver. Xxxx Stetson Mens Cowboy Hat - Sz 7-1/8Black Beaver 4x Stetson Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/8Stetson Genuine Fur Felt Cowboy Hat Size 7Vtg 80s Stetson 4x Beaver Black Cowboy Hat L 7 3/8 Pretty GoodStetson Rancher Hat Grey Mist Still Has Tag On Inside Size 7 W Stetson PinVintage Mans Fedora Wool Stetson Hat With Feather 7 3/8 Stetson Fashion W Suede L Cabby Stw149-blk3 Large 7 3/8 59cm L Black CrushableStetson Expedition Large Crushable Hat