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Stetson Hats: Worth It? Classic Fedora & Cowboy Hat Review

Stetson Hats: Worth It? Classic Fedora & Cowboy Hat Review


Whereas traditional model lovers have stored them alive in current many years, there isn’t any arguing that traditional hats are one thing of a distinct segment accent in menswear as we speak. Nonetheless, many once-ubiquitous manufacturers have managed to take care of a fame for prime quality and are nonetheless placing out product as we speak, together with Borsalino and Stetson.

In the course of the Golden Age of Menswear, Stetson was broadly considered the gold commonplace of American hat making, particularly when it got here to their Western or cowboy hats; and at the moment, they produced extra hats than anybody else on this planet.

With their Outdated West imagery and quintessentially American ethos, few manufacturers in menswear held such sway over widespread tradition of the time. Wanting on the world of music, even songs like Stagger Lee or Steely Dan’s “Solely A Idiot Would Say That” referenced Stetson Hats.

Stetson is an American brand known for their quality hats.
Stetson is an American model identified for his or her high quality hats.

In the present day, Stetson is without doubt one of the few remaining giant American manufacturers nonetheless identified for creating high quality fur felt hats, however for the reason that decline of mass hat carrying within the mid-Twentieth century, they’ve had their ups and downs. They’ve needed to diversify, and so they’ve even modified possession various occasions.

All of this, then, raises the query that we’ll be answering as we speak: Does Stetson nonetheless present a gold rush of high quality hats, or has its time within the highlight of hat-making set within the West? Earlier than we are able to totally reply that query, although, or talk about their hat choices as we speak, we have to perceive additional how the corporate got here to be.

Historical past of Stetson

Stetson founder: John B. Stetson
Stetson founder: John B. Stetson

Born in 1830, firm founder John B. Stetson got here from a New Jersey-based household of hat makers. He got here up within the enterprise working underneath his father till John was stricken with tuberculosis. Fearing that he solely had a short time longer to reside, Stetson wished to meet a lifelong dream and launched into a journey to see the Outdated West.

Throughout his journeys, he met various drovers, bullwhackers, and buckaroos – which is to say, cow and sheep drivers, ox drivers, and cowboys – and he skilled firsthand all the several types of hats worn within the Wild West. He took explicit notes nevertheless of the truth that many of those fur hats, just like the coonskin caps that have been favored by many of those males, have been coated in fleas.

The Stetson Boss of the Plains hat.
The Stetson Boss of the Plains hat.

Stetson ultimately recovered from his sickness and upon returning dwelling within the 1860s, he determined he would mix his newfound information, alongside together with his prior hat-making information, to make a hat that will be extra sensible for males of the West: The Stetson Boss of the Plains hat.

With its additional broad brim and waterproof felt, it protected the wearer’s eyes from the solar and was sturdy sufficient to face as much as heavy rain. The model grew to become such a success that just about any rancher who might afford one wished a real Stetson cowboy hat. So, it grew to become the definitive high quality cowboy hat. (Apart from the previous 10-gallon, that’s.)

Early prototypes of the hat sold for just five dollars, a fact that is subtly reflected in the Stetson crest.
Early prototypes of the hat offered for simply 5 {dollars}, a truth that’s subtly mirrored within the Stetson crest.

Manufacturing of the hats quickly expanded when Stetson opened up a manufacturing facility in Philadelphia. And by the point of John B. Stetson’s demise in 1906, the manufacturing facility grounds employed almost 5,400 workers and consisted of 25 totally different buildings.

By the early 1900s then, Stetson had already established itself as an icon throughout the world of hat making; solely actually challenged on this respect by its European arch rival, Borsalino. Borsalino, in fact, was identified for its extra urban-styled hats and, quick forwarding just some many years, you’ll be able to consider the variations between the 2 firms as John Wayne and Humphrey Bogart.

The Stetson Fedora model known as the "Whippet".
The Stetson Fedora mannequin is called the “Whippet”.

With urbanization and industrialization and never eager to miss out on this nook of the market, Stetson additionally got here to include extra up to date kinds into its wares. One in all these was the extremely widespread fedora mannequin, often known as the Whippet, and so they additionally produced formal hats like high hats and bowlers as properly. By all this although, the model did keep true to its Western heritage and stored the cowboy hat craze alive. In any case, who hasn’t wished that they might be the Lone Ranger?

