Cowboy hats may or may not be a staple in your wardrobe, but in either case, you shouldn’t compromise quality! With so many variations in color, material, brims, and crowns, the selection can seem overwhelming. Although there aren’t technically gender-specific hats (unlike the fit of blouses or jeans), hats can be accessorized to appear gender-specific. A great quality hat with high performance will be the same on a man or a woman. With multiple fit options and the ability to custom-shape to head sizes, “male vs female” isn’t a factor. In any scenario, we’ve found some of the top cowboy hats for women below.
What to Look for in a Cowboy Hat for Women
As mentioned above, fit can typically be customized through steaming. Once a hat is finished being shaped, you can place it on your head while still slightly malleable for a custom and perfect fit. However, the actual hat circumference and size need to be correct from the beginning. Most hats have leather sweatbands that can be “stuffed” to decrease gapping, but this is not their original purpose. A hat should be snug enough to stay in place in wind or with riding but should be comfortable enough for all-day wear. It shouldn’t leave major marks on your forehead either way. Ensuring a proper fit from the start is important, as the circumference is not adjustable, unlike a ball cap. Women do tend to have more petite heads, but the shape is not as important as hats mold to your head.
Read more about How To Wear A Cowboy Hat
Quality makes all the difference in cowboy hats. Unless you’re wearing it for a costume on Halloween, your money is better spent on a quality hat made to last and endure the test of time. Fur felt hats are the most common, typically made from beaver of rabbit (sometimes a combination). Fur material ratio is indicated with an “X”. Traditionally, hats range from a 1X to a 10X rating. Below 5X implies a poorer grade made with minimal or no beaver fur, whereas a 10X is 100% beaver fur hat. Now, the X system is subjective and varies by brand. This is why you will see hats marketed as 30X or even 100X. In straw hats, X’s are used to determine the width of straw reed used and how tight the weave is. Higher quality straw hats, like the felts, will have a higher X rating.
The shape is a very subjective topic, especially for women. Many women prefer custom-shaped hats over standard measurements or current popular styles. Some hats can be purchased with a standard shape, others will require you to provide measurements and information so it may be shaped to your specifications. In other cases, you may buy a completely uncreased and unshaped crown to steam yourself or take to a retailer.
Although the cutter and show creases still seem to be the most popular choices among cowgirls, it is an entirely personal preference. If you are unsure of what you want, most brands will provide a list of available creases or have pre-creased hats. As a rule of thumb, it is recommended the crease begins on the outer corner of your eyes for the most flattering fit. This style is said to flatter most head and face shapes, without overwhelming the jawline or appear to be squeezing in any area.
Bargains are great, and sales are even better. But when shopping for a cowboy hat, economy brands will likely disappoint you over time. Quality cowgirl hats do come at a price, but a nice hat will last year years (if not a lifetime). As hats endure regular wear and tear, a quality hat can be cleaned time and time again. Felt hats can be reshaped and “brought back to life” if standard care measures are taken. Economical felt hats can be found in the $40-$50 range, but most hats offering any sort of quality will likely start around the $100 price range. However, other materials are significantly easier on the pocketbook.
To get the most of your hat, a “hat can” (hat storage container) can be purchased. The etiquette of never placing a hat upright on the brim actually increases the lifespan of the delicate brim area and helps the hat retain shape over time. Sweat and moisture can warp or shrink the leather sweatband on the interior. If it becomes sweaty, the band can be pulled outwards to appropriately dry when the hat is placed upside down on a flat surface. Hat sponges and brushes (specifically for felt hats) are also a good investment to have on hand when you purchase your new hat.
If you’re looking for the cute taco-style spring breaker hat, this list probably isn’t for you. But if you’re ready to take the plunge for a quality cowgirl hat, check out our top felt, straw, and palm leaf picks below!
Top Picks For Cowboy Hats For Women
NRS is known for its quality tack and handy ranch supplies, but their hats are extreme quality at a reasonable price. Although far from economical, this 10X hat goes down to a 6 3/4 hat size, petite enough for most women. It features a long oval fit so many heads require, a flattering 4.5″ brim, open crown, and silver buckle closure. If you prefer a different crease, you can even custom order it. These hats are made in the US in Texas.
- Petite sizes for women
- Custom creases available
- Moderate brim size
Available in 1/8 increment sizes, Stetson delivers a high-quality 6X construction hat in jet black with a petite and flattering 4.25″ brim. This fur felt hat uses a cattleman crease crown and features a silver-toned buckle hand band on the outside. It is made in the USA and has a leather interior sweatband. This is a high-quality hat at a reasonable cost and can be used for many years if well maintained. Stetson is known for its rich dark hats retaining their true color even with frequent wear.
- Multiple sizes down to 6 3/4
- Petite and flattering brim
- Moderate price for high quality
- Pre-creased, no custom option
Rodeo King is a US-made horseman favorite. This 7X beaver hat is ideal for ladies with smaller faces and features a 4″ rodeo brim. This model has a pinch crown, leather sweatband, and a petite matching hatband. The cream color is a must-have for any western wear lover, and can be worn daily or for formal events and gatherings.
- Reasonably priced
- High quality
- 4” petite brim
- Pre-creased only
- Sizes only down to 6 7/8
Although available in multiple crease options, this Stetson 100X Griffin hat features a 4.25″ brim. It is part of their Premier Collection and showcases an exterior tooled leather hatband and an internal tooled leather sweatband. It is comfortable and breathable, appropriate for both occasion-wear and day to day use. This model uses a Cattleman crease crown.
- Durable and high quality
- Suitable for multiple occasions
- Tooling detail
- Limited sizes
Custom crease available on this US-made Rodeo King straw hat! It’s a 24K style and features a leather sweatband, simplistic tie-on hatband, and 5″ brim for ultimate sun protection. The open patterned crown design is highly ventilated, making this a great choice for warm weather.
- Moderately priced
- Superior quality
- Custom creases available
- Best suited for casual use
This is our top pick for straw hats! Resistol is a continuous leader in cowboy hats, and this Cut Bank 20X design is no different. It’s a regular oval fit style, featuring a 4 1/8″ crown height and 4.5″ brim. Its cut work allows ventilation for summer months and still utilizes a 4-dip lacquer process. The brim has a heavy wire for high durability and shape retention.
- Reasonably priced
- Flattering standard style
- Wire brim
- One crease style
Palm leaf cowboy hats are growing in popularity. They boast a much lighter price tag, do not require steaming to shape, and are surprisingly durable. This Ariat hat features a leather sweatband and a 2-cord chocolate exterior hatband. The crown measures 4 3/4″ with a 4″ brim.
- Standard flattering fit
- Easily shaped
- One crease style available
- The smallest size is 6 7/8
Known for quality economical hats, this Atwood 4X palm cowboy hat features a petite and low crown with a standard crease. Its 4X design is a dark palm with a black exterior black hat ribbon and offers excellent sun protection.
- Maintains shape
- Only one crease style
- Not a life-long hat
Honorable Mention: Resistol Ride Safe Helmet
Resistol Ride Safe Cowboy Hat Helmet Although not your typical cowboy hat, we had to include this headgear! For equestrians wanting the traditional look of a felt or straw cowboy hat, Resistol has created a cutting-edge design with safety in mind. It also features an adjustable dial-fit on the back.
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