On the way home from Denver, I stopped at Cowboy Up Hatters to choose my newest addition to my corral of hats. Choosing a cowboy hat, especially an old west version is never easy. Today’s hats are mostly mass-produced, and almost always straw. You go to a country music festival and it’s a sea of people who look alike. That’s not true with the old west hats, most of them develop personality of their own.
John B. Stetson began the cowboy hat craze with a hat called the “Boss of the plains”. It came in one style, and as the cowboys used it, the hat developed a bunch of dents, curls on the brim and such and became the creased hat that many of us see today (although they were fur felt not straw). Hats were truly shaped by the individual as they wore them.
When you choose a cowboy hat it takes time to fit one to your head. The one thing I have learned if you are going to have a custom hat made, trust the hat maker. They know what hat shaped will look good on your specific face and they’ll tell you the truth of whether you look good or you look bad. If you can’t justify a handmade hat, take a person with you whose opinion you trust. Especially the ones who will always be straight with you.
I don’t take my wife when I shop for a new hat for four reasons:
1. She will tell me I look good no matter what I put on
2. She’ll tell me we can’t afford it, no matter the price.
3. She’ll tell me I have enough hats already.
4. She’ll tell me to get rid of a hat before I get a new one.
So, I take my friend Tom and he says “Nope, too big a brim”, “Nope, wrong color”, “Nope, looks too much like mine”, etc. He is my truth teller. He has had me purchase hats I would have never bought on my own. I own two hats he recommended that I am convinced When I wear I look like a college football fan. You know the ones – the ten gallon college football foam hat.
In spite of my own insecurities, each time I wear one I get a compliment or two. So, trust your truth teller, they know.
Happy hat buying!