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Fedora Hat vs Cowboy Hat

Are you looking for ways to stand out in a wedding or any other informal event? Well, the fedora hat and cowboy hat are the two essential accessories to pair with your outfit and stand out. Learn more about them in this guide.

This is a close look at a beige cowboy hat on a wooden fence post.

Over the years, people have adopted a different sense of style, but the two fashion statements that have evolved over the years are the cowboy hat and fedora hat. They have remained common because they have been taken up by celebrities and have transformed into a unique accessory for any wardrobe.

Table of Contents

Fedora Hat vs Cowboy Hat – The Basics

A notable difference between the fedora hat and the cowboy hat is that the fedora brims are turned up in the front and down at the back. The cowboy has a large brim turned up on both sides or flat around the hat.

With a large brim, you’re sure of protection from the elements like rain, wind, and sun. Unlike the cowboy’s large size and its predominant use as informal wear, fedoras are smaller and widely used on formal occasions.

Standing Out in a Fedora and Cowboy Hat

The cowboy hat was designed for cowboys in the early years, but over time, the product line has extended to cover amateur models and line dancers. Here’s how and when to wear cowboy hats.

  • When you remove your cowboy hat, pull it off your head from the brim sensitive crown
  • Pair your hat with leather boots, rugged jeans, and a button shirt
  • Wear straw cowboy hats for work activities
  • For better sun protection, tug your cowboy hat over your eyes

Fedoras are a perfect addition for formal events, but you can include them in your “casual” attire. Here’s how and when to wear a fedora.

  • When you wear a fedora hat casually, make sure that you pair it with loafers, chinos, and a tight-fitting shirt
  • You’ll also look great when you pair it with a formal overcoat, fitted shirt and sleek blazer
  • A fedora is a perfect addition when going to events like upscale balls and black-tie weddings

Fedora Hat vs Cowboy Hat – Pros and Cons

While fedoras are timeless pieces known for being the perfect addition to a formal occasion, they still have their flaws. Here’s a highlight of its pros and cons

Advantages of Fedoras

  • Matches different head shapes and sizes
  • You can curl its brim up and down to your liking
  • Features a comfortable felt construction
  • Excellent at blocking the sun rays

Disadvantages of Fedoras

  • The hat is too flashy for most events

Cowboy hats may not be the right accessory for a charity ball or wedding, but they are undoubtedly a valuable fashion accessory. Here’s a look at its pros and cons

Advantages of Cowboy Hats

  • Offers excellent sun protection
  • Waterproof and Lightweight to handle outdoor tasks
  • Holds its shape for a long time
  • The cowboy brand name stands the test of time
  • It perfectly completes the western look

Disadvantages of Cowboy Hats

  • The leather types are uncomfortable to wear during summer

What is a Fedora Hat?

This is a gray trilby fedora hat with a striped band.

This is a hat that features a tear-drop shape with a medium-sized brim and low sitting crown. Fedoras also have a hatband below the crown made of leather or grosgrain ribbon, depending on the style. In addition, they have a crease at the top of the crown that runs to the center.

Types of Fedoras

In the past, fedoras were considered men’s formal headwear, but recently both sexes have included them with casual or formal attire. When searching for a fedora, you should know that the hats are defined based on the width of the brim, the shape of the crown, materials, and how you wear them. Here are a few types you should know.

The Felt Fedoras

This is a close look at various fedora hats on display at a market.

These are popular fedora options constructed from animal fur felt or wool. There are also some created from costlier furs, such as chinchilla. Check out the different types you should know.

  • Wool Felt – Wool is a popular material for constructing fedoras because it is more cost-effective than animal furs. Additionally, most manufacturers prefer the material because of its availability, softness, and better shape and sheen retention.
  • Animal Fur Felt – Compared to wool, this felt hat is softer and finer, making this fedora a perfect addition to suits and formal attires. Chinchilla and beaver fur are the most commonly used fur, but plenty of other exotic furs are available.

The Straw Fedora

This is a top view of a straw fedora hat with a dark band.

