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 FeltVintage Late 40s Royal Stetson Gray Whippet Fedora With Original Box, Size 7 3/8The Open Road Royal Delux Stetson 7 1/4 Fedora Grey Made In Usa Spy Or GangsterVintage Stetson 5x Beaver Fedora 7 3/8 Wide Brim Hat Taupe Or Putty With BoxVintage Mens Fedora Hat Adam Gray Felt 7 3/8 Stetson BoxStetson "dune" The Gun Club, Acorn Xxxx Beaver Fur Felt Cowboy Hat 7 1/4Stetson Open Road 4x Fur Felt Hat Silverbelly 7 3/8 Western, BeigeVintage John B Stetson Men's 'royal Stetson" Fedora Hat Super Nice Vintage 7 3/8Mallory Derby W/orig Box, Royal Stetson & Checked Fedora Lot Of 3 Vintage HatsVintage 7 1/4 Stetson Open Road Silverbelly Owned By Makeup Artist Bill Tuttle Classic 50's Beige Stetson 25 Open Road Size 7 3/8 Fedora Vintage 70's Stetson 4x Beaver 58 Fur Felt Black Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/4~nice! Nib 4x Beaver Stetson Brown Western Cowboy Hat In Box 7 1/8Stetson El Presidente Cowboy HatVtg Stetson Cowboy Hat Xxxx Wool Tracy Lawrence Men 7 1/2 Ranch Rodeo WesternVtg Stetson 4x Beaver Wide Brim Fedora 7 1/4 Aussie Outback Safari Gun Club LookVintage Antique Mens Royal Stetson 7 3/8 Black Felt Fedora Hat Cap No Reserve Vint Stetson Light Grey Strayhorne Resistol 5x Beaver Cowboy Western Hat 7 1/4Stetson The Sovereign Hat Mens 7 3/8Stetson 6x Silverbelly Fur Felt Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/2Wonderful Vintage Royal Stetson John B Stetson Black 7 3/8 With BoxMens True Vintage Royal Stetson Stratoliner 7 Sky GreyTan John B Stetson Cowboy Hat 4x Xxxx Beaver W/ Leather Band Feather Size 7 1/8 Men's Vintage Royal De Luxe St. Regis Blue Fedora Stetson Hat Size 1/4Vintage Spanish American War Us Cavalry Campaign Hat Stetson 6 7/8Vtg 1920s Men's Stetson Panama Leghorn Fine Straw Hat Size 7 5/8Vintage 1920's-'30's Stetson Black Felt Derby Hat Size 7 3/8 Guerdan Hat Co Stl Two Used Men's Hats,fedora Style,banded,stetson & Stevens,7 1/4 SizeVtg John B Stetson Royal De Luxe The Gun Club Blk Wool Fedora Hat Sz 7 1/4Stetson Tan 5x 7 3/8 Cowboy HatVintage Stetson Twenty Hat The Sovereign Size 7 Morris Men's Shop Chicago 1940s4x Beaver Stetson Western Hat 7 1/4 With Feathers EucStraw Sailer Boater Hat Original 1920 Stetson 2 1/2 Inch Brim New ConditionStetson Indiana Jones 7-3/8 Brown Felt Fedora Mens Hat With Black BandVintage Antique Western Collectible Stetson Cowboy Hat Still In Box Looks NewStetson Fur/felt Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/2 Beige Tan Suede/felt Stetson Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/8Stetson 4x Beaver Black Western Cowboy Hat 7-3/8Mallory By Stetson Panama Straw Hat Fedora Style Lg 7 1/4-7 3/8 Pre-owned Lot 2Stetson Mens Dress Hat-the Sovereign-6 7/8-black-brown Band,feather-cool StyleStetson Cowboy Black Hat 4x Beaver ...size 58 7 1/4 ...preownedThe Gun Club By Stetson Brown Chevron Cowboy Hat 7 1/4 With BoxStetson 4x Beaver 07 Black Cowboy Hat Size 7 R XxxxVintage Mallory Fedora Hat 7 Stetson Open Road Style! Silverbelly Fur FeltStetson Cowboy Hat, New, Unworn, Mello Felt Hat, Large Size, No ReserveStetson Cowboy Hat (size 7-1/2), Black, Premium WoolStetson Saxon Fur Felt Fedora Hat Size 7 3/8Stetson Soverign Open Road Twenty,7-1/8 Long OvalStetson HatVtg Royal Stetson Stratoliner Fedora Beige Felt Hat Sz 6 7/8 Small Pre OwnedStetson Cowboy Hats- 2 Hats - 4" Brim Xxxxx (5x) D4 Ranch Tan Size 7 W/ BoxStetson HatBlack Stetson Rancher Western Cowboy Hat 4x Beaver Felt New In BoxLot Of 11 Vtg 1940's 50's Mens Fedora Hats Dorfman Pacific Scala Stetson BaileyVtg Stetson Western/ Cowboy Hat Beaver Felt - Stallion Mesa Tan Sz 7 3/8Stetson Newsboy Cabby Seide/silk/ 8 Panel Hatteras Silk Hartford 58cm Medium MVtg Royal Stetson Fedora Hat W Feather Dark Brown Sz 71/4 Vgc Heritage Stetson White Suede/felt Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/4Stetson Cavalery Hat / With Pins And Yellow Cord.New Western Feather Print Burnout 3/4 Sleeve Lined Ltwieght Dress Size M Stetson