CDG - The Costume Designer

Spring 2017

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14 The Costume Designer Spring 2017 THE COSTUME DEPARTMENT HISTORY OF DRESS Cowboy Hat The cowboy hat is a symbol of the American West and the adventurers that peopled it and our imaginations. It was practical: the tall crown insulated the head from the hot sun and the broad brim provided shade for the face. John B. Stetson created his "Boss of the Plains" hat in 1865. It was durable, and thus became a staple. Styles of hats were at first regional, but soon became personal as the cowboys creased and dented their wet felt hats. Worn not only by those who actually worked with cows and horses on ranches or the plains, it also became an important article of clothing for the country singers who sang about them, and for other western entertainers. We think of Annie Oakley's wide brim that framed her face, Roy Rogers' and Dale Evans' curled brims, Gene Autry's tall rounded crown front. Beloved characters in film and television are associated with specific hats that have given them iconic stature. JR without his hat? Hardly. Consider the old cowboy saying, "It's the last thing you take off and the first thing that is noticed." Few accessories have enjoyed such iconic stature. Illustration by Robin Richesson Text by Marcy Froehlich

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