When To Wear Straw And Felt Cowboy Hats

Cowboy hats are a timeless fashion trend that have held a strong presence in the markets for decades. Coming in two materials that are often compared against each other when it comes to cowboy hats; Straw and Felt, knowing which one to choose for specific occasions can be tricky. With careful consideration, one can make an informed decision on the most practical cowboy hat for their needs.

Straw cowboy hats are ideal for summery, outdoor activities due to their lightweight design and breathability. With a natural finish, this type of cowboy hat is often sought by those looking to make a subtle style statement in casual settings. The straw structure of cowboy hats provides greater airflow, making them a great range of choices for fishing, camping and even music festivals.

Popularized by western movies and modern country music, Felt cowboy hats are usually crafted from animal fur. Compared to Straw cowboy hats, Felt varieties are known for being more versatile and can even include details such as bands, feathers, and other accessories that draw attention to the final design. Supple to the touch and with more durability, Felt cowboy hats are ideal for wintery conditions and slightly more official settings compared to their Straw counterparts.

Due to their weight and composition, Felt cowboy hats stand up better to slight rain than Straw cowboy hats do; which makes them a great choice for winter or autumnal days in the outdoors. In terms of hats for special occasions, like weddings and birthdays, Felt cowboy hats provide a level of style, sophistication and tradition for a timeless fashion look.

When it comes to affordability, Straw cowboy hats usually fare cheaper than Felt styles. This makes them a great go-to option for people on a budget or simply looking for a casual version of the fashion piece. Durability isn’t a strong point when it comes to Straw cowboy hats, as they are more prone to breakage than Felt models. However, compared to cloth or fabric cowboy hats, Straw cowboy hats tend to reach higher price points and provide a higher level of quality.

Care for the Cowboy Hats

Taking care of both Felt and Straw cowboy hats is important to make sure they last. Hand washing the hats with a mild soap is a more durable option for Straw cowboy hats as it minimizes damage as compared to machine-washing, which is not recommended. As for Felt cowboy hats, it is recommended to only spot clean them by rubbing in a circular motion with a damp cloth.

In terms of drying Cowboy hats, both Straw and Felt varieties benefit from air drying or by using a hairdryer on a low temperature setting. However, never set driers, flat irons, or any other heat sources to Cowboy hats, as this could cause irreparable damage.

Airing out Cowboy hats is also a great way to take care of them, as it helps to kill off bacteria or mildew and helps eliminate any odors. Airing out makes the hat last longer overall, with proper storage inside a hat box or rack.


In conclusion, when deciding when to wear Straw or Felt Cowboy hats, it is important to consider the situation at hand and the conditions of the day, as well as the level of sophistication desired. Practically speaking, Straw Cowboy hats are a great choice for occasions that require a lightweight hat that takes into account its breathability. On the other hand, Felt Cowboy hats are the better option for colder weather days and slightly more sophisticated settings. Always take into account the care and maintenance of said Cowboy hats in order to make sure they last for longer periods of time.

Shape and Design Considerations

Aside from the material considerations of Straw and Felt Cowboy hats, another aspect worth taking into account is the shape and design. Designers have taken the classic Cowboy hat and added subtle changes to it that make the hat eminently more modern. Common notes to be taken into account include brim width and overall shape, with bolder and wider brims being more modern, while the smaller, more traditional versions are a bit more classic.

Shape is also integral when it comes to Cowboy hats, between the Open Crown (or Teardrop variant), regular Crown and Gus Crown models. Open Crown is one of the more traditional options, while the Regular Crown one is slightly variation of the Open Crown. Meanwhile, the Gus Crown version of the Cowboy hat is one of the most popular; it is characterized by its double-dipped design.

One must always bear in mind to choose the proper shape and design of their Cowboy hats to make sure they achieve the look they wish for, no matter the case.

Materials and Creativity

The last element to consider with Cowboy hats is the materials used for making them. This varies on a case-by-case basis but using the right material for each Cowboy hat can add an extra special touch to any look. Be it leather elements, feathers, metal bands or fun wording, the Cowboy hat market has been creatively expanding for some time with no signs of slowing down.

In terms of materials, Straw Cowboy hats will often include raffia and other natural varietals that offer a distinctly organic look to the hat. However, Felt Cowboy hats can also include these materials as well as faux leather, and faux fur to add a new level of texture and quality to the hat.

Keeping the creativity factor aside, materials play an important role when it comes to Cowboy hats, as they directly influence its longevity and the comfort levels of the wearer.

Functional Benefits

Aside from being a timeless fashion piece and a great addition to anyone’s wardrobe, Cowboy hats offer various practical benefits. Being able to provide some degree of protection against the rain and sun, Cowboy hats provide a practical everyday use apart from their stylish connotations.

Straw Cowboy hats often provide a better protection due to the straw material allowing one to stay quite dry even in light rains. On top of that, the brim of the Cowboy hat allows one to protect their eyes and face from the sun’s rays. Felt Cowboy hats provide a similar benefit, but due to the slightly more compact design their area of coverage tends to be a bit smaller than the Straw varieties.

In terms of head protection, Cowboy hats come in handy during several circumstances, like when doing outdoor activities or attending music festivals. Apart from protecting the head from rain and sun, Cowboy hats are a great way to enhance the look of anyone’s wardrobe.

Unit Costs and Durability

Unit costs and durability are two elements that cannot be overlooked when talking about Cowboy hats. Unit costs basically refer to the overall cost-to-quality ratio, which is a very important consideration when opting for either Straw or Felt Cowboy hats.

Straw Cowboy hats are usually cheaper and offer a lower cost-to-quality ratio due to being lightweight and not as durable as Felt cowboy hats. Felt Cowboy hats often carry a higher price tag, yet they often last much longer in terms of retaining their original shape and design.

Which Cowboy hat to opt for highly depends on the wearer’s needs and preferences. Straw Cowboy hats are perfect for casual settings and outdoor activities, while Felt Cowboy hats are a great option for colder weather settings and slightly more formal occasions.

Modern Cowboy Hats

In terms of modern Cowboy hats, the current market is saturated with designers taking the classic form and amplifying its features and details to create something new. Aside from subtle changes to the design, materials also play an important role in the modern Cowboy hats market, with the introduction of mixed-media Cowboy hats that are constructed with different fabrics, textures and types of material.

Designers are changing the status quo of classic Cowboy hats by creating more daring and eye-catching pieces combined with intricate details. New colors and prints have taken over the modern Cowboy hat space, allowing anyone to choose a headpiece that truly reflects their personality, style and fashion taste.

Cowboy hats are also often part of high-fashion runway shows, with Pieces by top designers like Gucci, Hollister and Ralph Lauren taking center stage. This has also aided in making Cowboy hats a popular choice for special occasions and events. It also helped solidify Cowboy hats as a timeless fashion item.

Roy Burchard

Roy S. Burchard is an experienced hat enthusiast and writer who has been writing about hats for over 20 years. He has a deep understanding of the history and styles of hats, and his writing focuses on the unique features of each type of hat, from fedoras to top hats.

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