TALE OF THE HAT…and a Giveaway by Charlene Sands

The Worths of Red Ridge


Take a peek at these covers and tell me what you see that they all have in common? Okay, yes they are my romance novels and yes they are all hot, good-looking heroes on the cover, but what else do you see?   If you answered, the men are all wearing hats… bingo!!  That’s right.


So I got to thinking what’s up with these hats?  I know they were once called John B’s.  In my books I refer to a cowboy hat as a Stetson nine times out of ten.  Fancy that.


Well, John Batterson Stetson, born on May 5, 1830 in New Jersey was the son of a hatter.  As a young boy traveling the west, he came to note that ranchers, cowpunchers and the like wore coonskin caps, sea captain’s hats ,fragile hats made of straw or woolen derbies to cover their heads. None of those head toppers seemed practical or served a variety of purpose.  


John B was an innovator.  And he immediately addressed the need for a hat that would serve many purposes.  He created the first real cowboy hat affectionately called, “The Boss of the Plains.”   Its high four inch dome and wide brim kept the sun from your eyes and the rain off your head and shoulders like an umbrella.  It was stitched so tight with quality material, usually felt, that it could also be used as a bucket to water your horse, and the brim wide enough, to water yourself. Cowboys have also been known to fan a flame or swat at flies with their hats!  


Stetson’s waterproof hat became well-known for style and use prompting John B to found a hat manufacturing company in 1865 that grew to become one of the largest hat companies in the world, and famous celebrities like Buffalo Bill, Annie Oakley, Calamity Jane, The Lone Ranger and Tom Mix could be seen wearing them.   Stetson sold thousands and thousands of hats to the Texas Rangers, U.S. Cavalry and the National Park Service, as well. 

“Boss of the Plains” hat


In his later years, John B. Stetson built grammar schools and helped build colleges, including Temple and Stetson University. He also created the first law school in Florida called Stetson University of Law.


The Stetson we know today changed only slightly from the “Boss of the Plains” from way back when and continues to be a favorite among modern day ranchers, cowpokes and country western artists, along with wannabe cowboys!!  


Hats Off to John B!!


Here’s another Stetson-wearing cowboy.  Meet Logan Slade (hunky, isn’t he?)  the oldest brother in The Slades of Sunset Ranch.   Sunset Surrender launches Harlequin’s new Rich, Rugged Rancher series in January 2013 and is available for and early release on Eharlequin in December.


Logan Slade wears his hat well, wouldn’t you agree?  What do you think about men who wear Stetsons?  What about you?  Do you wear any kind of hat?  If I was a fly on the wall, what kind of hat would I see you wearing? 

Post a comment here and be entered to win one of the four books above.

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44 thoughts on “TALE OF THE HAT…and a Giveaway by Charlene Sands”

  1. Even one of my personal heroes, Doctor Who, has been known to wear a Stetson–because Stetsons are cool.

    I totally agree!

  2. Fascinating post, Charlene! I love the use of the hat to swat a fly or two. A portable fly-swatter…doesn’t get better than that! 😉 P.S. EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOUR HEROES ARE HOOOOOOOOOTTTTT!!! Yowza, must be the hat.

  3. Nothing better to see than a man in a hst, espeically if it a Stetson. Give this gal a thrill for sure..

    Great post Charlene…

  4. Hi Renee – Aw thanks for saying that. I have bonded with my heroes. I think my favorite cover is The Cowboy’s Pride, cause of the babe. But Sunset Surrender’s cover is going to be one of my favorites too. I love when the art dept, gets it right with background as well as with physical traits.

  5. love seeing a cowboy in a cowboy hat…they just make him sexier. I have a few guys that aare cowboys and they always are wearing their hat..they look out of place without it on. Have a nice day!

  6. Your cover models sure look good in those hats, Char. 😉 There’s just something about a man in a hat isn’t there? And for some reason, the more rugged and beaten up the hat, the more attractive the cowboy. There’s just something suspicious about a man in an ill-fitting, not-broken-in yet hat.

  7. There is just something about a man in a western hat…they just look so handsome! Thank you Charlene for the info on the history of the hats! That was awesome.
    Have a great weekend. 🙂

  8. Love your cover hats and what’s under them, Charlene. Wow! And for all the times I, too, have called a cowboy hat a Stetson, I didn’t know the story behind its maker.

    I’ve also noticed how many country music men wear those hats. They look great but I’ll confess that sometimes I can’t tell who’s who in them.

    Your new Sunset Surrender cover is to die for!

  9. hi Charlene, your covers and stories are always my favorite contemps. Love me those cowboys! I really enjoyed learning about the Stetson today!

    And I for one wish all those country singers wore ’em. Keith Urban always looks kinda scraggly and bare to me.

    Best wishes on all these great books. xoxox

  10. I love the Stetson history! The date of the invention of the Stetson is really and absolutely well know. So well known in fact that my editor who really knows her history told me I needed to take the word Stetson out of my book because my book predated the Stetson.

