There is no American hat maker more iconic than John Stetson. Legend has it, Stetson is responsible for what we recognize today as the cowboy hat. However, the Stetson brand is synonymous with all kinds of hat styles, from baseball caps to Ivy caps to 8/4 caps (otherwise known as newsboy hats or cabbie hats or flat caps).
No matter the style of your Stetson, you can rest assured that this American legend offers you quality, style and even just a bit of panache. Stetson hats are rugged but refined. They age well like a fine wine, and they have managed to transcend the barriers that the ends of old eras and the beginnings of new eras usually place on fashion movements. Indeed, the Stetson name has become, in and of itself a timeless part of American sartorial culture.
John B. Stetson’s original hat designs were meant for adventurers, for frontiersmen. Each and every Stetson hat style was crafted to complement contemporary streetwear, no matter the era. First established in Philadelphia, the John B. Stetson company originally produced men’s wide-brim hats. However, just as the factory migrated to its current locations in Joseph, Missouri and Galveston, Texas; the brand’s styles migrated and evolved to more than just a cowboy hat. Today, the brand offers more than 100 different varieties for both men and women.
More so than any other brand, Stetson has engratiated itself into American pop culture. Its wide brimmed icons of the ruggedly handsome protagonist have been feature by names like John Wayne, Gene Autry and even more recent names like Garth Brooks. Of course, Annie Oakley was rumoured to have worn a Stetson, proving that the popular style of early Stetson models suited anyone. At its apex, Stetson was the largest hat company in the world, acknowledgment that it had become the most well-known milliner ever.
Stetson’s popularity first rose with the advent of its “Boss of the Plains” hats — the rounded, wide-brimmed hats that are so prevalent among western movies. In the early 20th century, many, especially celebrities, were drawn to the “10 Gallon” model, the almost comically tall versions of his iconic hat we often see in dated cartoons. Eventually, the Stetson brand diversified and began to create hat styles for women and for less rugged professions. The name has been a featured part of military and police wardrobes in numerous countries, including its current service with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
Of all the noble American sartorial names, Stetson may remain the most renowned. Though the brand started along the urban eastern seaboard, it quickly expanded to become the symbol of the wild west. Since then, the brand has shown its ability to adapt and move with the times, creating different hat styles and even perfecting the flat cap newsboy hat look of the 20s that many young fashion-forward members of today’s society try to emulate. Clearly, Stetson will remain a popular name for anyone interested in embarking upon a new fashion adventure for years to come.