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Cowboy Hats – Never count out cowboy hats. They return as a leading hat category every summer-fashion colors for cowgirls and rugged straws and distressed toyo for cowboys.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

Filed under Cowboy Hats, Uncategorized
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Perhaps nothing did more to popularize cowboy hats than the Western movies and TV shows of the fifties.  Kids had their favorite cowboy and knew his horse’s name and what kind of cowboy hat he wore.  With no computer games to play, imagination became more important.  Kids loved to play cowboys and Indians.

 

Retailers were too sharp to let this demand escape them.  There were no malls or internet, so the Sears catalog became the shopping tool that reached every part of rural America and cowboy outfits were part of the kids section.  You could buy a Roy Rogers outfit with everything from hat to holster. These kids grew up thinking that cowboy hats were always a part of the Wild West.

 

Actually, what we consider a cowboy hats today didn’t exist before 1865 when John B. Stetson created The Boss of the Plains, a felt cowboy hat with a high rounded crown.  This Stetson sold for $5 originally and the company based in Philadelphia produced over 2 million hats a year by the early 1900s.

 

Soon cowboys wanted to express their own individuality by adding creases to the high rounded crown.  This turned into a study of its own and the cowboy hat business developed a litany of creases, each with its own name.  Here are a few:

cowboy hat with cattleman crease

  • Cattleman Crease: This crease went from the front of the crown to the back with indentions on each side. The cattleman cowboy hats is a dressy look seen on the TV series Dallas.

 

 

 

teardrop indention

  • Teardrop Indention:  The shape has the rounded crown pushed down and then a teardrop shape pushing back up making more room for the head and leaving a trough around the teardrop.

 

 

 

 

pinch front cowboy hat

  • Pinch Front:  Usually accompanying a teardrop indention, the hat comes to somewhat of a point at the top of the crown with pinch indentions on each side. An Indiana Jones type shape

 

 

 

cowboy hat with Gus crease

  • Gus Crease:  Often called Montana Peak before the TV mini-series Lonesome Dove.  Captain Gus in the series wore this hat.  It is a ten gallon with a crease sloping down the front.

 

 

 

gambler with telescope crease

  • Telescope Indention:  The indention usually seen on gambler hats.  The oval crown rises at a slight angle inward.  The top is pushed down and then back up (sometimes referred to as a C indention) making more room for the head.  This leaves a sharp ridge around the top of the oval crown.

 

 

Serious western hat fans know the creases and those that have custom hats made request the crease they want.  But most cowboy hat fans today don’t know what they call them, but know what they like.  In addition to the creases, many cowboy hats are shapeable and this provides even more opportunity to give the headwear personality.

vibrant color cowboy hats

The cowboy hat continues to evolve. This is the second year that vibrant colors in cowgirl hats are trending up–colors like vibrant yellow, hot pink, and orange or pumpkin.

 

Also palm straws made in Mexico are bringing the authentic Western look to cowboy hats, many with high crowns or wide brims.   These style don’t have the wired brims that make shaping easy, but they have an authentic look expected at rodeos, horse shows, or country music halls in Texas.

palm straw cowboy hat

If you visit a Western store, you are sure to see the palm straw cowboy hats with a firm body like the one shown.  Theses are serious cowboy hats for trail rides and rodeos.

 

 

But if your location is selling cowboy hats to wear to the beach or working outdoors, the toyo and straw hats dominate this market.  New arrivals include eye-catching pinch front cowboy hats in all the popular colors.  You not only get handsome shape and plenty of color choices , but also a low wholesale price that makes retailing easy.

 

If you feel these styles don’t fit your customer, browse the rest of the hats in the cowboy hat category.  There are around 70 styles to pick from.  Cowboy hats deserve some representation in your headwear selection because this is an American icon in hats.  I am sure it will never go away.

