How To Wear a Cowboy Hat

Hats are a great way to accessorize, cover up your bad hair days, and express yourself. And a cowboy hat is no exception. The style is classic yet unique, and it has quickly found itself among the trends.

They can be worn through any season with a wide variety of outfits, but like all accessories, they can be a struggle to style. 

On one hand, you may not look like you’re ready to ride a horse, while on the other hand, that may be exactly what you’re looking for. If you’re interested in finding out all the tips and tricks, stay tuned into our guide of how to wear a cowboy hat. After reading, you’ll discover:

  • How to wear a cowboy hat
  • When to wear a cowboy hat
  • Different cowboy hat fits and styles
  • How to take care of a cowboy hat

What is a Cowboy Hat?

If you’re not entirely sure what this trendy yet timeless accessory is, we’re about to enlighten you. This hat features a high crown and a wide brim–there’s no mistaking this signature western style.

It’s ideal for protecting your face, head, and eyes from the sun, and is often waterproof with a natural, earthy color.

History of The Cowboy Hat

A broad-brimmed hat with a large crown being worn by a horseback rider dates back to before 1865. They were first recorded as being worn by Vaqueros, or Mexican cowboys, who wore similarly styled sombreros to herd cattle.

They underwent a few transformations featuring different fabrics and designs until they turned into the style we know and love today, which was created by ​​John B. Stetson in 1865.

It featured a pinched crown, ideal for holding, putting on, and removing, as well as a wide curved brim to block the sun while staying out of the way.

Like all timeless clothing and accessories, cowboy hats are now designed to be more than just practical: they’re fashionable, too. Easy to wear, in a wide range of styles, cowboy hats have become a fun and trendy accessory for the everyday. 

When to Wear a Cowboy Hat

Given the number of different styles of cowboy hats, there are plenty of places and times to wear them. Of course, they’re ideal for perusing the desert on horseback, hanging around a ranch, and serving as a farmhand. 

They’re definitely ideal for summer months or warmer weather because of the protective brim. But, they have also become a trendy style and can easily be worn out and about, pairing well with a number of styles and adding a western flair.

They can also be a more sophisticated style, paired with a blazer or a stylish coat. And they can be quite casual with some jeans and a nice top. Before we delve into the outfit ideas, let’s take a look at some tips on how to wear a cowboy hat.

How to Wear a Cowboy Hat

As we have mentioned, there are a number of different styles and therefore a number of different ways to wear cowboy hats. That being said, the classic, neutral options are ideal for pairing with a number of different outfits and pieces to create a western vibe.

You can also play with colors and patterns for a more playful and whimsical look, or opt for a darker palette to create a mysterious and edgy vibe. You can’t go wrong with a plain tee and jeans, but accessories and jackets are a definite must to work it into your personal style.

When deciding how to wear a cowboy hat, it’s also important to remember that there is cowboy hat etiquette. Hats should be removed when entering buildings, when sitting at a table, or during formal occasions. You can even use your hat to say hello, and adjust it around the crown.

With all that being said, it’s time to get into what we’ve all been waiting for. Below, we’ll show you how to wear a cowboy hat with a selection of unisex styles, ideal for a variety of different occasions. 

10 Outfit Ideas with a Cowboy Hat


If you’re wondering what the best way to wear a cowboy hat is, the answer is pretty clear: with all the classic western pieces. This look features a black cowboy hat paired with a matching black tee, rugged blue denim, a chunky belt buckle, cowboy boots, and even a lasso. 

This look really couldn’t be much more traditional, though a pair of chaps and a western-style button-up may truly complete the ensemble.

Overall, the entire outfit is functional and ideal for work on a ranch or farm, which is exactly what cowboy hats were made for.

Fall Weather

An oversized, neutral cowboy hat paired with a faux leather and fur moto jacket screams fall. This style has cozy vibes, which are only enhanced by the simple and casual pair of cowboy boots. 

The button-down shirt and blue jeans feel stylish and simple, while the rich color of the jacket adds depth and warmth. The white hat pulls the neutral shades out of the jacket for a cohesive overall look.


A monochrome palette makes it pretty easy to style anything, especially a cowboy hat. This style plays with textures, as well, contrasting the smooth felt hat with a leather jacket and pointed-toe boots. 

The white tee breaks up the black, while the gray shirt tied around the waist adds depth and warmth. The kitten heel juxtaposes the bold shape of the hat for a cohesive, well-balanced overall look.

Anything Cow Print

Of course, a cowboy hat always calls for cow print. This look features a bright white cowboy hat paired with a fitted speckled print dress in a warm brown and ivory color to match the hat. That being said, you can flip the look around and opt for a patterned hat instead.

Plus, you can use any of the other looks in our list of how to wear a cowboy hat and slip in a cow print for a unique and interesting touch on a more classic ensemble.


If simplicity is key in your life, look no further than a white cowboy hat, a matching white top, and a classic pair of denim. This outfit features skinny blue jeans with some distressing around the knee and a white tank for a stylish and put-together look, which is topped off with a classic cowboy hat.

It can be worn by anyone basically anywhere, and a few simple tweaks and touches can easily add a personal flair, from extra colors to cool jackets. 


Of course, cowboy hats can lean on the sophisticated side of things as well. This small black hat is paired with a black turtleneck and fitted pants for a comfortable base layer.

On top, a light brown trench coat adds a touch of sophistication, while deep brown cowboy boots feel cool and casual, while still being quite elegant.


On the other end of the spectrum, a cowboy hat can be worn quite casually. Opt for a lighter-colored hat and a matching light brown shacket, resting seamlessly atop light blue jeans and a black tee.

Pair with some warm-toned brown booties to add another tone into the mix, and a light brown handbag for extra dimension and practicality. 