However as hat-wearing declined from the mid-Nineteen Sixties onward, Stetson was severely impacted. Because the broader hat business largely collapsed round it, Stetson additionally fell into monetary hardship. They have been pressured to shut their longtime manufacturing facility in Philadelphia, as an alternative licensing out this Stetson title to different producers within the Nineteen Seventies.

Within the 80s, they expanded their product traces to incorporate not simply new hat kinds, but additionally fragrances, eyewear, attire, and even bourbon.

The Stetson Ethos

Stetson now exudes the western aesthetic.
Stetson now exudes the Western aesthetic. [Image Credit: Stetson]

In the present day, the Stetson Firm holds the mental property and trademark rights to its title, however at the very least partly, licenses manufacture out to different firms, together with RHE Hatco. The corporate as we speak positions itself as one thing of a broader life-style model for many who benefit from the Western aesthetic. “City Cowboys,” so to talk.

With that mentioned, they do nonetheless carry various gown hat variants as properly, and these are sometimes marketed extra towards musicians or hipsters with a jazz-adjacent aesthetic. Like Allen Edmonds, Stetson additionally markets itself as we speak off of its fame as a uniquely American model identified for high-quality hats. A lot of their hats are nonetheless made in America and are usually constructed from wool, rabbit, or beaver felt. A few of their extra fashion-forward fashions although go for supplies like canvas, leather-based, or mesh as an alternative.

Stetson Hat Traces


Preston wearing a Stetson Western hat.
Preston carrying a Stetson Western hat.

Alongside many different high-quality cowboy hats in each felt and straw, Stetson nonetheless continues to supply its signature Boss of the Plains hat. Sadly, on the time of manufacturing of this information, Stetson was offered out of the Boss of the Plains in my dimension on their web site. So, the cowboy hat I acquired is a straw mannequin known as the Baker 10x.

For these of you who have been impressed by Kingsman: The Golden Circle, carrying a Stetson cowboy hat might be an attention-grabbing solution to mix Western and traditional menswear.

Caps & Outside

Stetson additionally now gives extra informal caps, together with traditional kinds like flat caps or panel caps, together with extra fashionable choices like trucker caps and bucket hats.

Stetson additionally has utilitarian and sturdy choices for the good open air; with a lot of the hats on this model being constructed from wool felt; though some are constructed from mesh or canvas. Whereas these hats definitely have their place, they’re particularly purpose-built, designed extra for true outside excursions like climbing, versus being only for appearances.


Fedora style Stetson hat.
Fedora-style Stetson hat.

Lastly right here, Stetson nonetheless gives various true fedora kinds which are according to traditional menswear aesthetics. Most of those are constructed from real rabbit or beaver fur felt. Although, some are constructed from wool felt as properly. Which hat model goes to work finest for you’ll range not based mostly on simply your life-style, but additionally in your head and face form.

Tips on how to Get the Proper Hat For Your Face Form & Physique Sort

The Whippet

First up right here, The Whippet is made with comparable proportions to the identically named hat that Stetson first offered from the Twenties by the 50s. It has a ribbon-bound, contrasting edge, and a classically-proportioned brim and crown.

The Whippet
The Whippet

Coloration-wise, it is available in variations of grey, black, blue, and brown, with the caribou and mink colours being the most well-liked. Sizing runs from 6 ¾ to 7 3/4, with the wool felt fashions going for $110 and the rabbit fur felt fashions going for $235 on the time of this evaluation’s creation.

The hat I’m carrying is a rabbit fur felt Whippet within the widespread mink shade. My hat dimension is seven.

The Temple

The Temple is one other traditional model that takes heavy inspiration from the forms of fedoras Stetson was making throughout the Forties particularly. This one is ideal to pair with a scotch whereas ruminating concerning the femme fatale who acquired away.

The Temple
The Temple

It was even worn by Harrison  Ford’s Indiana Jones in 1984’s “Temple of Doom,” although it isn’t the quintessential brown hat you’re pondering of.

The Temple has a barely bigger brim and better crown than the Whippet, and its brim edge is unfinished as an alternative. It is available in the identical blacks, browns, and grays that the Whippet does, but additionally contains some distinctive colours like mild grey and sage.

Sizing runs from 6 ⅞ to 7 7/8, and costs are $100 for wool felt and $230 for fur felt.