Comments (0) Posted by Michael Gietl on Friday, June 28th, 2013

Filed under Casual Hats, Cowboy Hats, Dress Hats, Hats
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 Straw hats can be very practical protection from the sun.  We covered that aspect in the last blog.  But straw hats can also be very fashionable and that is where we are going next. 

RAFFIA

Raffia is durable straw with a great deal of flexibility.  It doesn’t dry and crack to the extent that Moroccan straw does and it creates headwear with quite a range from cowboy hats to high fashion boutique headwear.  The straw, originating in Madagascar, is lightweight and has a natural light brown color.   A favorite material in cowboy hats, raffia holds up in the weather and can achieve different looks from a coarse, thicker construction to lighter weaved designs that usually have wired brims that enables shaping. 

The raffia cowboy hats are often distressed with coloration that creates a well-worn look.  Prices of raffia cowboy hats from China saw a sharp increase this year, which resulted in many retailers turning to lindu straws or palm straw cowboy hats for economical western headwear. 

Raffia is also a player in high fashion straws for boutique headwear.  Both wide brims and kettles are popular in this category, but if we have to say one hat style is dominating the trends this summer, it would be widebrims. 

WHEAT STRAW

Wheat straw hats can have a wide range of price points.  The straw, which has a very light color, almost looks bleached.  Fifteen years ago, these hats discounters offered these hats in their millinery displays, but wheat straw hats have gained a lot of respect since then. 

The straw is first weaved and then continuously sewn to create the hat—a process called sewn-and-braid or sewn-and-weave.  One reason for the elevation of respect in these hats is the older generation that weaved the straw is disappearing and nobody wants to take the job today, so there is a shortage of weaved straw. 

Actually if we look back to the heyday of headwear, we will see Milan straws are made this way.  Milan straw used a fine weave sewn in narrow bands.  This could require three times as much straw as a wider weave in making the same hat.  Some high fashion hats on our site use this fine weave and wholesale in the high twenties. 

One customer called and asked if this is wholesale.  How can this straw hat be $27.00?  I showed her a similar hat tht was $8.00, but used the wider straw weave and explained all the extra weaving and sewing required to create the fine straw look that high-end boutiques want.  Unless customers will pay over $50.00 for an extraordinary straw hat, shops need to stay with the wider weaves that are far less expensive.  Either way, these straw hats are harder to get today and will no doubt continue to go up in price. 

POLYPROPYLENE

Speaking of Milan straws, polypropylene is mainly used to achieve the look today.  Yes, this is a synthetic and not a natural straw, but the material has been identified with dress hats all the way back to the 1950s and probably before. 

The hats have firm body and a close sewn-and-weave construction that comes in endless shapes for church hats or special event headwear.  The color range is fabulous so matching suits or dresses is easy.  Polypropylene hats are as popular today as they were decades ago, showing up at the royal wedding and other major events for dress hats like the Kentucky Derby. 

SINAMAY

 

Dress hats in sinamay have certainly taken center stage.  They are a favorite of Queen Elizabeth, making them a favorite of Britain and a huge influence on millinery everywhere.  Royal wedding watchers saw plenty of sinamay hats. 

Sinamay can be natural or synthetic.  The natural sinamay is spun from fibers of a banana tree called abaca’.  Originally, sinamay was material for making rope, but today uses include fabric, carpets, bags, and other handcrafts. 

Sinamay hats have mushroomed in popularity in the last few years, used mainly for dress hats suitable formal events and church wear.  The color range is wonderful and the stiffened fabric can create stunning shapes from conservative smaller brim hats to lavish widebrims that angle or roll down. 

Straw hats is one of the main internet searches for headwear in the summer, but straw hats can cover quite a range as this blog and the previous one show.  For the shopkeeper, straw hats can be a key item for summer inventory, so analyze your customer base and stock the hats that most appropriate for your clientele.  For many shops headwear is a very big plus in the summer months.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Filed under Casual Hats, Cowboy Hats, Hats, Uncategorized
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 The search for straw hats really spikes in the summer months.  Google’s keyword tool shows searches jump to a whopping 60,000+ per month this time of year.  The results served up for straw hats are all over the board because there are so many different kinds of straws.  So let’s sort them out.

