Can You Wear Cowboy Hats If You’re Not a “Real” Cowboy?


You don’t rope steers, ride around on the open range, feast at the chuck wagon, or herd anything… so can you still wear cowboy hats?


Western hats are popping up everywhere these days, from weddings, to shopping malls, to barbecues.  Felt cowboy hats have become perfectly acceptable for nighttime activities – even very formal ones.  If it’s a hot summer evening and you’re headed to a very casual outdoor event, you might be able to get away with a straw hat.  But if you’re looking for a western hat that will work for virtually any occasion, opt for felt (and black felt at that!).

OK, so you want one.  It’s socially acceptable to wear one.  But how on earth do you weed out the less-than-stellar cowboy hats and find a good one?

-  Don’t assume you can cut corners.  Just like any quality accessory, good cowboy hats don’t come cheap.  Luckily, though, the good ones will last you a very long time – so consider it to be an investment in your appearance!

-  Look for clean lines.  Since you’re going to have yours for years to come, don’t waste your time and money on trendy western hats.  Instead, look for something that will be in style for a long time.  (Hint:  the smaller, less detailed bands you can get, the better!)

-  Get a classic color.  You can never go wrong with basic black, and white (or off-white) is always a good standby, too.  That way, you’ll always have a hat on hand that matches any outfit (formal suits included!).

Now that you know how to find one, you’ve got to know how to wear one.  Cowboy hats come with more rules than any other accessory on the planet.  And, whether you’re a “real” cowboy or not, you’ve got to follow them.  If you don’t, you’ll never be able to pull off the look of the hat!

So, any time you tap into your western hat collection:

-  Take it off when you’re eating.

-  Hold it over your heart while the national anthem is being played.

-  Tip it when you meet a lady outside.  If you’re inside, take the hat off completely.  Cowboy or not, you’ve got to respect the ladies!

-  Never put your cowboy hats on the bed – even for a few minutes.  Even “real” cowboys can’t tell you exactly where this rule comes from (or what happens to you if you break it).  However, they don’t dare do it!