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    

50 "stetson Hat" Stratoliner "classic Gray Fedora Hat Size 7 1/8 # 610435Vintage Stetson Open Road Cowboy Hat Size 7 1/8 Western Wear Panama StrawUnique Black Stetson Open Road Fedora 7 3/8 Aussie Outback Gun Club Styling IobVtg. Winchester Limited Edition Stetson Cowboy Hat & Original Box 7 1/4 BeaverVtg Mens John B Stetson Royal Stetson Fedora Hat Size 7 1/4 Sold By Jack Holt-nmStetson Apaloosa Size 7-1/2 6x 61 Brim 4 Mist Grey Cowboy Western Hat SfskylVintage Stetson Kimo Sabe Xxxx Beaver Fur Cowboy Hat, Size 7 3/8 Usa MadeMen's Vtg Stetson 4x Beaver Silverbelly Open Road Fedora Hat / 7 1/8John B Stetson 7x Xxxxxxx 7 1/8 Cowboy Western Vintage Hat Riding Rodeo CountryVintage Mens Blue Fedora By Stetson Hat New In BoxStetson Open RoadJohn B Stetson Western Cowboy Black 4x Hat W/leather & Silver Concho Band 7 1/8Stetson Cowboy Hat 7 1/2Stetson Grey Xxxx BeaverVintage 1960s Stetson "100" Open Road Style Men's Hat -- 7 1/4, SilverbellyStetson Hat Carson Black Size 7 - 5/8 Original Box, Cowboy Western Used Good CdVintage Stetson 3x Beaver 7 1/4 Sheplers Men’s Brown Cowboy Western Hat XxxVintage Stetson Royal Deluxe Open Road Fedora Nebraska ClothierVintage Royal Stetson Fedora / Hat*nib Stetson Hat! / Jbs Heritage / 6x Fur Felt / Silverbelly / 7 1/4 / 4" Brim*Vintage Gray Royal Stetson Men's Hat- 7-1/4 Great ConditionStetson 4xxxx Black Wool Felt Amish Hat Long Oval, Size 7 1/8, 3" BrimMen's Vintage Royal Stetson Fedora - Sz 7Stetson Royal Deluxe Derby/bowler Black Sz 7 1/2 Black Suede Stallion By Stetson Cowboy Hat 7 1/4 R Made In TexasStetson Brown Felt Cowboy Hat Size 7.5 IobOlder Stetson Cowboy HatHat Box: Stetson Sovereign Antique Vintage 1930'sVintage Stetson Open Road Western Sheriff's Hat, Silver Belly Color, 4xb, 7 1/8"Stetson Cream Straw Cowboy Hat Leather Band Rancher Shantung Panama 8x Usa 56/7 Womens Stetson Gray Burn Out Shirt & Ariat Cross Shirt Sz Lg-xlVintage Stetson Featherweight "comfort" Bowler Hat; Black 6 7/8Stetson "range" Western Hat, Black, Size 7 1/8 (100% Fur Felt)Mens New In Box Stetson 7 1/8 Silverbelly 4x Beaver Open Road Hat Lbj Tex RangerStetson 4x Beaver Cowboy Hat Black Mens 7 1/4 Silver Band Comstock StyleGenuine Stetson Xxxx Beaver Cowboy HatStetson Cowboy Hat 4x Beaver With Brush And Travel Box Sz 6 7/8 Great Condition!Stetson Hat Xxxx. 7 3/8Stetson Big Sky Crushable Hat, Large 7 1/4 To 7 3/8, MintVtg Bailey U-rollit Western Style Straw Hat Sz 7-1/2 In 1965 Stetson Box SherarPre-owned Stetson Western Cowboy Studded Leather Hat BandMen's Stetson Roper Western Wrangler Cowboy Long Sleeve Shirt Size Medium Nice! Retro Men's Brown Straw Hat - Stetson Size 7 1/4Three Classic Men's Hats - Felt Stetson, Straw (really Cocoanut) & Lee StrawStetson Campaign/cavalry Hat With Acorn HatbandStetson Cowboy Hat 4x Beaver Fur Felt Brown Chocolate West Bend & Beaded HatbandStetson Raffia Straw Cabbie Driving Gatsby Cap Hat Medium Men's Stetson Dress Shirt Beige Brown Check XlVintage Western Mens Shirts Pearl Snap Lot Of 7! Ely Lee Stetson WranglerJohn B. Stetson Hat Sheriff 4 X Beaver Felt Size 56/7 Stetson Panama Outback, Natural Color, Brown Leather Band, Large, New No TagsMen's Stetson Vintage Western Light Tan 4x Beaver Cowboy Hat Size 7/56 IobStetson Cowboy Hat Size 7Stetson Mesh Breezer With Neck Flap Indi Safari Gambler Outback Hat Large New !Stetson Tappan Lindu Straw Porkpie Fedora Hat Large GreyVintage Stetson Sovereign Fur Felt Fedora 7 1/8 Long Oval Vgc Staunton VaWomens Stetson ShirtCool Vintage Black Stetson Milan Fedora Puggaree 7 1/4 Frank Sinatra EraPre Owned Leather Stetson Cowboy Hat Rodeo Dr Collection Size LargeStetson Western Shirt Mens L/s Paisley 2xl Blue 11-001-0526-6015 Bu