Last Updated on November 14, 2020
Crowns, brims, creases, oh my! What are the shapes of a cowboy hat? Although all cowboy hats feature common characteristics, the shape and detailing greatly differ. This is one the most important factors when purchasing a pre-creased hat, or determining what custom crease option you would prefer it in. Not only are the brim styles available in a variety of options, but the top crown pieces also utilize a multitude of styles, pinches, and creases.
Cowboy Hat Shapes- Made for You or Made for Style?
Some popular hat creases, such as the wide bull-rider brim, are popular as-is. This means the actual style and overall appearance take precedence over a custom-fitted option tailor-made to flatter your face and head shape.
Determining the purpose of your hat will help determine the cowboy hat shape best suited for you. Are you a trail rider looking for some extra sun coverage? Or maybe a ranch hand day-working cattle from sun up to sun down! These shapes would be greatly different than the styles worn for western halter or showmanship classes. Our favorite styles are well suited for equine endeavors as well as day-to-day wear in order to get the most use out of your investment. For this all-around purpose, custom creases or standard creases with a Cattleman crown seem to be the most popular option.
Types Of Cowboy Hats: Pre-Creased vs Unshaped
Cowboy hats can be purchased pre-creased or completely unshaped. Although most customers will opt for the standard crease, it is nice to pick the “perfect” hat and have the crease applied to match your face. However, you may have a wider face and prefer the front crease to start at a wider point than what is available in stock designs. Or perhaps you want the standard crease, but prefer a brick-style crown. Pre-creased hats are a nice option to hold shape and ease the buying process, but many riders and wester wear enthusiasts prefer to shape their own hats.
Cowboy Hat Shape Variations
Shapes may have different names depending on geographic location, independent retailers, or even brand. For this reason, bringing a photo of what you want is always recommended when shaping a hat! Not sure what you want? Check out some of these styles below for some inspiration.
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Open – The open crease is not a crease at all. It refers to an unshaped hat ready for your custom crown shaping. This is a blank canvas for you!
Cattleman – The Cattleman is the most standard crown crease. It features a slight pinch and is the oldest crease on cowboy hats. It was distinctly different for ranchers wanting a different look from rodeo cowboys. The cattleman is taller and narrower, usually with a 4”-5” crown. It has a single crease down the center with two creases along the side, and the larger crown was used during high winds so ranchers could pull hats further down on their heads. It is considered the “Gentleman’s Choice” crease.
Gus – The Gus hat is actually a variation of the Cattleman. Although it uses the same traditional crease work, the crown’s front is pinched for an Australian outback style.
Brick – The Brick crease is also another popular option. The brick is a simple rectangle shape, almost as if a brick were used to create the crease. This a sharp look and great for helping balance out narrow heads.
Briggs – The Biggs crease is a popular choice among both riders and “occasion” wearers. It is similar to a hybrid between the traditional Cattleman and Brick style.
Telescope – The Telescope crease was derived from “Charros” immigrating from Mexico and South America. This design uses a very low crown to cover the head and is accompanied by a wide brim for sun protection. It’s also referred to as a Gambler’s Hat.
Other popular crown options include the CHL, Teardrop, UN, Quarter Horse, Show Crease, and Minnick.
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Brim shapes have the most variation in terms of verbiage. For our purposes, we won’t use brand or retailer-specific terms. The brim can be split into two categories of creasing: shape and front.
Front shapes include:
- Square (the most common)
- Wide (known as a Bull Rider’s)
- Extra Wide
The brim shapes can be defined as:
- Flat (unshaped/uncreased)
- Taco variations (half, relaxed, or standard)
- Come and Go
- Pencil Roll
For a brim reference guide, check out this image here. NRS is a leader in American-made cowboy hats and western attire. You can view their crease designations here. Regardless of the style brim and crown you choose, putting them on quality and well-fitted hat will ensure you look your absolute best.
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Equestrian, Marine Corps vet, and Morgan horse enthusiast.