For every Roy Rogers, Gene Autry or James Arness in their perfectly blocked, spotless hero hats, there is a Gabby Hayes, Slim Pickens or Ken Curtis in sweat-stained, broke-ass hats riddled with bullet holes.
Any well-worn hat is going to show some character after a while as you pull on the brim to settle it on your head, or grab the crown to take it off or simply expose it to the elements.
The Last Best Cowboy Hat shares its secrets to creating a great character hat like the beat-up felt worn by Jim Beaver as Whitney Ellsworth in HBO’s Deadwood. The process involves wearing a hat in the shower, and crimping and pinching it while it’s still wet. Then you let it dry in a sink or the garage.
Caveats include starting with a decent quality weatherproof hat. Wool felts or high-wool content blends will not recover from getting wet and steamed.