Thursday, February 26, 2009

The American Cowboy Hat - Image of the Western Spirit

By Keith Walker

There is no look that represents the tradition of America more than the American cowboy hat. Although the various styles of hats have changed throughout the years, the popularity of the cowboy hat never seems to waver. Few objects hold such symbolism for any other culture. It is probable that the cowboy hat will continue to be a powerful symbol and popular fashion since it represents so many qualities of the American spirit.

The reason for our attachment to the fashion, and in particular the hats, of the old west is that many Americans still feel that the values prized back then are still a part of our culture today. Nothing is more American than the stories of cowboys, moving out west to seek a better life. It is a story of the American dream that strikes home with many.

The American cowboy hat is a symbol that reminds us of this period of manifest destiny. It's image calls to our past, a proud history of the bold men and women who sought to move west, tame the land and create the nation we love today.

Even beyond our history, the American cowboy hat is an icon for the those old fashion values that still drives our country. United States citizens are known for taking pride in thier sense of hard work. Cowboys in the old west worked in difficlut conditions and had to earn everything they had. It was often a dirty and dagnerous job. But it was an honest living. These continue to be highly regarded values to most people in our nation today. That's why anyone from pop music stars, to senators, to Joe Sixpack can all find common ground in choosing to wear a cowboy hat. It is an iconic symbol that stands for many of the goods things about our nation.

Americans also take pride in the strength of our worldwide presence. Few images embody this spirit and boldness more than the old west. It's easy to see why some of our populart icons have been actors from the big screen western movies, like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood. In that same spirit the cowboy hats worn by these legends have become symbolic of our tough and gritty American culture.

More than anything else, around the world America represents a land of opportunity. Since the gold rush of the mid 1800's, people have moved westward to seek their fortune and a chance at living the American dream. Coincidentally, this time period marks the point in history where the American cowboy hat made its rise in fashion. It is little surprise then that it has also become an image of the national prosperity and unlimited potential that have made so many people from around the world dream of making their way to America.

It is no wonder that since our young nation, relative to the rest of the world, latches on to such a symbolic piece of apparel. Even though technology has come about and changed our nation for the better, eliminating the American cowboy of the past, it has ingrained an image that America clings to. While our culture has changed, the American cowboy hat has still found a place today.

The American cowboy hat will always be a popular fashion item. Regardless of how much the country changes, it will still be a reminder of the qualities that created a nation that forever changed the world. It can be wild and tough, or cultured and dignified, and more than anything it is a timeless symbol of our nation. - 16651

About the Author: