Stetson is the classic brand for cowboy hats. Founded in 1865, the company specialized in high-end headgear for the frontier, including the wildly popular Boss Of the Plains model. The original Boss Of the Plains design (above) with its narrow brim looks a little dorky these days, like a hat that would be worn by an Amish farmer. With a wider brim it looks very cool, like a dashing version of the traditional gaucho hat
In the movie Tombstone Kurt Russell’s Wyatt Earp (above) wears a modified Boss Of the Plains with a wider brim.
Stetson hats are particularly associated with Texas because of the Open Road model, favored by Lyndon Johnson (above) and Texas law enforcement agencies. One of the Dallas policeman escorting Lee Harvey Oswald when he was assassinated was wearing a Stetson Open Road.
The narrow-brimmed Open Road became popular in the 1940s, probably because it seemed more modern than traditional cowboy hats, a bit closer to the conventional fedora.
Resistol hats, however, are the real Texas cowboy hats — because they’ve always been made in Texas, beginning with the founding of the company in 1927. When I first spent some extended time in Texas in the 1980s, the straw Resistol was ubiquitous — if not worn at least parked in the back of almost every Cadillac and pick-up.
The standard model, the Cattleman Oval (above), is iconic. Stetson makes a version, The Alamo, which is indistinguishable from it, but for my money, only the Resistol is mainstream Texas headgear.
Resistol calls the Cattleman Oval “a simple classic that easily transitions from farm work to a night on the town”. That’s the definition of a real Texas hat.