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Different Cowboy Hat Styles

Different Cowboy Hat Styles

Apr 13th 2020

How to Choose Cowboy Hat Brim and Crown Styles

Crown shape, brim types, dimples, and more: Cowboy hat styles are just about as varied as the cowboys and cowgirls who wear them. There's a style to fit anyone and any kind of work. However, the names and differences can get a little overwhelming. What style is what, and how do you choose the right cowboy hat style for you? This guide explains what the parts of a cowboy hat are called and the names and characteristics of different cowboy hat styles so you can find your ideal hat.

Start With Cowboy Hat Basics

At the most basic, a cowboy hat can be broken down into three simple parts: the crown, brim, and hatband. The characteristics of these parts are what distinguish cowboy hats from one another.

  • Crown – The crown of a cowboy hat is at the very top of the head. Crowns are one element that defines hat style and can be completely rounded, pinched, oval, or squared.
  • Brim – The overhanging material around the bottom of the hat's crown that runs around the entire hat. The brim can keep the sun, rain, and snow out of your eyes. Brims come in various shapes and sizes depending on hat style.
  • Hat band – A decorative piece of fabric, ribbon, or leather that’s attached where the crown and brim meet. Hat bands are one way to personalize your cowboy hat.
  • Crease – A crease is a dip or “dent” along the front, sides, back, or all three areas of the crown of a cowboy hat. Some cowboy hats have no crease.
  • Pinch – Crease shapes are referred to as the pinch.

Explore our style guide to learn how the most popular Western hat styles combine these elements.

Popular Cowboy Hat Styles


The Cattleman is the absolute classic Western cowboy hat and is favored by many country Western singers—it’s the style George Strait wears. It has also been featured in many vintage and modern TV shows and movies.

Cattleman cowboy hats have a full-length crown crease—running all the way from the front to the back, with wide dents to the left and the right with the sides of the brim turned up in a teardrop shape. The Cattleman’s low crown will fit and stay on better when sized correctly. This style generally comes in white or light colors.


The Biggs hat or Biggs crease is a modified version of the cattleman crown. The crease is smaller, high on the crown, and almost pinched to a line on the right and left of the crown. These hats often feature a squared brim with the sides pulled up only slightly.


The Boss or Boss of the Plains cowboy hat was originally created by legendary hat maker John B. Stetson in 1885. This hat has a tall crown and a wide stiff brim that protects against the rain. A brand new Boss cowboy hat has no dents, allowing you to place one yourself or leave it as is. This hat became popular with its advertisements showing cowboys watering their horses by dipping their Boss hats in the watering trough, showing cowboys just how waterproof a Boss hat could be.

Pinched Front

Pinched front hats are another cowboy classic. Looking at this cowboy hat from the top, the brim is only slightly curled, as is usual for most cowboy hats. The teardrop shape, however, comes from the crown and crease: The left and right fronts and the top of the crown are partially dented. Occasionally the front and back of the brim will be turned down along with its slightly curled sides.


A Brick cowboy hat looks like the traditional, vintage Old West hat. It is shaped like the popular Cattleman with its right and left brim curled toward the front, so the hat takes on a drop shape. But what sets the Brick apart is its square crown and rectangular-shaped crease at the top, which looks like—you guessed it!—a brick.


The Derby, also known as the Bowler hat, was originally created in England around 1849 by a gentleman named Bowler. It became popular among working-class people during the Victorian era. They were brought to the U.S. by immigrants and the charming style caught on in the Old West. A Derby hat's construction meant the hat was less likely to blow away in the wind, even when sticking your head out a train window. The crown is rounded and open (no dent or crease) with a short brim with a slight curl at the right and left of the brim. The Derby is a smaller hat with a sense of business style.

