Cowboy Hat Feathers – History & How to Put?

Last Updated on March 30, 2023

Have you ever wondered why cowboy hats have feathers in them? What is the significance of this Cowboy Hat Feathers accessory in Western fashion?

Cowboy hats have been a staple in American culture for over a century, with their iconic design and style that have become synonymous with the Wild West.

Cowboy Hat Feathers
Image Source: Canva

However, adding feathers to cowboy hats is a unique feature that sets them apart from other types of hats.

So, let’s dive into the world of cowboy hat feathers and discover the stories behind this intriguing accessory.

What Does a Feather in a Cowboy Hat Mean?

A feather in a cowboy hat can have different meanings depending on the individual wearing it and the context. Some people wear a feather as a form of personal expression or to show their appreciation for nature.

In some cases, a feather can also symbolize achievement or recognition, such as winning a rodeo event or completing a certain task on the ranch.

Who Wears a Hat With a Feather?

Historically, hats with feathers were commonly worn by men and women of high social status in Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries. These feathers were often from exotic birds and were seen as a symbol of wealth and luxury.

Today, hats with feathers are still worn in some cultures and for certain occasions, such as traditional Native American headdresses or carnival costumes. Generally, it is not common to see people wearing hats with feathers in everyday fashion.

Where Do You Put the Feathers on a Cowboy Hat?

Feathers are typically placed on the hatband, which is the decorative strip of material that circles the crown’s base. It can be attached to the hatband using clips, pins, or simply tucking them into the band.

Feathers on a Cowboy Hat
Image Source: iStock, Canva

It’s important to note that not all cowboy hats are designed to have feathers, so be sure to check the manufacturer’s guidelines before adding any embellishments to your hat.

Also, it’s important to consider the cultural significance of feathers before adding them to your hat, as they hold special meaning in many Indigenous communities.

Why Wear a Feather in Your Hat?

As we said earlier, for centuries, feathers were worn as a sign of wealth and rank due to their uniqueness and frequent use in elegant headpieces.   

In Native American cultures, feathers were also used for religious and ceremonial purposes and were seen as a symbol of connection to the spirit world.

Today, wearing a feather in your hat is more of a fashion statement and can add a unique and interesting element to your outfit.

It can also be a nod to historical or cultural significance, depending on the type of feather and how it is worn.

How to Put Feathers in Your Cowboy Hat

Here is a fun tutorial for you on how to accessorize your hat with feathers. Adding feathers to your cowboy hat is a simple and enjoyable way to make your hat unique. In this step-by-step guide, I’ll show you how to put a small feather or multiple feathers in your hat. Let’s get started!

Tools needed:

  1. Needle-nose pliers
  2. Feathers (available at any hat shops)

Step 1: Choose Your Feather

Choose your feather(s) Select the feather(s) you’d like to use. You can choose single or multiple feathers of various sizes.

Step 2: Identify a Suitable Spot

Prepare your hat Identify a suitable spot to insert the feather, such as the gap behind the logo of your Goorin Bros hat. If the gap is too tight, use the needle-nose pliers to gently create space by mimicking the stem of the feather. Be careful not to pull or stretch the hat band.

Step 3: Inserting Feather

Insert the feather Hold the feather’s stem like a pen between your forefinger and thumb. Carefully insert the stem into the gap you created in the hat band. Adjust the feather to your desired angle. If you’d like to add more feathers, repeat this process, starting with the longest feather and working your way down in size.

Step 4: Layering Multiple Feathers

Layering multiple feathers to create a layered look, start with the longest feather at the back and add shorter feathers in front. Adjust the feathers to achieve the desired appearance, like arranging flowers in a vase.

Step 5: Horizontal Feather Placement

You can also insert feathers horizontally behind the bow of your hat. Use the needle-nose pliers to ensure there’s enough space. Guide the feather’s stem through the gap and adjust as needed.

Step 6: Removing Feathers

To remove the feathers, gently pull them out in reverse order of insertion. Use the needle-nose pliers if necessary, but be cautious not to damage the feathers or hat.

How Do You Get Feathers to Stay on a Hat?

You can use a few different methods to get feathers to stay on a hat. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Glue: Use a fabric or hot glue to attach the feather to the hat. Apply a small amount of glue to the base of the feather quill and press it onto the desired spot on the hat. Hold the feather in place until the glue dries. Be cautious when using hot glue, as it can damage some delicate feathers or fabrics.
  • Sewing: Sew the feather onto the hat by hand or with a sewing machine. If sewing by hand, stitches through the quill of the feather and the fabric of the hat using a needle and thread that matches the color of the hat or feather. Be careful not to damage the feather or hat during the process. Sewing can provide a more secure attachment than glue.
  • Hatband: Use a hatband or ribbon to secure the feather to the hat. Tuck the base of the feather’s quill under the hatband or ribbon, and adjust it until it is securely in place. This method is particularly useful if you want the option to remove or replace the feather easily.
  • Pin or brooch: Attach the feather to a pin or brooch and then pin it to the hat. This method allows for easy removal and repositioning of the feather.

When attaching a feather to a hat, consider the hat’s material, the size and weight of the feather, and how permanent or removable you want the attachment to be.

Video: How To Add Feathers to a Hat

Goorin Bros.
Alex From Goorin Bros.

Elevate your hat game with this must-watch tutorial! Learn how to add a touch of flair to your favorite hat with feathers, guided by Alex from Goorin Bros. Discover the secret to making your hat truly one-of-a-kind and get ready to turn heads! Don’t miss out; watch now!

Is it OK to wear a cowboy hat indoors?

It really depends on the situation and the context. Wearing a cowboy hat indoors is not considered appropriate etiquette, especially in formal settings.

However, if you are attending a western-themed event or a casual gathering with friends, it may be more acceptable.

So, it’s important to consider the setting and the expectations of those around you before deciding to wear a cowboy hat indoors.


In conclusion, cowboy hat feathers are more than just a fashion statement; they’re a symbol of the rich history and culture of the American West. Whether you’re a seasoned cowboy or a city slicker looking to add some western flair to your wardrobe, adding a feather to your hat is a simple and stylish way to show your love for the western way of life. So, saddle up and add a feather to your hat today!

Ask any Question Here!