If you’ve got a boho aesthetic, a cowboy hat is definitely the right way to add a little western flair. With a tan cowboy hat and a matching neck scarf, this look definitely has a traditional feel.

The reconstructed graphic tee and distressed blue jeans feel more modern and simple, while the blue and tan flannel adds a cohesive touch to marry the two styles and tones. 

Retro Western

90s vibes deserve a little love too, so we couldn’t forget about a retro western look. These gents don wide-leg pants and cowboy boots, as well as fitted tank tops topped with unbuttoned shirts for a casual and stylish look.

They each wear a different colored cowboy hat to match the tones in their look, from warm to dark shades. Add a few belts and jean jackets into the mix, and you’ll find a seamless connection between these two bold styles.


If you’re looking to embrace all the trends, we’ve got the look for you. The main event of this style is a carbon black cowboy hat paired with a tasseled black leather jacket for a super western vibe. 

The distressed skinny jeans feel cool and casual, while the pointed-toe boots add a little more sophistication. The bright white tee breaks up the monochrome color palette, which is another trendy option, adding a simple and clean feel to the overall style.

What Type of Cowboy Hat Can You Get?

While most cowboy hats have a similar shape with a broad brim and a tall pinched crown, they do come in a variety of styles when it comes to colors, finishes, fabrics, and shapes. Below, we’ll share some of the most popular styles to choose from. 

  1. The tracker: features a pinched front and a smaller brim, with one side rolled up for an asymmetrical look
  2. The pinched front: this style features two pinches to create a v shape
  3. The flat: a flat brim and a rounded top for a seamless look
  4. The cattleman: most popular style, featuring three deep creases in the crown and a curved brim

All of these hats come in a variety of colors and patterns, and you can also choose from a multitude of different fabrics. That being said, we’ll fill you in on how to choose the best cowboy hat for you down below.

How to Choose The Best Cowboy Hat

Like everything in your wardrobe, and before you determine how to wear a cowboy hat, there’s a number of things to consider when choosing the right cowboy hat for you. Below, we’ll take a look at the top things to keep in mind when shopping around:

  • Price
  • Quality
  • Material
  • Fit 
  • Style
  • Color
  • Special designs

Price and quality tend to go hand in hand since you often pay for what you get. But, if you want something that’s affordable for a costume party or to wear on rarer occasions, you may prefer to opt for something on the cheaper end of the spectrum. 

And on the other hand, if you want something that’s durable and high quality, you may end up paying a little more. Another thing that affects the quality and price of a cowboy hat is the materials. And at this point, you may be wondering: what are cowboy hats made of? 

More often than not, cowboy hats are made of straw (ideal for summer) or felt (a better option for winter), which are definitely affordable options. Leathers and waterproof materials are more durable and high quality, and therefore a bit more pricey.

When you’re choosing the style, color, and designs, it’s important to think about what is most practical with your lifestyle. Do you see yourself wearing a cow print patterned baby pink hat on the daily, or is it something you want for a few nights of the year? 

And if you do want something casual and comfy, it may work best to opt for a neutral color and style. The same goes for the fit: oversized isn’t ideal if you’re looking to actually wear it horseback riding, so they should typically fit quite snugly and you can opt for a brim size of your choice.

How to Style a Cowboy Hat

Now that we know a little more about how to choose the right option, it only makes sense to delve a little deeper into how to wear a cowboy hat. Because of the number of different styles of cowboy hats, there are plenty of ways to fashion your new look.

First of all, you can pair it with different types of shoes for different looks. Cowboy boots will definitely create a western vibe, while combat boots will be a bit edgier, and sneakers will be more casual. 

The same goes for jackets and accessories. Of course, a tassel jacket fits the classic style, while something more oversized with a pea coat design may feel more elevated. And of course, you can opt for anything from a western style belt to something soft and simple.

You may also be wondering how to wear a cowboy hat with long hair. There are definitely a few options here, and wearing your hair down and wild is definitely one of them. You can also braid your hair in one or two braids, or even put it in a pony at the nape of your neck.

No matter how you end up choosing to style your cowboy hat, it’s always important to opt for something in line with your personal style, whether that’s neutral colors, patterns, or shiny details. 

Now that we’ve got some tips for styling established, it only makes sense to consider a few things you may want to avoid.

Fashion Tips to Avoid With a Cowboy Hat

If you want to avoid looking like an actual cowboy, there are a few things when it comes to how to wear a cowboy hat. Cowboy boots, plaid shirts, and denim on denim will always have a very western vibe.

So, if you’re looking to avoid that style, be sure to replace the pieces with more modern styles.

How To Take Care Of a Cowboy Hat

If you’re interested in finding out how to wear a cowboy hat, you’re likely also interested in keeping it in good condition. Here’s how you can take care of your cowboy hat:

  1. Be careful with it. The wide brim and large crown are what makes a cowboy hat a cowboy hat, so it’s important to handle them with care
  2. Store it on a hat stand or post to maintain the shape
  3. Store in a cool, dry place to maintain the integrity of the material
  4. Always allow to air dry
  5. Gently brush away debris and dust every so often

Best Places to Buy a Cowboy Hat

Did a style in our tips on how to wear a cowboy hat catch your eye? Check out some of our fav places to shop the style below:

  • Amazon
  • Walmart
  • Lucchese
  • Planet Cowboy
  • Lammle’s Western Wear

Final Thoughts

Overall, cowboy hats are definitely a stylish choice for any event and any time of year. And it doesn’t really matter what look you’re going for, since this accessory will blend seamlessly into any style, while still adding a western flair.

Plus, they’re a comfortable and practical choice and come in a variety of colors, shapes, and styles to suit your personal needs and preferences. And no matter what you end up pairing your cowboy hat with, you’re sure to look great in it!

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