The cowboy hat is recognized around the world as an integral part of "cowboy" lore and truly is the defining item of clothing amongst all western wear. In the early days, it was primarily valued for it's function with the wide brim protecting working cowboys from the sun and rain. It was very versatile and could also be used to signal others, fan a campfire, swat a horse or pull water out of a stream. Today, while still very functional, many people wear them as part of the general western lifestyle.
There are many different styles from many manufacturers, the most famous of which is the Stetson. John Batterson Stetson was a New Jersey man, born into a hat making family but ultimately moved to the west. He developed a reputation for durable, quality hats with the manufacturing of the Ten-Gallon hat in 1865. Now there are many quality manufacturers of hats including Resistol, Bailey and others. Beyond the mass-market hatters, are also the custom hatters that can build to order and create one-of-a-kind hats fitted exactly to the owner.
This site is broken out into several main sections:
Buying a cowboy hat: The basics of what you need to know when buying a new hat.
Cowboy hat care: How to take care of the hat once you you get it home
Wearing and etiquette: How to wear the hat in public
Videos: A compilation of many great cowboy hat videos I've run across
Cowboy hat FAQ's: A collection of questions I've been asked over the years