Learn a Bit About Hat Fit
Buying my first cowboy hat was surprisingly nerve-wracking. It felt like a big purchase, and I really wanted to love it. But I knew I needed to love more than the look of it—I needed to love how it felt on my head, too. It was time to get serious about sizing!
Cowboy hats need to be snug, so they stay on, but not too tight. Measure your head using a soft tape measure, or string, around the middle of your forehead for the best fit. Always check each hat maker’s size chart, as sizing varies by company.
A cowboy hat’s style is different from its size. Your size stays the same, but the style of hat you wear can change.
How Sizing Works for Cowboy Hats
Cowboy hats have a hard job, needing to stay in place through all the rigmarole of a cowboy’s daily chores. Because of this, a cowboy hat should be snug, but not tight (you don’t want to be saddled with a killer headache while working cattle).
With custom hat makers, the measurements of all parts of the hat can be customized, but if you’re buying your first hat, getting the right head size is most important.
Anatomy of a Hat
Cowboy hats have 6 main parts.
- Brim – The brim can be cut down depending on your preference
- Hatband – This translates to your hat size (head circumference)
- Crease – This is how the crown is shaped, which can affect fit
- Crown – The height of the crown can be customized and affects fit
- Dent – Another name for the crease
- Roll – How the brim is styled; does not affect fit but does affect apperance
Sizes Across Brands
Cowboy hat sizes don’t just vary from one brand to another, but sometimes between different lines of hats by the same manufacturer! Always check the provided size chart before ordering.
Sizing vs. Shapes
Cowboy hats come in different sizes (based on the circumference of your head) and different styles (including differences in brim size, rolls, headbands, creases, and dents). Cowboy hats can be as different as the people who wear them.
Some hat brands, like Greeley Hat Works, take into account the shape of your head, not just the circumference.
How to Measure for a Cowboy Hat
Use a soft tape measure (or tailor’s tape) or a piece of string. Wrap the tape or string around the middle of your forehead and just above the tip of your ears and your eyebrows. The tape/string should be firm, but not tight. Use the size chart on your chosen website to figure out your size.
You can have someone help you do this, or go to a Western store that sells and shapes cowboy hat—they’ll be happy to help you find the right size!
If you’re in between sizes, order up. You can always add a touch of padding to the sweatband for the best fit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What size cowboy hat is 22 inches?
While the exact size will vary based on the company you choose, 22 inches is generally a medium.
Q: What is the circumference of a Size 7 cowboy hat?
It’ll be around 22 inches (give or take an eighth of an inch) depending on the brand.
Q: What size cowboy hat is 21 ½ inches?
21 ½ is usually a small, or a 6 ¾.
Q: Should a cowboy hat fit tight or snug?
Always sung! If the hat feels tight, it’s a size too small.
Q: How do you calculate hat size?
Most brands offer a conversion chart, like this one: Stetson Fit Guide
Q: Does cowboy hat color matter?
Short answer? Not really, provided you stick to a neutral palette (black, gray, brown, tan, beige). It’s more about getting the right style. You can check out our full guide here. If you’re shopping for a hat for a specific equestrian event, consider consulting a rulebook to be 100% certain.
With that cowboy hat sitting snugly on your head, you’re ready to look the part in all-day comfort!
P.S. Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:
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- Wear History, Make History: The Iconic Cowboy Hat
- Unwritten Rules: Cowboy Hat Customs
- Cowboy Hats: Creases, Crowns, Shapes, and Styles
- Safe or sorry: how often to replace horseback riding helmets
- 12 Best Cowboy Boot Brands You Won’t Regret