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Cowboy Hats Curling Up: 8 Reasons Behind It

Cowboy Hats Curling Up: 8 Reasons Behind It

In the world of western style, there are many cowboy accessories with special construction. You’ll find cowboy boots that are over 12 inches tall, and you’ll also find cowboy hats with dents on the top.

Overall, when entering this world, you will find interesting and unique experiences that no other place has.

It is common to see cowboy hats that curl up, why is that? Is it the intention of manufacturers or the stylistic nature of the hats? Is there any secret behind that feature?

If you look closely, you will see that the brim of many cowboy hats curls upward. Honestly, not many hats have such construction.

There are many different theories to answer those questions above. Some of the theories are quite interesting and funny.

Today’s article will answer this question for you! Let’s check it out!

Key Takeaways

  • From the earliest days of its appearance, cowboy hats were not made with a curl-up style at all.
  • There are many reasons why cowboy hats curl up, it could be due to the work demand or the habit of using them over time.
  • Today, cowboy hats with raised brims have become a unique and unmistakable feature.

In fact, in the early days, hatters had absolutely no intention of making cowboy hats with such curves. The brim was actually round, very flat and somewhat downward.

The curved brim of cowboy hats is entirely due to the past habits of cowboys. Over time, it becomes a unique and disruptive style.

Today, you can find cowboy hats with the brim curling upward when you visit any stores.

a man wears The Ranchman umber cowboy hat from Tecovas

The Ranchman cowboy hat | Click for more info | Image copyright Tecovas Boot Company | #CommissionEarned

In fact, making the brim of cowboy hats curl up is completely intentional. There are different theories about this, let’s see what they are:

1. Make them more sturdy to block the rain

When the rains come, the wide brim of cowboy hats will have the effect of blocking rainwater. However, under the weight and force of the raindrops, these rims will be bent down, making the shielding area smaller or blocking the view.

A slight roll in the brim of the cowboy hat will make it stronger, and stiffer, thereby better shielding the hat from the rain without bending down.

cowboy hat with rain water

Not to mention, the two sides of the brim curved up also create grooves on the sides for the water to slide on the surface and out of the hat. Therefore, it limits the amount of water sliding down the shoulder and splashing on the face.

With that habit, the brim is gradually curved up. This is the most widely believed theory!

2. The ranchers can sit in the truck without blocking others’ sight

There is a story like this, three cowboys (ranchers) sitting in a pickup truck in a bench seat while wearing cowboy hats.

However, given the width of the brim, the hats either constantly obscured the cowboys’ vision, or they constantly bumped into each other.

people with curved up cowboy hats watching a monster truck racing league

To limit that, these ranchers decided to roll the brim up. Voila, the problem is solved!

This is a pretty fun but well-known theory! Who knows if this is indeed the truth?

3. Avoid them from hindering cowboys from throwing ropes

The Final Spin 2015 US Open Championships

In another development, if you have seen many different movies such as documentaries or Hollywood movies or rodeos about cowboys, you will see many scenes where they throw ropes to control bulls.

Wearing cowboy hats with wide brims can prevent cowboys from throwing the ropes correctly or performing the correct technique. The rope can be bumped into the brim.

To limit that, they decided to bend the brim up!

In addition, there is also a theory that rolling the brim will give cowboys better vision when using the rope to control the animal.

This can also be considered an appropriate hypothesis!

4. Let others recognize the ranchers easier

Culture is made up of many things, including past habits.

Another prediction is that cowboy hats are curved up because, in the past, cowboys wanted their colleagues and other people to easily recognize them.

two ranchers wearing cowboy hats sit on the horsebacks

This is pretty obvious, the brim of many cowboy hats tends to tilt slightly downward and obscures the cowboy’s face. That makes other people don’t recognize them so they have to roll it up.

In the past, cowboys (rancher owners) often lived in a close-knit community or family.

Some of the features on cowboy hats can be a good way for ranchers to recognize each other, and which ranch this person comes from. Maybe it’s the crease at the top of the cowboy hat’s crown, or maybe the cowboy face (so they need to roll the brim up to see the face better).

Or, simply because they want to take some better photos with a clearer face!

In the past, many famous cowboys appeared in the news. In order to get clear pictures, they bent the brim of cowboy hats.

5. Due to the habit of using them

In fact, during heavy and continuous use, the brim of cowboy hats tends to bend down. To prevent that from happening over time, the cowboys bent it up a bit.

Or, some cowboys have a habit of taking off cowboy hats by holding the brim and pulling it up instead of holding the crown, which over time causes them to curl up.

6. Prevent them from being blown away by the wind

Many people believe that cowboys roll the brim up in the hope that they will be less affected by the wind.

Unlike the flat shape, the brim rolled upward has less contact area with the wind, thereby it can avoid being blown away.

a rancher is holding straw cowboy hat

This also makes sense because, on large farms, strong winds are unavoidable!

7. Obscure the opponents from grabbing the cowboys in a fight

In the past, the war for land between ranch and cowboy owners was part of history.

In cowboy fights, it is not a good thing to let the opponent catch them.

Who knows, to keep the opponent from grabbing the hat, the cowboys came up with a way to roll the brim up.

8. For easy to put on and take off them

In fact, most cowboys have a habit of putting on / taking off their hats by grabbing the top of the crown.

man holds a top of cowboy hat in his hand

A brim that is too wide can make it difficult to reach up to the top of the crown to grasp it.

Therefore, cowboys curl up the brim to reduce the area of ​​the hats and make it easier to hold the crown to put on and take off them.

Before you leave

There is no fixed or definite reason for cowboy hats to curl up in the brim. It’s all just guesswork.

Anyway, the curl-up brim is not intentional from the beginning but is made over time. It gradually becomes a culture and a unique feature of cowboy hats.

Nowadays, you won’t necessarily have to do it yourself as many hatters already created delicate curves on the hats.

Do you like cowboy hats with brims curling up? Let us know in the comment!


Saturday 10th of February 2024

In my opinion…the curled up cowboy hat was an invention of early Hollywood. And it spread from there. Look at authentic photos of the west from the late 1800’s.. be careful they are not old Hollywood shots.