This fedora type is more casual, and you can wear it during sporting events or in the summer. In a formal setting, they make a great addition during events like outdoor weddings or horse races. However, this is dependent on the felt fedora type.

Common Fedora Straw Types

Straw fedoras come in different types depending on the events and activities, with the most popular being the shantung, paper brain straw, and Toyo straw hat. However, most people prefer the Panama hat constructed from toquilla straw (from the palm tree), which is very soft, breathable and waterproof.

Other Types of Fedoras

A man wearing a dark hat watching a rhino.

Different hats are categorized as fedoras because of their similar appearance and shape. While you can distinguish them by other names, they are still generalized as fedoras.

  • Trilby Hat: This hat has the same crown shape as a fedora but with a short brim that’s curled along the edges. Its rear brim is also turned up and the front point down, forming a slanted profile.
  • Pork Pie:  The pork pie hat features the same profile as the fedora with a shorter brim, round crown, and straight sides slanting just like a pork pie.
  • Homburg Hat: This hat is similar to a fedora, with the distinct difference being that it has a center dent and a tall, sharp crown. Sometimes the brim can slope upwards on both sides or curl on the edges.
  • Safari Hat: The safari hat is a fedora with a flat crown and wide brim to shield the wind, rain and sun. They’re also constructed from leather and straw and designed primarily for their function rather than fashion.

What Should You Look for in a Fedora?

A man wearing a dark denim shirt with his dark blue fedora hat.

If you want to upgrade your style with a fedora, you may be overwhelmed by the number of choices available on the market. However, to ensure that you find a type that meets your needs, there are different aspects to consider.

Find A Hat Size That’s A Perfect Fit

Before you begin shopping for a hat, take some time to find the right size. You can do this by measuring your head’s circumference using a tape measure. Make sure that you wrap it across your eyebrows and above your ears.

It’s still necessary to stick your figure below the tape so that there’s little room. If your head size falls between measurements, consider choosing one size up.

Your Hat Style Matters

Fedora hats are constructed for different occasions, from formal events like weddings to casual nights such as date nights. If you’re looking for a classic look, you may want to consider fur felt fedoras. Most casual fedora hats are made from leather and straw.

Think About Your Hat’s Shape

There are different considerations for picking a hat’s shape, with the most notable being the dent in the hat. Some fedora varieties come with a center dent (crease in the middle), while others have a side dent (open crown or pinched front). Brim sizes are also an important consideration, and they can be wide, medium, or short.

You should also know that some hat types look great on particular-shaped faces. For example, you’ll look great in a center dent fedora if you have a square face. If you have a heart-shaped face, fedoras with a medium brim and pinched fronts will be a perfect fit.

Decide on the Ideal Accent and Color

Before deciding on a fedora hat, take into account the type of outfit to wear with your hat. For example, a black hat can go with dark and bright-colored outfits.

If you wish to accent specific clothes, think about how best your fedora enhances your outfit colors. For instance, a light-colored hat can help pop out dark-toned outfits.

What is a Cowboy Hat?

A close look at a brown felt cowboy hat with buckle.

Also referred to as a ten-million-gallon, this hat has an extensive overflowed hat with a huge crown. The cowboy hat also features a wide brim and protruding crown, a shape that the wearer can modify to suit different conditions like fashion.

Types of Cowboy Hat Styles

The cowboy hat has seen a significant transformation over the years. John B Stetson designed the first cowboy hat in 1865 after drawing inspiration from the 19th-century Mexican cowboy hats. The original design featured a flat brim and a tall round crown made of leather, straw, and felt.

Today, cowboy hat styles aren’t identical to the Stetson hat, but their design and construction remain unchanged. Here are a few types to take note of.

The Cattleman Crease

A distinct trait of this cowboy hat is its 5 inches crown and a medium curved brim of about 4.5 inches. It also has two creases at the side and one in the middle of the cowboy’s crown.