The Stratoliner

The Stratoliner
The Stratoliner

The Stratoliner is a barely extra informal mannequin with a skinny ribbon band and a sure brimage. It’s minimize with a wider brim with journey in thoughts as its namesake is the Boeing Stratoliner airplane of the mid-Twentieth century. Listening to Frank Sinatra’s album “Come Fly With Me” is really helpful whereas carrying this hat, however not strictly required.

Its silver stomach shade is probably probably the most iconic, but it surely additionally is available in grays, black, brown, and sage. Sizing runs from 6 ⅞ to 7 3/4.

The Stratoliner isn’t out there in wool felt, somewhat, the rabbit felt model goes for $190, and the beaver felt model goes for $450.

The Midtown

The Midtown
The Midtown

Subsequent, the Midtown is a particularly daring and rakish model that has fairly a large brim for a fedora hat. This brim is flat somewhat than curved and extends a whopping three-and-three-quarters inches out from the crown. In the meantime, the crown itself is styled in a teardrop form, and color-wise, it is available in black, brown, and navy.

This hat solely is available in wool felt, and somewhat than utilizing the standard eighth-of-an-inch increments in sizing, it merely runs on a normal small to extra-large dimension scale.

Straw Hats

Straw Hats
Straw Hats

Along with felt hats, Stetson additionally has warm-weather, straw hat choices – with the Whippet and Stratoliner kinds additionally being made in straw. The Stratoliner, particularly, is constructed from hemp.

Quite than being made by hand, these hats are machine-made, which is pretty typical for a straw hat at a value level of round $170.

The Ibarra

The Ibarra
The Ibarra

If you happen to want extra of a conventional Panama model, then the Ibarra is extra according to a high-quality summer season hat. This one is constructed from grade 20 Panama straw and has a light-weight high quality to it. The weaving can be extra according to higher-end hat fashions, although at a value of $375, we definitely hope it might be. This mannequin is available in only one shade, and sizing runs from 6 ⅞ to 7 5/8.

The Retro Panama

The Retro Panama
The Retro Panama

In the meantime, a cheaper mannequin with extra conventional styling is fittingly known as the Retro Panama. This one is available in grade 3 Panama straw and has a conservative black band. However, this might be switched out for a extra colourful band in a while should you so need.

At $95, it has very middle-of-the-road proportions with a two-and-a-half-inch brim and a four-and-a-half-inch crown peak. The largest disadvantage right here is that it once more comes within the easy small to extra-large sizing scheme, but it surely might be a great entry-level hat to think about.

The Open Street

The Open Road
The Open Street

To deliver us full circle right here, we’ll point out the Open Street, which is an efficient cross between Stetson’s Western and gown hat choices. This one, by the best way, was the popular hat model of US President Lyndon B. Johnson. Its cattleman’s crease and two-and-three-quarter inch brim make it definitely extra rustic than the extra Metropolitan fashions Stetson gives.

Coloration-wise, it is available in browns, blue, and even ivory. Sizing runs from 6 ¾ to 7 3/4, and costs range between $240 and $450 for the fur felt fashions.

The Madrigal

The Madrigal
The Madrigal

One other straw hat mannequin that Stetson has produced is the coconut straw pork pie hat that you just’ve seen me put on in a number of Gents’s Gazette guides. This mannequin is known as the Madrigal, and whereas it isn’t presently instantly out there on Stetson’s web site, it could actually nonetheless be discovered from different third-party sellers.

Stetson Hat Development

Stetson fur felt hats as we speak are made at a manufacturing facility in Longview, Texas. Right here, imported animal furs are refined and felted, with the furs combined and combed till solely the high quality down layers stay. The fur is then blown onto a cone and put into scalding sizzling water till the fibers shrink down and tighten collectively.

Imported animal fur
Imported animal fur. [Video Credit: BrandMade.TV]

The hats-in-progress are then fed by rolling machines a number of occasions to additional felt the fibers collectively. As soon as the fibers are shrunken all the way down to the suitable dimension, the hats are then put into dying vats to provide them their shade.

To agency up the fibers, a coating of shellac is utilized, which is actually beetle saliva. (It’s finest to not assume an excessive amount of about it.) The dried felt then goes by tipping and brimming, shaping it into one thing just like the completed hats everyone knows and love. Consider this step kind of as a waffle iron however for hats. The hats are then despatched to the ending manufacturing facility in Garland, Texas, the place they’re dried and shellacked once more.

