Whether for function, fashion, or both, the collection at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art includes works of art that show many different types of headwear that were sported for a variety of reasons.  

Cowboy Hats
Cowboy hats were initially created for function. Typically made of fine beaver, rabbit, or other small mammal hair, they were built to weather the natural elements. John B. Stetson changed the cowboy hat game in 1865 with more practical and stylish designs. The style evolved to cater to the user: a curved up brim to stay out of the way of a rope, and a pinched crown to keep it in place. After the advent of these fresher designs, cowboy hats started to appear in the fashion world and films.

The deep bend in the brim of the left cowboy's hat suggests he regularly uses a lasso.

Wearing a surplus 1876 campaign hat, gathered at the crown in the ‘Montana peak’ style, proved the popularity of this hat that still appears in the uniforms of Highway Patrol Police departments.

These cowboys sport the stereotypical 10-gallon hat — a style dominated by a tall crown, often tamped or pinched in a variety of styles.

Uniform Hats
Hats worn as part of a uniform, particularly military uniforms, are commonly seen in many early American artworks. While they might not always be functional, they can help indicate a soldier’s rank.

Colonel Hamtramck sports a silver bugle cap badge type used by state militias—Virginia in this case. The bugle is facing the wrong way due to the Daguerreotype photograph being a mirror image.

French military styles dominated the uniforms of armies on both sides of the Atlantic. This Mexican officer’s dress cap shows European influence, likely resulting from France's invasion of Mexico during the 1860s.

This particular hat is known as a kepi and was often used as the default military hat for foot troops.

The man wearing the white hat and holding a sword is a German Officer during World War I.

Outdoor Hats
Hats that serve a function when spending time outdoors are depicted in several collection artworks.

The sou’wester to wick away water.

A lightweight hunting cap on the taller boy to protect ears and neck from elements like sun and wind.

A fur hat to keep a rider warm in cold, windy desert conditions.

And here a young boy is wearing a straw hat to protect skin from the sun.

Tri-Corn Hats
In the American colonies of the 1600s, the fashion was for men to remove their hats and place them under their arms when not wearing them. For an easier carry, sides of the hat began to fold in one, two, or three places. Three folds, or “Tri-Corn” hats, were very common in the 1700s. 

Here Benjamin Franklin wears a tri-corn hat upon his arrival to Philadelphia.

This paper hat is being worn as a costume.

Stylish Hats
Hats for fashion are seen time and again on both men and women depicted in the Amon Carter's collection. 

Top hats for men in the late 1880s through the mid-1900s,

Felt bowler caps for men.

Wide brim hats for women.

And cloche hats for women in the early 1900s.

Hats in American Art
Hats worn for fashion, function, or both are commonly depicted in American art. As seen in this exhibt, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art has many examples that show people wearing hats for a variety of occasions.
Credits: Story

Produced by Peggy Sell, Interpretation Manager with assistance from Maggie Adler, Assistant Curator at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art

All artworks from the collection of the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas.


Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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