Cowboy hats are more than head wear - they epitomize the rugged outdoor life of the cowpunchers of early American history. As protective wear, the hats had to be as rough and tough as the life the cowboys led, exposed to the elements for days and weeks together. Leather and animal skins were the material of choice for hats because other materials were hard to come by in those days. Leather cowboy hats retain the flavor of the Wild West and have become a fashion accessory today. They are versatile enough to provide protection from sun and rain, heat and cold, and do duty as dress head wear for formal and informal occasions. They are durable and comfortable, making them suitable for everyday wear.
The choice of leather as a material for a cowboy hat was no accident. It was chosen because of its superior durability and resistance to harsh weather conditions. At the same time it was comfortable for the wearer. A cowboy hat made of leather took the shape of the wearer's head. Though the leather cowboy hat blocked the wind, the cold and the heat from affecting the wearer's head, it could breathe and this kept the wearer comfortable in the summer. On top of all that, it looked dashing and very masculine! This is the reason it became so popular. You can get a leather cowboy hat in any color from off white to black to match your clothes, your complexion or your hair.
Felt and straw cowboy hats are very popular but leather cowboy hats have a charisma all their own. This puts them above the other varieties of cowboy hats. Leather cowboy hats are the choice and pick of the elite, the celebrities who set the trends for today's fashion.
Straw cowboy hats can't be worn in the rain and snow, and strong sunlight (and its heat) can penetrate the straw fibers. As a result, straw cowboy hats are not a good choice for inclement weather conditions. The other popular choice in cowboy hats, felt hats, do give good protection from all but the extremist weather conditions. Felt cowboy hats lack the natural feel of leather. They give the wearer the impression that he's wearing a cardboard hat on his head! They have a propensity to get deformed, and if the deformation is excessive, felt cowboy hats crack and break. Leather cowboy hats weather well, age well and wear well. They provide reliable protection from all climes and require little or no care and maintenance. Thus, they are well worth their price, even considering they're quite a bit more expensive than the other varieties.
Maintenance is a very critical issue for cowboy hats. The wearer does not have the convenience of taking time off to clean and care for his hat. A leather cowboy hat is virtually maintenance-free. You just shake the dust off whenever you put it on or take it off. When the grime begins to show, you just have to wipe it off with a soft moist cloth. If you happen to have access to a good quality leather cleaning solution, all the better. In case your leather cowboy hat gets drenched, you just let it sit in the shade, out of the breeze, and dry out naturally. But that's about all the maintenance a leather cowboy hat requires.
A poor quality leather cleaning solution will ruin your leather cowboy hat because it destroys the natural oils in the leather of your cowboy hat. You can always ask around at a store which handles high quality leather apparel for a good quality leather cleaning solution. A good quality leather cleaning solution preserves the natural oils in your leather cowboy hat, thus prolonging its service life.
In case the leather cowboy hat gets badly soiled or if you just don't have the time or inclination to clean the leather cowboy hat, or you are worried that you may spoil the leather cowboy hat, you can check the leather cleaning services offered by many large stores which deal in high quality leather fashion wear. If you are not going to use the hat for a long time, it is best that you store the leather cowboy hat away in a cool place, away from direct sunlight so that it does not fade.
Though the high price of a leather cowboy hat, compared to the price of a straw cowboy hat or even a felt cowboy hat, puts it out of the reach of many, it should not put you off if you consider the great value for money that you're getting. If you want to wear something eye catching, wear a leather cowboy hat - you can't miss!
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