First straw hats can be for fishing, gardening, farming, or working outdoor.  They can also be for the beach, vacationing, fashion, teas, or garden parties.  The uses are wide ranging and so are the hats and straw materials that fit the bill.

LINDU STRAW HATS

This blog will cover practical straw hats used for work and sun protection and the next will review straw hats from a fashion angle.  The workhorse in the practical category is lindu straw. This rugged straw holds up in the weather and has a tinsel strength that makes it semi-shapeable with out breaking. 

Information is scarce on lindu straw.  There s a city in China called Lindu and a forest in Indonesia.  Either one could be the source for the name.  When we say these hats are the workhorse of straw headwear, it is not an overstatement.  Lindu straws provide traditional gardening hats with round crowns and wide brims, as well as safaris, lifeguards, and gamblers—the practical hats that provide sun protection without worrying about fashion. 

Lindu straw is charting new territory this year because of the price escalation of raffia and toyo.  Lindu is becoming an affordable medium for cowboy hats.  Shaping and distressing the straw results in attractive designs for western hats that remain affordable as the price of raffia moves up. 

MAIZE HATS

Corn is over $7.00 a bushel so farmers are happy and nothing is going to waste thanks to maize and corn stock hats that deliver a straw in a bleached white appearance.  These hats withstand the elements with a durable construction and differ from most other straws with a rather coarse texture and bleached white color.   Popular shapes are fedoras and wide brims. 

MOROCCAN STRAW

Popular for cowboy hats, Moroccan straw is coarse with firm body that can still be shaped.  The straw can dry and crack more easily than raffia, but it has a rugged look and feel that customers love. 

BAMBOO

The most common use for bamboo is lifeguard hats or the conical hats seen in the Orient.  The bamboo is split and fairly stiff, creating very durable headwear that can take the elements.  Lifeguard hats often use bamboo for the body that can take a beating outdoors while it protects from the wearer from the sun with its wide brims that angle down.  Usually the hats have a high crown sometimes with a cattleman crease and others that are a pinch front style. 

PALM STRAW

Palm straw hats, usually made in Mexico, can run the gamut in quality and price.  The number of strands of braid per inch determines the quality with lower number of strands providing economically priced hats.  Cowboy hats most commonly use palm straw and high number of strands can have the fine weaved look of a Panama straw. 

The wider look in weaved straw provides the economical cowboy hats that are capturing a larger percentage of the market, picking up some of the business that is shying away from hats made in China because of escalating prices.  Together with lindu straws, these two materials are mushrooming in popularity because the raffia straws and toyo hats from China have jumped in price this year. 

Palm straw hats have a stiffer body and are semi-shapeable.  Some designs are distressed with a staining process that often uses coco.  Others have a singed pattern that delivers a handsome hat.  Economical palm hats are answering the need for cowboy hats that look good at inexpensive prices. 

SEAGRASS

Seagrass is a material with a history in hat making.  Actually, there are several species used to make hats referred to as seagrass, but the most common is a marsh grass that habitats the shallow waters in areas of China. 

Perhaps the most familiar seagrass hat is the golfer in twisted seagrass that is lacquered and provides an open weave.  Because of the openings, they often have an underbrim to protect from the sun.  Lacquering delivers a firm body that retains its shape and helps the hats survive a light rain.  Women’s hats often use crocheted seagrass, but the headwear has a flimsy body.  The color is a dark sage green or brown, which distinguishes it from most straws. 

Next blog continues the survey of straws used in headwear, concentrating on more fashionable designs.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

Filed under Casual Hats, Cowboy Hats, Hats
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 Memorial Day is drawing near and that marks the official opening of summer sales and the vacation season.  Festivals are in full swing as well as church picnics, baseball, auto racing, and so many other outdoor events.  With all of this fun going on outdoors, one thing retailers can count on is hats selling to provide relief from the sun. 

