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How To Measure Your Head for A Cowboy Hat

Thinking about buying your first Stetson but aren’t sure what hat size you need? You’re in luck, partner—we’re here to teach you a thing or two about how to measure for a cowboy hat, and luckily, it’s much easier than roping a runaway steer.

So rustle up a measuring tape and practice your Eastwood squint, because all it takes is about two minutes to determine your ideal hat size and get yourself ready for whatever life throws your way, be it a business-casual luncheon or a long day of riding fences.

How To Measure for a Cowboy Hat

How to Measure for a Cowboy Hat

Cowboy hats are worn with the brim, or the flat, horizontal part that attaches to the crown, sitting right around the middle of the forehead—not too high and not too low.

Since this is the part of your noggin where the inner band makes contact, this is the part that you’re going to measure. And you’re going to get it done in four simple steps.

Quick note: Sizing up your own head can be a bit awkward, especially if you don’t happen to be near a mirror. It can help to have someone else handle the actual measuring while you stand there fantasizing about how good you’re going to look in your new Cattleman Crease.

  1. Take a fabric measuring tape and place it against your forehead roughly ⅛ inch above the tops of your ears. If you measure yourself, start with the 1″ end in front to make it easier to read your final measurement.
  2. Wind the measuring tape around your head until the loose end overlaps your starting point. Use one finger to hold the ends together.
  3. Make a note of the number you see where the two sections of the measuring tape come together. To make sure your measurement is as precise as possible, round up to the nearest 1/8th inch.
  4. Jot down the number on a piece of paper right away. Doing so will keep you from forgetting it as soon as you put down your measuring aid.

Told you it was easy.

Understanding Cowboy Hat Sizes

Cowboy hats come in standardized sizes, diverse head measurements notwithstanding.

The smallest cowboy hat size will generally start with a band circumference of a certain number of inches, then gradually get larger in 1/8th-inch increments. This incremental sizing system makes it a cinch for any ol’ buckaroo to end up with a hat that fits like a glove (so to speak).

The size progression for the average line of cowboy hats might look something like this:

Size Range



Hat Size

6⅜/6½/6 ⅝

6 ¾/6 ⅞7/7 ⅛7 ¼/7 ⅜7 ½/7 ⅝

7 ¾/7 ⅞

Actual Size (Inches)

20 ¼/20 ⅝/21

21 ½/21 ⅞22 ¼/22 ⅝23/23 ⅜23 ¾/2424 ½/25

If you’re not sure whether a given size will fit you comfortably, go with the next size up. Most hats will mold themselves nicely to your skull as you break them in, but it’s still better to have a hat that’s a smidge too loose than one that’s a smidge too tight.

Cowboy Hat Brim Sizes

The size and shape of the cowboy hat brim can vary depending on the style of the hat and the preferences of the owner.

Generally speaking, though, they’ll be in keeping with the proportions of the crown, meaning you won’t have to worry about measuring for them separately.

Watch the following tutorial to learn how to measure cowboy hat for yourself.

How a Cowboy Hat Should Fit You

How a Cowboy Hat Should Fit You

Your cowboy hat should fit your head well. And how will you know it’s a good fit? It should align with the shape of your head.

The cap should also fit snugly on the back of the head and your brow. If the hat is too tight, it may cause headaches. Again, if it loosely fits, it will keep twirling around or fly off about your head. 

Knowing your exact dimensions will help you quickly find a snug fit. And if you’re not sure it’s a perfect size, check whether you can easily insert a finger between your hat and head.

That’s all there is to it, partner. It’s possible to measure yourself for a cowboy hat quicker than you can say “yippee-ki-yay.”

What To Do if Your Cowboy Hat Size Is In-between?

If your head measures between two cowboy hat sizes, the appropriate action is to size up. Select the hat that is slightly larger to avoid a hat size that will fit tightly on your head.

How To Choose a Cowboy Hat 

How To Choose a Cowboy Hat for You

The first thing you could do to ensure you choose the right cowboy hat for your head is to take your measurements. A fabric tape measure is the most convenient technique for measuring your head. 

When purchasing a cowboy hat, consider its material, your face shape, hat style, crown shape, and height. Plus the amount you’re willing to spend, and the intention of wearing it, including parties or work.

Oval-shaped faces may wear any kind of cowboy hat. A cap with a high crown and a sloping brim is ideal for the round-faced—hats with a medium-height crest suit narrow, long faces.

If you’re square-faced, hats with curving brims and circular crowns are appropriate. Consider a cap with a short brim and a petal-shaped peak if your face is heart-shaped.


Here are some frequently asked questions about cowboy hats. 

What is the average cowboy hat size for a man?

Cowboy hats are unavailable in “Men’s or Women’s sizes.” Because everyone’s skull size differs, deciding on a cap size is impractical. But the most popular female size is 7-1/4, and the male size is 7-3/8.

Is a size 8 cowboy hat big?

Cowboy hats come in different sizes for children to adults. Size 8 is the biggest of all the chart sizes.

Why are cowboy hats shaped that way?

There are several reasons for the shape of cowboy hats. One is that the brim curled upwards on the sides to prevent ropes from getting stuck, and the top became pinched for improved control.

These hats developed from the first Vaqueros, or Mexican Cowboys, who herded cattle while wearing high-crowned, wide-brimmed sombreros. The shape protected laboring cattle ranchers from the intense western heat day long.

The cattleman crease is the most fundamental and traditional crease seen on a cowboy hat. Ranch owners disliked the rodeo cowboy look on their hats, so they created the Cattleman crease.

Can cowboy hats be stretched?

You can stretch a cowboy hat yourself at home. But, taking your hat to a skilled hatter to lengthen it out and enlarge the cap by a full size without distorting its shape is ideal.

The material it is composed of and the type of hat you have will determine the optimal stretch. Organic materials in caps can cause slow shrinkage with time, particularly if washed. Humidity, sweat, and weather play a role in the shrinking of the hat.

Should I get a cowboy hat too big or too small?

You can develop a headache if your cowboy hat is too snug. It will keep twirling on your head or fly off if it is too free.

Cowboy hats should accommodate the natural form of your head. Go ahead and choose a bigger size because  It’s easier to repair a little larger hat than a smaller one.

How are Stetson and cowboy hat sizes different?

Stetson is the traditional Cowboy hat, with a broad flat brim and high rounded crown and a straw, felt, or occasionally leather material.

The modern cowboy hat is essentially similar in terms of design and structure. What has changed is its usefulness and practicality. It is now more of a fashion statement.

What is cowboy hat etiquette?

Cowboy hat etiquette is the handling of the hat by society. For instance, you may hold the brim to remove it. However, etiquette, best practice, and history dictate that you touch the crown when removing the hat.

Once you have an idea what size you need, you’ll be able to find a hat that suits your unique dimensions and ride off victorious into the sunset—looking mighty good while you do it.