How to Wear A Cowboy Hat & Boots Properly (Etiquette)

The best way to properly wear a cowboy hat is outside with boots, and during the day. When you go indoors and sit, take it off and put it down on the crown (not the brim). This prevents it from becoming flattened or misshapen over time. So, never put your hat on without boots and follow the right etiquette. Lets dive a little deeper!

Whether heading to a country concert, a day at the rodeo or just running errands, a cowboy hat can be the perfect finishing touch to your look. However, if you’re new to wearing one, it can be tricky to style it properly.

Okay, now I’ll further discuss everything you need to know about choosing the right hat, styling tips and tricks and wearing it confidently.

1. Choose the right size and type

The first step is choosing the right size and type. With so many different types and styles of cowboy hats available, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. Some popular ones include:

  • the classic, wide-brimmed
  • the modern rodeo hat
  • the casual cattleman

Each style has its unique look and feel, so it’s important to consider the shape of your face and the overall look you’re going for when choosing your hat.

The classic, wide-brimmed hat is the most traditional style and is often associated with the iconic image of the cowboy. It’s a great choice for those who want a classic, timeless look.

On the other hand, the rodeo hat is a more modern style often seen at rodeo events and country music concerts. It’s perfect for those who want a more contemporary look.

Lastly, the cattleman hat is a more casual style often seen by ranchers and farmers. It’s perfect for those who want a more laid-back look.

Shape of your face

Also consider the shape of your face. A wide-brimmed hat can help balance out a round face, while a more fitted hat can help elongate a longer face.

A classic, wide-brimmed hat is perfect for a more traditional, western-inspired look, while a more modern rodeo hat is perfect for a more contemporary look.

2. Position it the right way

The hat should sit low on your forehead, with the brim slightly tilted. This will help to accentuate your features and give you a more confident, put-together look.

It’s also important to ensure that your hat is not too tight or loose, as an ill-fitting hat can be uncomfortable and unflattering.

Man and woman with cowboy hats looking at each other

Boots, styling & outfit

It’s important to note that it’s necessary to wear cowboy boots with your cowboy hat. Make sure they are of good quality and in good condition, as a well-maintained pair of boots will complement the overall look.

Regarding styling, it’s important to avoid over-accessorizing with a cowboy hat. The hat itself should be the statement piece of your outfit, so keep the rest of your accessories simple and let the hat do the talking.

Pair your hat with classic, western-inspired clothing such as denim, leather boots, and a plaid shirt for a timeless, effortless look.

If you’re unsure about what to wear, a simple denim and white t-shirt combination is a great starting point. It’s a classic, timeless look that you can dress up or down depending on the occasion.

3. Wearing with long or short hair

The length of your hair has an influence on how to best wear your hat. Let’s first discuss long hair and follow up with short hair.

Long hair

Wearing a cowboy hat can be tricky if you have long hair. However, you can easily rock this look with a few simple tips and tricks.

Firstly, you’ll want to ensure that your hair is neatly tied back or braided. This will help keep your hair out of your face and ensure that the hat sits comfortably on your head. Consider tucking it up into the hat for a more streamlined look if you have long hair.

Another option is to add a hair accessory, like a bandana or a hair tie, to keep your hair in place and add a touch of western flair to your outfit.

You can even experiment with different hairstyles, such as a half-up, half-down style, or a top knot, to see what works best with your hat.

Lastly, when it comes to styling, remember to keep the overall look simple and let the hat be the statement piece. Again, avoid over-accessorizing when you have long hair, as it may all become too busy and overwhelming.

Short hair

Short hair can be a different experience than wearing it with long hair. However, that doesn’t mean pulling off a great look is impossible.

If you have short hair, ensure that your hair is styled and groomed to your liking before you put it on. Short hair can sometimes look messy or unkempt under a cowboy hat, so take a few minutes to ensure your hair looks its best.

You can also experiment with different angles and positions. Try tilting the hat forward or backward or adjusting the position of the brim.

Since you don’t have the option of tucking your hair up into the hat, you’ll need to find the best way to make the hat sit comfortably on your head.

Extra tips & tricks

Here are more tips and tricks can help you look your best.

  • A good way to ensure the perfect fit is to measure the circumference of your head just above your ears and eyebrows. This will give you a good idea of what size of hat you need and help you avoid discomfort or ill-fitting issues.
  • It can also help protect you from sun rays during outdoor activities. The wide brim provides excellent sun protection for the face, ears, and neck. This makes it a great accessory for outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, or gardening.
  • If you’re not used to wearing a cowboy hat, it may take some time to get used to the feeling. Be patient and give yourself time to adjust to the hat. It may feel a bit strange at first, but with time and practice, you’ll find that it becomes a natural and comfortable part of your look.
  • It’s also helpful to practice different ways of tilting or to adjust it to find a comfortable and flattering angle.
  • Another tip is to take good care of it, clean it regularly, and store it properly when not in use. This will help maintain it’s shape and longevity and ensure that it always looks its best when you wear it.

Follow these tips and enjoy the benefits of this traditional American hat for years to come!


Wearing a cowboy hat with boots properly is a great way to add some rugged style to your wardrobe. Whether you have long or short hair, there are many ways to wear them that will look great and feel comfortable.

By following my tips and tricks outlined, you’ll be able to choose the right hat, find the perfect fit, and style it in a way that flatters your face and overall look.

It’s important to remember that it’s all about confidence and attitude, so don’t be afraid to experiment and try new things.

With the right hat, fit, and styling, you’ll be a pro at wearing one in no time. So go ahead, try it, and add a rugged style to your wardrobe today.

My name is Brandon J. Nava, and I consider myself an expert on the cowboy lifestyle. I regularly attend events at the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) am I am a member of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) and Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA). I've participated in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo or the Pendleton Round-Up and I aspire to be awarded by the American Horse Council or the United States Equestrian Federation in the near future. In addition I've visited lectures and educational programs at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.