FEDORAS

 

Each season sees some innovations in headwear and this season is no exception.  Let’s begin with fedoras.  Both stingy brim fedoras like Frank Sinatra wore and the fifties fedoras like our dads and granddads wore are the “in” thing.  Yes, celebrities have been showing up in magazines wearing fedoras for the last couple of years, but now the look has caught on in a big way and popularity is mushrooming. 

 

Vendors retailing at festivals are gobbling up fedoras, especially straw fedoras.  You might wonder how much sun protection can you get with a stingy brim fedora?  It makes no difference.  Musicians are wearing them, celebrities are wearing them, and this has a big impact on especially the younger shoppers. 

The favorite fedoras for festivals and casual wear in the sun are straws.  For the most part, they are inexpensive—wholesaling between $2.50 and $5.50.  This gives vendors room to make money and still offer the hats at prices anyone attending festivals is comfortable with. 

But evenings out call for a different fedora.  The range of designs has really expanded with the popularity growth of these hats.  New designs include prints covered with clear sequins that add shine.  Floral prints and animal prints are a big hit here.  Speaking of sequins, the sparkle hats that have been around a few years are on top again—this time in fedoras.  These are great for the gals, but what about the guys?

Solid colors and pinstripes are popular for guys, and don’t forget the Bear Bryant look with houndstooth patterns.  Also the straws mentioned earlier are unisex hats that appeal to guys and gals alike. 

COWBOY HATS

 

Still leading in popularity, cowboy hats seem timeless especially in the summer heat when straw western hats peak as a favorite in sultry weather.  A major change this season is the introduction of more cowboy hats made in Mexico.  China has dominated the cowboy hat business the last several seasons, but several factors are influencing price, making the Mexican hats far more affordable. 

Actually, most products from China are seeing significant price increases.  Economist Magazine reports factory wages have increased 69% from 2005 to 2010.  Wage growth is expected to continue by 17% per year until 2015.  Add to that higher cost of materials, transportation, and an unfavorable currency exchange and the result is major changes in the cowboy hat business. 

Raffia straw and toyo hats are slowing because of higher prices and lindu straw with western hat shapes and distressed coloring are filling the void along with Mexican hats already mentioned.  Still, cowboy hats are a major player in the summer headwear business and something that needs to be in your hat selection for customers involved in outdoor activities. 

WIDE BRIM HATS

The wide brim hat continues to grow in popularity, with each summer season drawn to ever widening brims.  This summer seven inch brims are not uncommon.  The super widebrims with a sassy bounce are definitely high fashion.  This year a 7 inch ribbon hat is grabbing attention because this headwear delivers the fashionable look in material that is crushable and packable, so easy to travel with your customers on vacation. 

Continuously sewn wide bands of grosgrain ribbon create the hat that has wonderful color options for the season.  Two-tone white and black are new and quickly rising to the number one color choice. 

What’s the most popular wide brim hat?  Our style number, HTC677.  The hat has a crocheted look with a 4 inch brim and a choice of excellent fashion colors.  But what attracts retailers more than anything else is the low wholesale price of $5.75.  Everything from festivals to a day shopping or going to the beach is an opportunity for this headwear to shine. 

Include these wholesale widebrim hats in your millinery selection for an economy model.  Believe me! They sell!  From there add a range of wide brim hats all the way up to 7 inch brims and you have an irresistible headwear selection that will make money this summer.  Hats are steadily growing in popularity and retailers know that we need everything that sells to boost the summer months.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Filed under Casual Hats, Cowboy Hats, Hats
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The March issue of Accessories Magazine has just come out with the annual census, reporting accessory sales by category for 2010.  Coverage of hats extols the new generation of shoppers that have once again lifted headwear to a leading fashion accessories category.   Accessories Magazine reports “Dollar sales jumped 13% last year, pushing the category up even from the 14% increase in 2009”.  The lions’ share of sales went to specialty stores that had 36% of total sales, swamping every other category of outlets for hat sales.  The magazine predicts further increase in hat sales for 2011, so what are the styles we should be considering?

