How to buy a real cowboy hat
We sell on eBay, as do many other people. What gripes me are sellers that say "Comes from a non-smoking home." I ordered a black Stetson from a "non-smoking home" and received the hat covered with cat hair. It was a cowboy hat, so I didn't really care.
What should you expect when buying a real cowboy hat? (If you plan to buy a Hollywood hat for Buffy you can quit reading now.) Don't expect anything politically correct from this point on.
A cowboy hat is designed for protection against the rain and sun, and winter hats will keep the head warm.
A real cowboy hat is assumed to have been worn by a real cowboy. He or she may be a rancher, farmer, or redneck - but there is no strong smell of Fabreze around a real cowboy.
If a real cowboy goes to the livestock auction, restaurant, or almost anywhere else, he or she can never say "Oh Bubba, please don't smoke around my cowboy hat - it may start to smell." - doing so will cause laughter and great embarassment.
Straw cowboy hats have a brownish stain under the bill - that is nicotine or chewing tobacco.
The spot under the bill on the right side is a thumb print - that is from tipping your hat to the ladies (and maybe the Rose of San Antone) - it is not a defect
Remember that the first thing a cowboy does in the morning gets his or her hands dirty. Sometimes you touch your hat with your hands - and there isn't any hand cleaner in the saddle bags or the truck. Suck it up.
Some days are really windy. A good dog will retrieve the hat, and a good horse will put a hoof on it until the rider gets off to retrieve the hat, both of which may leaves marks - That makes the hat a "vintage hat."
Sometimes the hat falls off. Take the bucking chutes as an example. The hat may get a little muck on it, but just think of it as chewed up grass. The hat will be OK.
Unlike an idiot that wears his baseball cap backwards in the pouring rain, a cowboy can smoke a cigarette in the rain. So much for a "non-smoking home."
Felt and beaver hats get dirt on them. Straw hats do too. Felt and beaver get water spots in the dirt. - That means you work for a living, and it will clean up.
Some farm equipment runs on diesel fuel. Cattle trucks (tractor trailers) also run on diesel. A load of hogs in a cattle truck will smell like hogs and diesel fuel. - Don't worry about the "non-smoking home" as it will not make any difference now - The western hat will smell that way too. You know it is "vintage authentic."
If you are buying a new cowboy hat the ones with plastic hatbands are "tourist" or "dude" hats. Buy a used Resistol, Stetson, Bailey, or Larry Mahan instead.
If you buy a cowboy hat at WalMart it has a neon sign on it that says "I bought this hat at WalMart." The sign is invisible to the buyer.