Following this, the brims are straightened and given a clean end with sandpaper and claws. The tools utilized in these steps is extremely conventional and was utilized by the hatters of yesteryear, although the accompanying mercury course of is now not used. As you may think, mercury is now not used for security causes because it did, prior to now, have in poor health well being results on hatters, generally driving them to insanity and resulting in at the very least one supervillain origin story.

The brims being styled into shape.
The brims being styled into form. [Video Credit: BrandMade.TV]

Whereas we’d say it’s a great factor from a well being perspective that mercury is now not used, this does imply that the hats of as we speak aren’t technically as sturdy or weather-resistant as their classic counterparts.

Following this, the brims are minimize and styled into their most popular shapes, and the liner and sweatband are additionally added. High quality management then assures that there are not any flaws or blemishes and that the completed hat is prepared to be used.

Assessing Stetson Hats

Now, let’s see if they are surely of top quality, as talked about. The classically styled Fedora that I’m carrying is a fur felt Whippet within the mink shade and a dimension 7.

The hat fits true to size.

Assessing Stetson Hats


Concerning sizing, my observations are that the hat does match true to dimension, although it’s perhaps only a hair giant. Then once more, it may be that my very own head dimension is correct on the border between a 7 and a 6 7/8. In the meantime, one in all our script writers right here on the Gentleman’s Gazette has a really giant hat, and he’s grateful that the sizing of Stetson’s hats goes all the best way as much as sizes like a 7 3/4.

The hat definitely feels snug, and the fabric feels high-quality, luxurious, and delicate to the contact. The mink coloring is wealthy and deep, and I discover that the brim snaps properly into place for a rakish model.

So far as ending is worried, issues are usually neat and tidy; although I’ll say that the stitching is considerably extra seen in sure areas, just like the brim edge and across the crown than I used to be anticipating.

Quite than having a ribbon utilized across the brim, the classic hats in my very own assortment function a brim end often known as a “Cavanaugh Edge,” which is now not performed in fashionable hat manufacturing because the instruments and information of manufacture merely aren’t there as of late. So, you’ll need to accept both a ribbon-bound edge or an unfinished edge. And of the 2, I believe I want the ribbon extra.

The Cavanaugh Edge
The Cavanaugh Edge

As to how the hat stands as much as the weather, we are able to’t remark firsthand on this. Nonetheless, some members of on-line boards just like the Fedora Lounge have complained in recent times that fashionable Stetsons will bleed once they’re utterly drenched with water. Your mileage might range.

Whereas I haven’t worn it as extensively we can even touch upon the straw Baker 10X cowboy hat that we bought for this evaluation as properly.

The Baker 10X Cowboy Hat

Assessing Stetson Hats

High quality

I additionally discovered the development of this hat to be of top quality as it’s stiff and durable and appears to be well-finished. The hat has a delightful, considerably imposing form and good detailing, and relating to sizing, it additionally suits true to dimension, although perhaps only a hair small compared to the Whippet.

I don’t personally have a lot expertise carrying cowboy hats, however I’ve discovered this one to be pleasing to put on within the time that we’ve had it.

Do you just like the look of this hat model on me? Tell us within the feedback beneath.

Conclusion: Are Stetson Hats Value It?

Whereas Stetson is probably now not fairly the powerhouse model that it was within the early-Twentieth century and earlier than, they do nonetheless provide high-quality hats basically. Along with their heritage, Stetson does nonetheless emphasize traditional model and their hats do appear to be sturdy and have a great longevity over time.

Stetson hats are still durable and have a great longevity over time.
Stetson hats are nonetheless sturdy and have an excellent longevity over time.

Their wool felt, rabbit felt, and straw fashions are all classically proportioned and the wool and straw fashions might be thought-about good entry-level hats. In the meantime, we might additionally say that the rabbit felt fashions are cause moderately priced when you think about the supplies that go into them, although we do definitely acknowledge that this value is excessive on the face of it. And whereas a few of their Western-style hats push the boundary of what we might contemplate to be firmly throughout the realm of traditional menswear that we usually speak about, they will definitely work for the fitting persona.

In terms of the beaver felt hats that Stetson gives, you could possibly theoretically get a bespoke hat constructed from beaver felt at comparable costs that will be extra towards your precise specs. Nonetheless, the Stetson model is definitely extra accessible and simple to search out and a few may contemplate this explicit model to be aspirational inside their very own ethos.

Find a vintage Stetson to get it at a quality lower price.
Discover a classic Stetson to get it at a top quality lower cost.