    She’s absolutely right. But I LOVE using Stetson and having my characters wearing stetsons. They can’t very well wearing them before they’ve been invented.
    And yet, when I’m writing I ALWAYS have a mental picture of them in a Stetson. The last six books I’ve written have all had roots in some Civil War events that have forced me to keep the dates of the books pre-Stetson and the next three books I just contracted are also rooted in a Civil War event.
    BUT I AM DETERMINED to move farther from the war and honestly, about 75% of the reason is because I want to slap a Stetson on my hero’s head!

  11. My husband has a number of hats. Several years ago his daughters decided they would give him a custom hat. So when we were visiting one of them in Colorado, we went to Mancos and he was measured for one. Mancos makes great hats! Anyway the people showed us around and told us the process of making a ‘cowboy’ hat. Very interesting. He got his 10X in a Silver Belly, (just like all his others). But this one is kept in a box. There is a town in Idaho, along the Salmon river that also makes hats.

  12. I like Stesons. Karen Witemeyer, I just finished Short Straw Bride and To WIn Her Heart. They were fabulous. Fortunately, I bought your other books at the same time so they are waiting for me.

    I will recommend them as a present for those relatives who like a romance that shows attraction but no bedroom scenes. You’re a great writer!

  13. I think men who wear Stentsons always look like they can handle anything adventure or women. I like wearing Stentsons also. I use to help my step dad warm up his horses and thats when i would wear the Stentson. I always felt like i could ride away and come bact to a time full of cowboys and the west.

  14. My husband has two Stetsons but lately he’s been wanting a Resistol hat.

    Have you ever heard of that? I hadn’t and thought, “How embarrassing to buy a cowboy hat that is NOT a Stetson.”

    And yet, if you’ll check the price (shudder) you’ll see it’s not an embarrassing brand at all. Yikes!

  15. The only hats I wear are baseball caps and that is rare. Love how those sexy heroes look in their hats. Thanks for the little piece of history today!

  16. I like my cowboys to wear a Stetson instead of a bill cap.
    You would only see me in a sun hat which i always wear here in AZ in the summer if I plan to stay outside a long time. Other hats, never.
    I like the covers on your books.

  17. I like a guy who wears a Stetson. I don’t wear hats but if I were to wear one, it would be something girly. 🙂

  18. Charlene, I LOVE men who wear Stetsons. It sure transforms a man. He may be balding (like Garth Brooks) but put a hat on him and oh my gosh! Sure makes my heart flutter. I owned a woman’s western hat way back when I was young and foolish and Mickey Gilley and that group were going strong. And when the Urban Cowboy movie with John Travolta came out. I never did feel like the hat added anything to me though and I hated wearing it. Never felt comfortable in it. At some point it went by the wayside. I’ve never been much a hat-wearer. But I think if I’d have lived back in the 1800’s, I’d have worn one of those fancy ones with plumes and feathers.

  19. I forgot to say that you have some of the best covers I’ve ever seen. All of them are to die for and men handsome as all get-out. And wow! The new one is excellent as well.

  20. I am a hat person. Love em. Wear em. But I am also a person who wonders about those guys who wear their hats inside on a tv show. It advertises, “I am insecure about my receding hairline!”

    Still love Brad Paisley though!

    Peace, Julie

  21. There’s just nothing like a man I’m a Stetson! Every hero I’ve written about slaps on a Stetson at one point or another.

    I have two Western hats a jackaroo style and a straw. Sadly, neither is a Stetson. Don’t know how that happened

    Looks like we’re in for another batch of hotties with the new series! Can’t wait!

  22. I live in the East so you really don’t see men in Stetsons but I love seeing some men in them – country singers and cowboys lol. For myself I no longer like myself in hats. I have bushy type hair and nothing looks right lol.

  23. Hi Mary -That’s funny about the Stetson. I guess there’s nothing sexy about the captain’s hats or straw hats the men wore prior to that date. I love this history. Before I wrote this blog I didn’t have a clue about the size and scope of the Stetson’s company. It’s huge!!!

  24. Hi Mary J – My hubby would love to get a hat custom made, but he doen’t wear boots. How do you suppose a hat would look with his Nikes? Ha! Great that your hubby had one made…special from his daughters.

  25. Hi Linda – Thanks for the compliment on the covers. I think most of them are pretty great.
    I can surely imagine you with one of those fancy lady hats with plumes and feathers!! You’d be the belle of the ball!

  26. Hi Julie – Well, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw always wear their hats on stage…they do make them look more country that way. I love Brad Paisley too..but thought he had a good head of hair underneath that hat. ???

  27. Hi Kirsten – A hero slapping on a Stetson is my type of guy. Yes, and I think now I’m going to get a little more technical about the type of Stetson my heroes weart. I loved going on the website and seeing the different styles of hats they offer.

  28. Hi Joye- gotta wear a hat in AZ in the summer if you’re in the sun alot. I prefer Stetson to bill caps too, but sometimes a man looks good in a cap, I will admit. My hubby had a few styles of hats and they look great on him. 🙂

  29. Hi Elizabeth – Glad you like my new Sunset cover. It fits my hero to the letter. It seems we can’t write cowboys without putting a Stetson on their heads!! Looking forward to your Desire too!!

  30. Love a man in a cowboy hat if it suits them. I have seen a few wear them and it just doesn’t suit them at all. Great post and I love the covers of your books.

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