TRENDY HATS

Teen stores accounted for a large percentage of sales in the specialty market and teen love trendy looks that celebrities promote.  In trendy headwear, the fedora is king.  The popularity of fedoras increases with the arrival of each new season and now we enter the spring season where straw fedoras will definitely be a sensation.  Especially distressed straw fedoras offer a rustic look that is also durable.  Weaved lindu straw fedoras come distressed with a rigid construction that holds up in weather.  Other styles use natural straw with vented crowns and are slightly more flexible. 

 

Go through the casual hat category and you will find fedoras in a wide variety of materials as well as many colors.  Fedoras in houndstooth, plaids, solid colors in microfiber, and faux leather are a sampling of the designs available.  Fedoras appeal to guys and gals alike and the main market is teens and twenties that are influenced by celebrity styles. 

WIDE BRIM HATS

Wide brim hats take the trophy for fashionable looks in headwear.  Ralph Lauren introduced super wide brims in spring fashion shows a few seasons ago and the style has continued to grow each season since.  This year 7 inch brims are turning heads with their fabulous look that is perfect for derby day.  This suave style of headwear is also outstanding for outdoor teas, luncheons, weddings, and garden parties.  A similar widebrim hat with 6 inch brims offers the look with less bounce. 

 

Casual widebrims use sewn-and-braid toyo or ribbon hats while dressy hats have 5 ½ inch brims in polypropylene that delivers a Milan straw look.  The dressy hat is covered in Part I and can be trimmed. 

COWBOY HATS

Cowboy hats are an American icon that seems to be timeless.  In the past decade, most were made in China and this season may cause some sticker shock because of rising prices in Chinese goods.  The reason for the increase in prices is raising cost of materials, labor, energy, and increases due to the exchange of the dollar rate. 

Nevertheless, many cowboy hats had only slight increases and the addition of some hats made in Mexico offer another low cost option.  Cowboy hats will always be a player in the hat business, but for the last decade, cowboy hats have been a leading category in casual hats.  The boom started with J-Lo and Brittany Spears appearing in roll-up straw cowboy hats.  That started a rage in the headwear that has never died. 

The well-worn look of distressed straw in roll-ups with pinch front shape leads the cowboy hat category year after year—especially if the cowboy hats are shapeable.   This provides a look of rugged individualism and shaping lets shoppers suit their personality.  The look returns again this year.  New designs in raffia have the advantage of a more flexible straw that is often crushable, but the cost of raffia has really seen an impact with rising prices. 

To avoid sticker shock, wholesalers introduce other weaved straws like lindu.  The shape and distressed coloration.are right to grab customer’s attention.  These straws have great durability, able to withstand the weather.  Beyond straws, there are plenty of cowboy hats to fit all kinds of needs as well as personalities. 

Colors are back in 2011 with white and black being most popular.  Most hats with color are toyo because the material dyes easily.  Toyo is actually a paper product, spun into yarn, and resin coated.  Late last summer saw the introduction of two new styles of toyo cowboy hats with an open weave in natural, white, and black colors.  One style has a tightly rolled brim and the other is a modified pinch front.  Both are very affordably priced. 

Accessories Magazine reports solid gains in hat sales.  This is happening quietly with many retailers missing the boat.  Take advantage of demand outstripping supply and include some wholesale hats in your accessory mix to pick up summer sales.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Friday, March 18th, 2011

Filed under Cowboy Hats
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Wholesale cowboy hats pick up steam every summer, but some wonder if fashion has passed this American icon by.  Not hardly!  Statistics still have wholesale cowboy hats leading all headwear categories for the summer. 

