7 of the Best Texas Hatmakers
If you’re a first-timer traveling to Texas, there are probably two things at the top of your must-have souvenir list: leather boots and a fine cowboy hat. Whether you want to look like John Wayne stepping straight out of the local saloon, or you simply want the practicality of stylish, protective headgear, the list of local hatmakers is about as wide as the West Texas horizon. We’ve rounded up seven of our favorites.
Peters Bros Hats — Fort Worth
Known as “Cowtown,” Fort Worth is the quintessential place to search for all your cowboy accessories. Established in 1911, Peters Bros Hats has been outfitting Texans for over 100 years, starting as a shoeshine business in Waco. Located on Sundance Square since 1933, Joe Peters Jr., now runs the business with his son and fifth-generation maker, Brad Peters. Their hats recently adorned the heads of country legends Tim McGraw and Faith Hill on the hit show, “1883,” along with Hollywood’s favorite modern cowboy, Sam Elliott.
The Hat Store — Houston
Celebrities are common visitors at Texas’ most historic hat stores, and The Hat Store in Houston is no exception. Current owner Gary A. Cohen’s family has been in the business for over a century and boasts a wide array of famous customers in their books, including ZZ Top and Lyle Lovett. Originally founded in 1915 as the American Hat Company, The Hat Store carries a wide variety of felt and straw hats, but is best known for hand-shaping and hand-fitting western hats.
Biggar Hat Store — Decatur
After years in management for large retail chains, custom hat stores, and production companies, Jeff Biggars knows a thing or two about designing unforgettable hats. Decatur’s population may only be about 6,000, but the store attracts visitors from far and wide for Biggars’ expertise and selection.
Maufrais — Austin
While Allen’s Boots is a good bet for the historic outfitter vibe on Austin’s South Congress Avenue, smaller stores offering equally distinctive experiences have cropped up in recent years. Among them is Maufrais, which started as a pop-up custom hat bar before settling into its permanent space. Catering to both men and women, the Maufrais team steams and shapes the hat to any crown style with a wide variety of add-on accessories.
Gruene Hat Company — Gruene
Located within a Texas two-step of the oldest dance hall in Texas, Gruene Hat Company shares its home with H.D. Gruene’s original bank vault inside the Gruene Mercantile Building. The store features a wide array of hat styles and materials, along with other western goods and cowhide products.
Paris Hatters — San Antonio
Don’t be fooled by the international name: Paris Hatters is as Texan as it gets. Founded in 1917 and located right around the corner from the Alamo, the store is the oldest surviving retail business in Downtown San Antonio and sells more than 11,000 hats per year. An original 1930s cash register is still in operation, requiring hand cranking to open, and the decor features antique wooden hat blocks and steaming equipment. Buffalo and bison heads adorn the walls, along with portraits of countless high-profile customers, including Dwight Yoakam, Garth Brooks, Tommy Lee Jones and even Pope John Paul II.
Standard Hat Works — Waco
Long before Chip and Joanna Gaines made Waco a tourist hotspot, the city held hidden local gems worth visiting. Started in 1909, Standard Hat Works creates one-of-a-kind, handcrafted felt hats. The company still uses traditional hatmaking methods, producing each piece made-to-measure for custom crowns that will last a lifetime.