The Gambler

The Gambler cowboy hat has a flat-topped crown and a smaller brim than other styles of cowboy and cowgirl hats. This style is also occasionally referred to as a “Nevada hat.” A gambler hat will most likely have just the edge of the brim turned up slightly—not as sharply as the Cattleman. The crease is only on the very outer edge of its very flat top. Rhett Butler wore a Gambler in Gone With The Wind.

Telescope Crease

At first glance, the Telescope Crease is similar to the shape of a Gambler cowboy hat. But when you look at the crown of a Telescope crease cowboy hat, you'll note the dent at the very top which stretches along the edges of the whole crown. While the Gambler's crown is flat and even with the crease, Telescope Creases are slightly dented inward instead.


The Gus has a brim of roughly six inches and a crown featuring two dots, or two creases—nicknamed “reach and grab,” because when cowboys reached for their hat they tended to grab it by the front of the crown, making a crease to the left and right of the top of the crown. The Gus is sometimes called the Lonesome Gus hat, a nod to the Lonesome Dove series.

Here's where it gets a little cloudy for the Gus: In Texas,”'The Gus” is considered a Tom Mix hat. Different areas of the country all have their own way of naming hats, so make sure you know which one you're looking for and other names it could be called.

Tom Mix

Tom Mix, a silent movie star and named the original "King of the Cowboys," appeared in nearly 300 movies between 1909 and 1935. He chose a Western hat that was easily and instantly recognizable, so unique that it has become a style all on its own. The Tom Mix has a very tall crown and is deeply creased down the front and center of the crown. The brim is very large and pronounced, averaging 5 to 6 inches and only slightly curled on the very edges. This is a very distinctive hat that will turn heads!

As with a Gus hat, the Tom Mix may be called by another name depending on which state you're in. In Montana, Tom Mix hats are called “The Montana Peak,” and in Colorado, they call it “The Western Slope.”

The Montana Crease

Back in the old, Wild West, many different regions enjoyed their own unique cowboy hat styles, marking a cowboy or cowgirl with where they're from. The Montana crease was first seen in Montana and worn by the cowboys living there, which is how it got its name. The Montana crease cowboy hat features a high crown with creases in the middle, right, and left of the crown. Its three characteristic creases made it stand apart from other cowboy hats.

While there are more crown shapes beyond the options listed above, these are the most popular options for Western hats. You’ll find these common hat shapes no matter the hat material—favorite options include straw, leather, and wool or faux fur felt.

Cowboy Hat Brim Shapes And Styles

You can pair your favorite crown shape with different brim styles for nearly endless combinations. Of course, there's nothing wrong with choosing authentic Old West style hats, either.

The most common cowboy hat brim styles are:

  • Flat: A cowboy hat with a flat brim has no curling or shaping.
  • Low: A low brim generally is curled down slightly only at the front of the hat.
  • Full Taco: Brims labeled as “Taco” feature sharply curved left and right sides of the brim, curling upward in a more singular shape than other brims. Half-Taco, also called Texas Brim, Relaxed Taco, or George Brim are similar in shape, but the sides are not so sharply curled.
  • Buckaroo: A buckaroo brimmed cowboy hat has a brim that's pulled slightly down in the front and curled a tiny bit in the back.
  • Rolled: A rolled cowboy hat brim is rolled toward the crown instead of on the sides like the Taco or Half-Taco brim. The unique curl sets this cowboy hat apart from other curled brim hats.
  • Come and Go: The popular Come and Go brim style features edges that are only angled a little, with a very slight curl.
  • Pencil Roll: While the pencil roll cowboy hat has a slight curve similar to the Come and Go or Relaxed Taco, the edge of the pencil rolled cowboy hat is curled at a razor-sharp 90-degree angle for the length of the hat.

Now you're all saddled up and ready to find your perfect crease, brim style, and crown combination. Check out our collection of cowboy or cowgirl hats to find a new hat or a spare. We have options you’ll love for corral work, big-circle, or just a night out on the town! Explore our blog for more ideas for everything from boots to Western wear.