Elements of a Cowboy Hat

Apr 13th 2020

Elements of a Cowboy Hat

Crown shape, brim types, dimples and more. The style of a cowboy hat is just about as varied as the kinds of cowboys and cowgirls out there these days and there's a style that can fit anyone or any kind of work. The names and differences, however, can get a little overwhelming. What style is what? How do you choose?

The very basic components of a cowboy hat can be broken down into three simple parts, the crown (top), brim (that shades the eye) and hat band (a piece of fabric or design on the lower part of the top of the hat). Different elements of these three things create and distinguish different cowboy hats from one another.

We have some great tips and pointers for what general elements of style can be found in the most popular choices.

The Basics

Crown – The crown of a cowboy hat is at the very top of the head. Crowns 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 out of your eyes and the elements of rain and snow from them as well. They also come in various shapes and sizes.

Crease – A crease is a dip, or the 'dent' along the front, sides, back, or all three areas of the crown of a cowboy hat. Some cowboy hats come with no crease; some have three.

Pinch – Shapes of creases are referred to as a pinch. Some square-shaped creases have a sharp, obvious pinch. Hats like our Stetson Diamond Jim have a distinct pinch.

Elements of Cowboy Hat Styles


The Biggs hat, or Biggs crease is a modified version of the cattleman crown with the crease being smaller, up high on the crown of the hat 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 main element to a brick cowboy hat is the shape of its crown. These hats feature a rectangular shaped crown ranging from a very distinct pinch that follows the shape of a rectangle perfectly, or, like in our Resistol Hooey Holden Straw hat, have a more rounded, softer brick shape.


The hat worn by the King, George Strait, a cattleman's hat combines brim shape and generally consists of a crown crease, or dimple that dips inward along the middle of the crown with two rounded pinches and two dents on the crown both left and right. These dents are said to make it easier for a cowgirl to grasp her hat and take it off or put it on. The brim of a Cattleman cowboy hat tends to be curled up on each side. The Resistol City Limits is the picture perfect George Strait hat or if you are Yellowstone fan and John Dutton, Kaycee Dutton or Rip Wheeler is more your style check out the Greeley Hat Works Ranch Worn Collection of hats.


The derby or the bowler hat can easily be recognized by a much shorter brim than the various other styles of cowboy hats. But the most singular aspect that makes a Derby hat is its undented perfectly round crown. The top usually has little to no creases or shaping which contributed to its moniker of bowler hat.


The gambler cowboy hat sports an oval crown and a brim with only a slight upturn along the brim. Another nickname for a Gambler hat is "planter's hat," and seen as a status of wealth compared to a regular cowboy hat. The crease on the crown of a Gambler hat encircles the outer ring of the oval crease near perfectly and tends to be easier to note when looking at the top of the crown. Commonly, Gambler cowboy hats don't have any dents. A great example of a typical and authentic gambler hat would be our Resistol Gambler straw cowboy hat.

Gus or The Montana Crease

Back in the old, Wild West, many different regions enjoyed their own unique style of cowboy hat, 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. That's the reason for its name. It's also known as the Gus. The Montana crease cowboy hat features a high crown with a crease in the middle of the crown and two to the right and left.

Pinched Front

At first glance, a Pinched Front, or Pinch Front cowboy hat could be mistaken for a Cattleman. The difference, of course, is that the front of the crown (the top of the cowboy hat that faces front) is shaped more like the pointed end of a teardrop. The dents on either side of a Pinched front will also be moved closer to the front instead of directly left and right.

Telescope Crease

The Telescope Crease is another case of similar-at-first glance with the shape of a Gambler Cowboy hat. Take a closer look at the crown of a Telescope Crease cowboy hat compared to a Gambler and you'll note the Telescope has a dent at the very top circling the entire crown along the edges. Instead of the Gambler's crown being flat and even with the crease, Telescope Creases will be slightly dented inward instead of even.

Tom Mix

Named after the iconic 1920s and 30s Hollywood star, Tom Mix, this hat was the ultimate in style and statement. The crown of a Tom Mix hat is generally taller and larger than your every-day cowboy hat with crease at the top much like the pinched front. Tom Mix hats are easy to pick out from the rest, not just from its taller tapering pinched crown but by the original style to the brim. The entire brim gently slopes upward from both sides and the back, while the front of the brim dips lower. The very outer edges of the brim curl sharply upward all the way around. The Tom Mix is a statement hat made to be seen.

The cowboy hat is truly an iconic hat, able to express where a cowboy comes from, what she or he does for a living and a statement of style you simply can't miss. All of the elements of a cowboy hat are what makes it such an icon form the past and one for the future. Each crown, crease, dimple, dent or brim whether it be classic or modern are all significant in what makes any cowboy hat instantly recognizable.