Given its large crown, you can pull it down further on your head to protect you against the rain or high wind. It still makes a perfect accessory for anyone attending formal events like weddings.

The Montana Crease

This floppy hat type closely resembles the cattleman hat but with a few distinct differences. For instance, it features three crown creases like the cattleman, with the indentation on the sides being smaller than those behind the crown.

The hat’s center dent features a pronounced front, and the same case applies to the back of the crown. This hat’s crown height is between 4 to 6.5 inches and the brim between 4 to 4.5 inches.

The Telescope Gambler Crease

This idea for the gambler’s hat came from the churros (Mexican cowboys). Its distinct features include a flat crown (3 to 4.5 inches) protecting hot air from accumulating in the hat and a wide brim (4 to 4.5 inches) which offers excellent sun protection. This cowboy hat has a round crown with its center featuring a circular indentation that looks almost similar to a telescope.

The Pinch Front Crease

When you view this western cowboy hat from the top, its 4 to 5 inches crown comes in a tear-drop or diamond shape and has a slightly curved or flat brim. This cowboy hat’s crown is the same as those on a formal outback hat, trilbies, and fedora style hats, but its brim is similar to traditional cowboy hats.

Most people believe that this hat can make your face appear thinner, which is why it’s a popular hat among women.

Wearing Your Cowboy Hat the Right Way

This is a man wearing a plaid shirt with his dark cowboy hat.

The cowboy hat is a recognizable fashion item, meaning you can pair it with different outfits to make a statement. These hats were popular among ranchers who paired them with cowboy boots and blue jeans.

Women can wear them with different outfits, from fashionable blouses to wedding dresses. If you want to stand out in a cowboy hat, here are a few things worth considering.

Adjust Your Hair Appropriately

A woman wearing a brown wide-brimmed hat.

Your long hair shouldn’t hinder your hat from properly sitting on your head. That’s why it’s advisable to slick your hair back to lay smoothly. If you have to tie it down, consider a ponytail that hangs down.

Have Your Bow at The Back

When wearing a cowboy hat, ensure it sits correctly on your head. Most cowboy hat designs feature a bow at the lining of the headband. As you wear your hat, the bow has to be at the back of your head.

For hat designs that don’t have a bow, the front side will be narrower than the back.

Position Your Hat the Right Way

This is a man wearing a brown leather cowboy hat with his leather outfit that has frills.

The position of your hat impacts how you look. Consider tilting your hat until your forehead is halfway visible for a friendly and casual look. For a serious or mysterious look, lower your brim above your eyebrows.

You’ll have a more confident appearance by slanting your hat to the right or left.

Your Outfit Matters

If you want to look great in a cowboy hat, consider pairing it up with cowboy boots, jeans, and a plain shirt. Your jeans have to be plain blue without any extra side pockets. You’ll even have a sharper appearance if you tuck in your shirt and wear a brown or black leather belt.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Difference Between a Cowboy Hat and a Fedora?

The difference between the fedora hat and a cowboy hat is that fedoras have a short brim that’s turned up in the front and down at the back. The cowboy has a large brim turned up on both sides or flat around the hat.

Why Do You Put a Cowboy Hat Upside Down?

Putting your hat upside down, especially when storing it in a hatbox or flat surface, helps the hat air out, keeping the brim shape intact. There’s also an old cowboy superstition that states you’ll run out of luck by setting your brim upside-down.

Where Does the Word Fedora Come From?

The word fedora originated from an 1882 play written by Sarah Bernhardt, with Victorien Sardou being the lead character. In 1889, the play was performed in the United States for the first time.

Do Cowboys Wear Hats Indoors?

Unlike most cultures where it’s mandatory to take off the hat indoors, especially in churches, this is an exception in the “cowboy church.” Their culture requires them to keep their hats and only take them off during the Lord’s Prayer.

What is Cowboy Hat Etiquette?

These are a set of rules governing how the hat users should wear the hat. For instance, you should remove the hat when a national anthem plays. Also, when women remove the hat, they should hold it with their right hand over the heart.