Nonetheless, general, should you’re searching for Stetson high quality at a lower cost, your finest guess might be going to be to discover a classic Stetson hat in your dimension. Because of the forms of felts you used within the early-to-mid-Twentieth century, in addition to the mercury course of, which by the best way was solely harmful to the hatters and never the boys carrying the completed hats, these hats are actually as prime quality as they arrive.

Probably the most troublesome factor right here may simply be discovering a classic Stetson in your dimension, as males with a hat dimension of seven ¼ or bigger are going to have a tougher time. Nonetheless, if in case you have a smaller hat dimension as I do, extra classic choices are usually going to be out there.

Borsalino Hat
Borsalino Hat

To deliver up Stetson’s previous rival, Borsalino, once more, our concluding ideas on this evaluation are broadly just like those we had in that information, which is to say: If cash isn’t any object for you and also you don’t thoughts paying full retail value, what you’ll be getting from Stetson is a high-quality hat.

Borsalino Fedora: Is It Value It? (Definitive Overview)

However, on the similar time, you could possibly simply spend the identical sum of money or a comparable quantity on a customized hat and get issues extra to your personal specs. In the meantime, if the sticker value is a bit too steep for you otherwise you discover that Stetson’s fedora choices don’t have brim sizes that fairly suit your face form – each of which occur to be true for me personally – you may wish to go down the classic route as an alternative.

Preston's Dobbs hat collection.
Preston’s Dobbs hat assortment.

As an apart right here, a lot of the classic fedoras in my assortment are Dobbs model. They’ve served me properly for a few years now, appear to be fairly sturdy though they’re upwards of fifty or 60 years previous, and I’ve gotten most of them for 50 {dollars} or much less, some as little as 25 or so.

Do you personally personal a Stetson hat? Is it a Western model or a fedora model? Is it wool or straw? And what do you consider it? Tell us within the feedback beneath.

Outfit Rundown

In the present day, the central factor is, in fact, the Stetson Whippet hat, which I’ve already talked about is rabbit fur felt, dimension 7, and of their signature mink shade. To go together with it, I’ve elected to put on one of many fits in my assortment in a darkish brown shade and single-breasted, that includes a high quality pinstripe in tan and blue.

I’m additionally carrying an off-white shirt from Charles Tyrwhitt, which options French cuffs and into these I’ve inserted a pair of classic cufflinks in a number of metallic tones, each gold and silverish. 

My wool tie is in a tan shade to proceed the colour really feel, and my classic pocket sq. is in a lightweight tan and lightweight blue to go together with the skinny pinstripes within the go well with.

My footwear are darkish brown Adelaide-style Oxfords from the Swedish model Skolyx, and I’ve completed up the outfit with two equipment from Fort Belvedere as we speak. These can be my two-tone, shadow-striped socks in darkish brown and beige, and my Edelweiss boutonniere to select up on the off-white and blue tones.

Within the perfume division, I’ve gone for Oxford from the Roberto Ugolini assortment as a result of the daring scent goes properly with the daring really feel of Stetson hats. I’m carrying Oxfords and the colour of the bottle additionally harmonizes with my outfit.

To search out the socks and boutonniere I’m carrying as we speak, together with a wide selection of different traditional males’s equipment and fragrances from the Roberto Ugolini assortment, check out the Fort Belvedere store.

Stetson Hats FAQ

Does Stetson solely make cowboy hats?

Stetson doesn’t solely make cowboy hats. In addition they make caps, fedoras, and performance-based hat kinds. 

What sorts of hats does Stetson make?

Stetson is most well-known for making western/cowboy hats, but additionally makes fedoras and different gown hat kinds.

Does Stetson provide a variety of sizes?

Stetson gives a fairly commonplace vary of sizes, from 6 ¾ to 7 ¾ 

Do Stetson hats match true-to-size?

Stetson hats do usually match true-to-size,

Why are Stetson hats so costly?

Stetson hats are so costly due to the imported supplies, elaborate machines, and labor wanted to get a completed product.

What supplies does Stetson use for his or her hats?

Stetson usually makes use of both rabbit or beaver fur for his or her hats. Some fashions do use wool or artificial materials as an alternative.

Are Stetson hats versatile?

Stetson hats can finest be worn from the vary of enterprise informal to enterprise formal events. Any outfit that synchronizes with a fedora will work right here. 

Can Stetson hats be part of Traditional Model?

Whereas Western Stetson hats can push the traces between traditional and Western kinds, their fedora choices are utterly according to traditional model. 


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