If you delve deep, you will find that the American West’s story is a tale that spans hundreds of years and many square miles. It also ranges from the vast sun-bleached Spanish missions on the California coast to the Colorado mountains and also to the Arizonian dusty desert boomtowns.
If you look at the old west, you will find that there is one symbol linked with it – it’s the famous headwear that each rancher opts in for. “And for women, it used to be corsets.They used to wear it religiously to correct their posture. Corsets are now back in trend and are being worn by everyone. You can check them out from true corset.”It’s the famous western hat. In case you want to delve deep into the cowboy hat history, you will come up with interesting facts and stories about the old west.
The precursor to the western hat
During the earlier times of the American frontier, there wasn’t any fixed “western hat” pattern. And right from 1803, the Louisiana Purchase times, that hats used to be a part of every individual’s daily ensemble. Any kind of hat that they possessed, they used to wear them.
It indicates that you see anything from the top hats to soldier caps, to the coonskin when you were on the western trails. However, the bowler caps got considered as the well-known hats in the west. However, other hats’ style can inspire the famous western hat.
The Mexican Sombreros
When you look at the North American side, things didn’t start when the US citizens moved to the west. The native population resided there even before, in the 16th century when Spain came to Mexico. During this time, the Europeans started to mix in. And from this culture emerged the original cowboys, who are known as the vaqueros.
In an attempt to stay secure from the heat, the vaqueros and other people started to wear the popular sombreros. Here the high crown, the wide-brimmed hat was perfect for keeping the sun away from a person’s face. That’s why the name Sombrero got derived from “Sombra” a Spanish word, which stands for shade. The people made sombreros from felt, straw or high-end velvet based on social status.
The Calvary hats of the United States
The settlers and trappers weren’t the only people who got pushed towards the west. Also, the United States military got considered the standard sight for the frontier, taking tasks such as patrolling rail and trail lines and engaging in military conflicts. Much of the troops used to be cavalrymen who rode the horseback.
Even the uniforms for the cavalrymen went through a change that started during the first-half of 1850, which comprises the hats. Prior to that they comprised a taller, a kind of stovepipe, that has a visor shape so that it keeps the sun away. However, during the coming years, the brim got widened and it circled the overall head. When it was time for the civil war, the cavalry hats started to look similar to the western hats.
The silver screen and the cowboy hats
In 1906, when Stetson died, the frontier was considered closed. Hence, the “wildness” that was the essence of the wild west also died down to a great extent. However, despite the sun setting towards the old west, it was only starting to make the cowboy hat popular because of the western film genre.
Even the dime store novels concerning the old west gunslingers already made the cowboy popular in the public’s mind. However, western films had drawn a picture that complements it. It included a man wearing a gun belt on the shoulder along with a creased, wide-brimmed hat on the head.
This used to be the popular western hat image that projected the cowboy team! And it also ensured that this hat style didn’t just stay on ranches and at the rodeos, but for all who idealized the virtues which the cowboys stood more, including honesty, hard work, and freedom. If you read about the cowboy hat history, you will have a glimpse of the United States history.
The changes in cowboy hat – Function shifting into form
Even though the early cowboy hats got considered as uniform, it didn’t remain like that forever. With time, the variations of the hat got introduced regionally, usually for practical purposes. For instance, a few places saw the cowboys creasing the brims so that it would be less likely to get caught in the lasso. However, others managed the brim to a shorter or taller one.
When it comes to the other changes it was less because of necessity and more because of inevitability. The creased crowns, for instance, wasn’t part of the initial design. However, when driving a cattle herd for about 10 to 12 miles in a day in the normal weather condition, many cowboys often used the hat as their water bucket. However, the crease that came along with it gradually become a style.
Now that you have an idea about the history of the cowboy hat, you can get an essence of it and flaunt it better.