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Saturday, January 13, 2018

Traveling Cowboys: Trying Out New Hat Styles at Calgary's Only Custom Hat Manufacturer, Smithbilt Hats

It's a Fedora

Some people will call just about anything with a brim and a fixed crown a “fedora”. For the purist, a fedora is a felt hat with pinched sides and a lengthwise crease down the crown. It gives the front a familiar wedge-like shape.

One of the big advantages of a fedora and one of the reasons for the style's popularity is the wide flexible brim. Fedora brims are flat with no constructed edge or curl. The brim can be bent up or down as the wearer pleases.

The crown and the brim can both be moulded to the wearer’s taste. It means one can extract a lot of personality from these hats. The shape of the hat always communicates personality. So does the way it is worn. For example, it can be tilted down over the eyes which gives a mysterious "I mean business" look. It can be angled slightly upward for a more open and approachable form.


We love wearing out Cowboy hats. Brian Hanson from Smithbilt Hats shaped them for us and over the years it's become a part of who we are and a key element of our brand.

There are many practical reasons for wearing a hat and we don't need fashion to convince us to do it. We wear hats because without it we're not dressed properly. It enhances our personality, keep the sun out of our eyes and it means business.

Enhancing personalities with hats is something Smithbilt has done for almost a hundred years. They've done it for many, many celebrities and visitors alike to Canada's largest western city. We are glad to be counted among them and glad that we can support one of the last hat makers in our country.

There's a saying that goes, "Never touch a Cowboy's hat". We are quite happy with ours, so don't even try touching or interfering with the way we look. However, Brian invited us to find out more about some of the other, more contemporary, styles of hats manufactured and shaped by this iconic company. We were introduced to the Baby Grizzly and the iconic Fedora.

If you want to see more of the "newer" style hats we recommend a visit in person to their new more contemporary building. If you cannot make it in person, check out their hat collection and accessories in their recently launched online store.


We wear hats and we encourage more people to do so. Remember, that when you wear a hat there is an etiquette.

For example, it used to be polite to take your hat off when entering a building, but the loss of hat-check girls (what an era!) and hat racks means this is no longer a rule. No one wants to put a hat that costs hundreds of dollars on a seat a greasy countertop or hold it in your hands trying to go about their business.

Take your hat off when eating. A real cowboy still takes it off in the presence of a lady, or in church. Tip your hat to a gentleman the first time you meet him and to a lady every time you greet her. Tipping your hat to a man thereafter becomes "weird". For a lady, it continues to be a sign of respect.

One last and important rule, never touch another cowboy’s hat. That’s just asking for trouble.

Hendrik van Wyk

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