Stetson’s hats

Stetson now features western and panama straw hats, military  hats, dress hats and fedoras like Indiana Jones wore, as well as traditional Western felt hats. (Photo courtesy Gold Camp Journal, 2013)

After writing about Stetson hats in last week’s issue of The Flume, it seemed appropriate to write a little about hat care and etiquette.

The first rule is never, ever touch another person’s hat. A hat is very personal and it might be a very expensive item.

Basically, straw hats are worn in the summer, unless it is a formal affair, when a felt hat is worn. Felt hats are for the winter, when they help keep your head warm.

One can change the shape of the crown or brim by softening the felt in steam, re-shaping, and allowing the hat to dry and cool. Felt usually retains its shape when dry.

One can take a cowboy hat off using the crown or the brim. Any handling, over time, will result in that part breaking down.

If one uses the brim, make sure to use front and back, not the sides. The brim needs to be stiff, and it is the weakest part of the hat.

It seems it is customary to remove one’s hat by the crown, according to Use the crown if you need to adjust your hat.

Don’t set your hat down on its brim, turn it over and place it on its crown. Better yet, hang it on a special hat holder, hat rack or stand.

Just a few general rules regarding etiquette: Generally, not wearing a hat indoors is a good rule. If you are dining in a restaurant and there is no good place to set your hat, on the table is considered rude; wear it.

One should remove one’s hat for formal occasions like the National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, passing of the flag, in church, during prayer and during a funeral. One can hold the hat in the right hand over your heart, or in your left hand, right hand over your heart. Cowboys tip their hats to the ladies and remove them when they are being introduced.

There are a lot more etiquette rules, but this is a general guideline. The shop where you purchased your cowboy hat can probably give you a hat etiquette guideline list, as well.

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