 

Think about this.  Major brands spend mega bucks on Fifth Avenue advertising agencies to promote their products.  The advertising agencies know what’s cool and they’re showing lots of models in this sassy headwear because it makes a statement.  What other hat can deliver the individualism and attitude of a cowboy hat? 

 distressed cowboy hats

The main cowboy hats to pay attention to this summer are distressed straws with rolled brims.  No doubt this headwear gives instant personality to a look.  Raffia is the first choice in straw because it’s light weight and flexible.  Distressing gives the well–worn look like people want in faded jeans.  Beaded bands are gaining in strength this summer and the favorite style is a pinch front. 

 

 

straw cowboy hats

Natural straws are a close second in cowboy hats.  The word “country” carries some emotional impact that people love and natural straws puts the emotion into a look.  These cowboy hats suit a lot of personalities with all the styles available.  Rolled brims, frayed brims, pinch front, or cattleman shape with pinch top-any way you do these cowboy hats they scream with rugged individualism and personality. 

 

 

cowboy hats with color

Next cowboy hats in colors give a real edge to retailers because competition is probably short here.  Sales reports on wholesale hats shipping show black and white lead the colors.  Next in popularity are pink and red.  Ladies that love their red hats find the youthful look of red pinch front cowboy hats irresistible.  Women of any age can find fashion colors in these hats that include turquoise, lime, and fuchsia.  Colors are great for groups also like cheerleaders or dance groups. 

 

cowgirl hats with roses

Cowgirls can also find unique styles to fit their personalities–fashion colors that fade from dark to light, rose appliqués, and sparkly cowboy hats with sequin studding.  Imagine these on a dance group, cheerleading squad, or girls out for a bachelorette party. 

 

 

urban cowboy hat

Then there are the unique cowboy hats that deliver the urban cowboy look or ruggedness of leather cowboy hats. 

 

Summer is the time for this American icon and nothing –no nothing– can deliver this kind of personality to an outfit.  Even outside the country retailers are buying and selling wholesale cowboy hats because of the rugged Wild West spirit they romantically inspire.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Friday, June 27th, 2008

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Many fashion reporters wrote an early obituary on cowboy hats this year and 2007 retail results came out showing cowboy hats the worst performer in headwear for department stores.  We disagreed with this doom and gloom and stated in our spring hat trend report that sales figures at the end of the summer would show cowboy hats the number one seller.   

 

Well Memorial Day weekend is arriving marking the unofficial start of the summer season and cowboy hats are moving into the fast lane.   Celebrities are still looking their coolest in straw roll-ups and the look hasn’t escaped the fashion magazines.  The annual return of summer vacations mean youth camps, beaches, festivals, and outdoor concerts-all the right stuff for this flattering headwear.  Put it together and wholesale cowboy hats see a sudden increase in orders shipping. 

 

What cowboy hats are retailers buying?  Number one this season are distressed straw cowboy hats withwholesale distressed cowboy hat shapeable brims.  Pinch front hats seem to outsell pinch top hats (cattlemen), but both are very good.  Natural straws are just behind the well-worn look of distressed and raffia is the favorite straw material. 

 

 

 

Cowboy hats with color are next and black and white lead here, followed by pink and red.  Again pinch front colored cowboy hatshats are the favorite and most are shapeable to get that cool rolled brim look. 

 

 

 

 

The season sees lots of new introductions such as the cowgirl hat with rose appliqués shown.  Cowboy hatscowboy hat with rose appliques provide character and variety helps customers fit their personality.  Search through the wholesale cowboy hats and you will find everything from the rugged men’s hats to cute styles for gals. 

 

 

Last season department stores found out cowboy hats weren’t their item and that’s good news for small retailers as the market for western headwear returns to them.  After all, small retailers have owned this business for years.  The same year that department store sales lagged, wholesale cowboy hats lead all categories in quantity shipped to small and mid-sized shops for us.  We expect a repeat this season so get ready for all those outdoor events by stocking this icon of American headwear which seems to have timeless appeal.

Comments (0) Posted by admin on Friday, May 23rd, 2008