It used to be that country music and fashion appealed to one group of people and MTV music and fashion appealed to another - but no longer! In the last few years, fashion trends like
Shapeable Cowboy Hats have spread like wildfire across both worlds - though it's true that country music aficionados have always liked their cowboy hats. The fact is, as country music has gone mainstream, more and more people have taken to wearing country and western fashions and that means more and more people have been looking for C&W fashions like cowboy hats. Shapeable cowboy hats are often at the top of shoppers' lists because they look so great. Demand has consistently been greater than supply, and from Bourbon Street to beach resorts, people of all ages have been hunting for the cowboy hat that is just right for them. Suppliers of cowboy hats were initially caught off-guard by the demand, and struggled to establish what exactly it was their customers were looking for. Soon it became clear that what was needed was a range of affordable designs that a wide clientele would find appealing. The options available at the time - a limited range of hat designs, and often priced higher than shoppers were willing to spring for - were insufficient, but manufacturers stepped up to the plate. Affordable hat designs began to hit the shops and the buying public snapped up the hats all across the country. Retailers were astounded by the popularity of the new hats, and began to talk with suppliers about expanding options even further, placing larger orders to keep from running out of particularly popular styles. The look that proved the most popular involved a rolled brim. Shapeable cowboy hats generally came with wire in the outer brim which meant the hat could reliably hold its shape, as opposed to crushable hats, which are not as easy to shape by hand but are usually pre-rolled at the brim. The shapeable straw hats that manufacturers began to experiment with proved popular with shoppers and soon the methods used to make those shapeable straw hats was applied to distressed cowboy hat styles and made available in a wider range of colors.
The bestselling cowboy hat was a distressed raffia pinch front cowboy hat. This is a lightweight hat that is very easy to wear and comfortable. Raffia is a strong but light kind of straw. Using raffia to make distressed hats - which, like distressed jeans, look well-worn even when brand-new - lent these hats a particular rakish flair that other cowboy hats lacked. Pinch-front hats are shaped at the crown to resemble a man's fedora (a style popular in the 1940s and 1950s). So the distressed raffia pinch front cowboy hat is really a blend of different hat styles that work together to create something really unique and special. It's a rugged look that suits a lot of people. The distressed raffia pinch front cowboy had was just one style, though, that found itself growing in popularity: a plain pinch top, also called a "Cattleman," sold very well. The pinch top is particularly handsome, featuring a tightly rolled brim on the sides and a deep, dramatic sweep at the front and back. The "Cattleman" design appealed to a lot of people and manufacturers responded by making it available in more colors - black and white were the most common, but pink "Cattlemen" were often seen on ladies' heads and of course there was a rush for red "Cattlemen" too. Cowboy hats in almost every imaginable style had their fans: natural straw cowboy hats, crushable cowboy hats, and countless colors were made available to hat-crazy customers. In 2006, hat vendors began to see a slight shift in what their clientele was looking for - a move slightly away from the rugged look, and slightly toward a more polished, fashion-conscious cowboy hat. These hats - which show off their rugged roots but show elegance in the details - have brought a new level of sophistication to the world of cowboy hats and the trend only continues to expand in 2008.
Far from being on the fringes of the American fashion scene, cowboy hats are now center stage and it looks like they'll be there for some time to come. In the world of women's fashion, in particular, cowboy hats seem to be everywhere. Manufacturers are now producing cowboy hats in every color imaginable and from gorgeous materials that you would never have seen just a few years ago: textured velvets, rhinestone band details, sequins and studs, and glowing lurex fabrics are all used now to make cowboy hats and the hats look just great. Innovative styles of cowboy hats mean that everyone can make their own fashion statement. Fashion magazines have taken note of the new style cowboy hats and are showing them in their pages; but a lot of the larger retailers have ignored the trend. Instead, cowboy hats are found by their fans at smaller shops and in unexpected places: college shops, rock concerts, gift shops, and fundraising events. Look toward the summer, when people are always looking for cool and cool-looking hats: make sure that you're ready with snappy and sultry cowboy hats when your customers are ready for them.
Cowboy hats have moved to center stage for headwear in the women's fashion arena with colors and trendy designs. They are being produced in every imaginable fashion color from lime to lavender. Textured fabrics, rhinestone bands, sequin studding, and the sparkle of lurex fabric are just some of the innovations making cowboy hats a hot fashion statement for ladies. These stylish cowboy hats are showing up in fashion magazines and on celebrities. Everything is building for a peak year for the item. With all this hoopla the question arises, will it be the last great year? So far the vigorous demand and under supply has caught the wholesale sector short every year. Major discounters and department stores have practically missed the trend entirely. Today the demand is bigger than ever, but with three years to prepare, 2006 should be the year for supply to catch up with demand. But many manufacturers, importers, and wholesalers may think that it is late to get in the game. Cowboy hats are selling big where they never sold before-colleges, rock concerts, tourist destinations, and organizations. If supply is short in the heat of the summer, we can be sure the trend will go on. Besides the supply factor, there doesn't appear to be any strong item in headwear that can move the good looking cowboy out of pole position. With all of this taken into consideration, the future for shapeable cowboy hats looks very bright. Few hats are as universally flattering or as universally desirable as shapeable cowboy hats. Gift shop owners, hat shop owners, and anyone else who sells hats should look into the styles available now and look toward flocks of happy customers in their future!