Why are cowboy hats so popular? – French Morning US

Would Clint Eastwood’s piercing blue eyes and John Wayne’s build have become legendary without their famous Stetson hats? These wide-brimmed felt hats are recognized today as America’s most iconic hats. The legend of this clothing accessory popularized at the beginning of the 19th century has gone far beyond the farmers of the American West and the actors of Hollywood western films. If they are often reduced to the cliché of the cowboy and equated, wrongly, with a nostalgic period of the American West, cowboy hats are not at all taken lightly by a large part of the country, of which about fifteen States use them in their daily life. Why are cowboy hats so legendary in America? This is the silly question of the week.

Not so American origins

The hat was not born in the American West. Historians have agreed to estimate the origin of the hat in Spain, at the time of the invasions of the Mongol horsemen in the 13th century. The crown did not look exactly like the hat worn today, but the idea was already there: a high crown and wide brims to protect against the sun.

Yet it was the Americans who popularized the cowboy hat as we know it today. The iconic product became famous in 1865, thanks to hatter John B. Stetson who, after a trip to the Wild West, decides to create a hat with flat brims and a high crown, in order to protect farmers from bad weather. the “Boss of tea Plain » was born from a simple idea: to help farmers fight the harshness of the West.

Tres ” cool ” to be a cowboy

Whether they are nicknamed Diamond, horse shoesWhere quarter horsehats all have one thing in common: they are worn by all American social classes, from the farmer to the banker. This hat is with you all the time, by your side. It is the American symbol par excellence, of work and humility »says Keith MundeePresident of the American Hat Company, based in Bowie, Texas. The company founded in Houston in 1915 manufactures nearly 175,000 hats a year, including the very popular 40x, made from 40% of beaver hair.

Since the launch of the series Yellowstone »Keith Mundee has seen a surge in requests for more than 50% compared to 2020.It’s a cycle. Right now it’s very popular and cool to be a cowboy, thanks to this series. In the 1970s, the film “ Urban Cowboy also attracted the general public. »

America’s values

So Hollywood wins the Palme d’Or for popularizing cowboy hats? Not only. According to Keith Mundee, Americans are indeed attached to the values ​​carried by this hat. Wide open spaces, poetry, music… The picture of cowboy is dear to that which the Americans have of their country. In my opinion, it’s not the boots, or the clothes, or the belt that make me a cowboy, it’s the hat “, assures this Texan who admits to owning twenty felt hats, one for each important event in his life. You buy a hat for your grandchildren, for a wedding, to keep it close to you. It is also a symbol of work, humility and adventures, and wearing a hat comes with responsibilities: keeping your door open, being polite and staying humble… Values ​​dear to Americans ».

It is also a way to bring Americans closer to this culture that is sometimes distant for certain parts of the United States. When I go to New York, I always meet interesting people and people come to talk to me, because they are sensitive and curious about what the hat represents and the values ​​that go with it. You don’t have to live in the Wild West to love it! » senthusiasm Keith Mundee.

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Why are cowboy hats so popular? – French Morning US