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Tips for Buying and Enjoying a Cowboy Hat
Look cool in your cowboy hat

What is the right way to wear a cowboy hat?  At Gone Country we get asked that question all the time. A cowboy hat should fit about 1-2 fingers above the eyebrows and 1-2 fingers above the ears.  It should be nearly parallel to the ground, not tilted back on your head.  It should be just tight enough to fit comfortably and snugly and not slip around. On the other hand, if you are all about attitude, wear that hat any way you choose.

NEVER let someone convince you to buy a hat too tight

When you are shopping for a hat if it feels too tight, go for the next larger size. NEVER let someone convince you to buy a hat too tight.  There is such a thing as hat stretching but it is not permanent and you will not be happy with it. Any western hat that is too tight will eventually give you a headache. It’s so easy to tighten your hat with sizing tape there is no reason to compromise on the size.

What makes a cowboy hat right for a man or woman?

Traditional cowboy hats, also called structured hats are always appropriate for either guys or girls. Fashion hats are unisex in structure too but often have more color or fancier trim which may make them appeal more to a man or woman. The key is to be sure the size and shape of the brim match the width of your eyes and shoulders and the shape of your face. These are actual Gone Country customers in the hats they bought at our events

Often men and women can wear the same hat

See for yourself how well men and women can wear the same hat. If you need help figuring out what cowboy hat will be good for you, snap a selfie and email it to us. We can make a recommendation based on your stature and face shape. 

Best color cowboy hat for blondes?

We looked through all the pictures we have taken of Gone Country Hats customers over the last few years and here’s what we found. A majority of blondes bought a tan hat with a hint of yellow in it. Next in popularity was a dark brown, and black was last by far. We don’t really know why. It’s true that black can look kind of hard on some blondes, but it also might just be that we don’t have a lot of black hats for women. It’s all a matter of taste anyway and blonde goes with everything. We found blondes who rocked every color cowboy hats so you decide.

Shape your cowboy hat easily

Almost all hats are shapeable but some need steam to do it. Gone Country hats are easy to change to suit your taste or stature.  Many Gone Country cowboy hats have wire in the brim for easy shaping.  Cowboy hats will traditionally have a flatter, wider brim and western style fashion hats will have a smaller brim and a tighter curl. When you are following the directions here, remember this. You are SHAPING THE WIRE, NOT CREASING THE STRAW.

Put the hat in front of you with the back close to your belly. Put your hands on the wired edge of the hat with your fingers underneath and thumbs on top. See how Keith’s thumbs are on the wire, not the straw. Roll your hands forward and inward gently to bend the wire. Then gently walk your hands back while curling your wrist inward. Most people prefer the front to be narrower, then the hat should get wider as you go back. You can tweak the wire to get the shape you want.

If you want it dipped down in front and back, then take your hands back to the front and place them in the same position. But instead of curling your wrist inward, curl it forward and down gently. Do a little bit at a time. If you crunch the hat too hard you could break the material. Then turn the hat around and put your hands in the position again with your thumbs on top and your hands underneath. Curl your wrists in and down gently to dip the back.

It's all about proportion

When changing a cowboy hat’s shape, keep in mind that hats should be in proportion to the shape and size of your face, the width of your eyes and the width of your shoulders. Generally, the front should be curled in so that the break (the straight distance between the curled sides) is about as wide as your eyes. In the picture above, you can clearly see where the sides begin to curl up. If your face is narrow, make that straight area narrower. If you have trouble with this, put on your hat, snap a selfie and email it to [email protected] along with your phone number. We can what’s app or skype with you to walk you through it.

Palm leaf hats as shown in the picture are nearly indestructible, but the paint on hats such as the Brad can separate if you curl too hard, so be gentle. The styles with the large open weave are less flexible at the crease and you don’t want to ruin your hat. So don’t ever crunch the fabric of the hat. Do all the shaping using the wire.

How to store a cowboy hat

Any western hat will keep its shape and look good for years if you store it properly.

Keep the front, back and underside of your cowboy hat from resting on a surface any way you can. On way is to use the cone that your hat is packed on for shipping Another  way is to roll a large towel or sweatshirt into a ball. Stuff this inside the hat leaving enough underneath that the hat sits all the way up off the shelf. This keeps the pressure off the brim and will keep the hat brim from flattening out. 

You can use your cowboy boots as a hat holder.

Yes, or if your hat has a firm crown, you can turn it upside down and store it on its top.

But NEVER leave your cowboy hat on the dashboard of your truck. The heat and humidity can cause irreparable damage.

How to store a cowboy hat

Any western hat will keep its shape and look good for years if you store it properly.

Keep the front, back and underside of your cowboy hat from resting on a surface any way you can.One way is to roll a large towel or sweatshirt into a ball. Stuff this inside the hat leaving enough underneath that the hat sits all the way up off the shelf. This keeps the pressure off the brim and will keep the hat brim from flattening out.

You can use your cowboy boots as a hat holder.

Yes, or if your hat has a firm crown, you can turn it upside down and store it on its top.

But NEVER leave your cowboy hat on the dashboard of your truck. The heat and humidity can cause irreparable damage.

What if a cowboy hat gets wet?

How wet are we talkin’ here? All Gone Country palm straw hats can get wet. They will soften, but when they dry they will be good as new. It’s easy to re-shape the brim, but don’t let the crown get crushed.

If the brim gets out of shape in the process of getting wet, re-shape it and make sure it is very dry before you store it so it won’t mildew. And don’t set it on a flat surface to dry. See How To Store Your Cowboy Hat. The Backroads, Smokin and the Kenny are good river hats. They will withstand a float down the river as long as they don’t sink and get lost. 

Wool felt hats will be okay if they get wet, but not soaked. Same with our nante and faux felt cowboy hats. They shed rain, but don’t swim in them or wear them when you know it’s going to be stormy. You don’t want to soak them..           

Does a 10 gallon hat really hold that much water?

Have you ever wondered why a cowboy hat is called a 10 gallon hat when it is obvious that the hat will not hold 10 gallons of water?  Well, it’s because 10 gallon NEVER really referred to the holding capacity of the crown.  Some say it came from a Mexican word, “galleon”, that has to do with the brim size, not the depth of the crown.  Others say it comes from the Spanish “tan galan” which translates to “very handsome”, referring to how striking the hat-wearing men looked on their horses. So, if someone refers to your hat as 10 gallon, it’s a compliment.

Even though the lining of the hat was waterproofed, the maximum a hat could hold would be a few quarts – maybe a half gallon.  A real cowboy would have had to dip several times to get 10 gallons of water.

We have styles, like our Brad, that hold water because they are coated with a water-resistant lacquer before being painted. Even if you don’t want to dip water, you may want a hat that will not be ruined if it gets wet.  Palm straws such as Jason, Smokin and more hold their shape when wet so you can wear them in the rain or floating down the river and not worry about them being ruined.

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