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Love or Hate the Big Cowboy Hat in 'Justified'?

by Hemal Jhaveri, posted Mar 23rd 2010 4:00PM
JustifiedI love almost every aspect of FX's new series 'Justified.' And, in particular, I love the big cowboy hat the show's lead character, Raylan Givens, wears, even though he's from Kentucky and it's 2010 and US Marshals generally don't sport them these days.

Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker points out that the hat -- a wide, white signifier of the modern day western -- has the potential to alienate young, female viewers who may not be into that sort of thing.

Still, it works for me. But does it work for everyone?

Now, as a young, female viewer, I think the hat, a direct lift from Elmore Leonard short story 'Fire in the Hole,' on which 'Justified' is based, compliments Givens' swagger. And Timothy Olyphant certainly wears it well.

But Tucker raises an interesting point ... is the hat a turn off for some viewers?

Ken Tucker also points out that even Leonard, in an interview with critic Alan Sepinwall, isn't all that fond of the hat: 'He's not in the West; he's from Kentucky. I think it's got out of hand.' That's pretty harsh coming from the man who created the character.

Now, since the premiere debuted to pretty high ratings, I doubt the hat itself was initially enough to keep people away, but Leonard is right, there's really no reason for him to be wearing it and as the series progresses, it may just be a hinderence.

And the ratings, while high, attracted a much older audience, which networks generally aren't found of. Losing the hat could give the show a more modern, and yes, less 'neo-western' feel, that could attract younger eyeballs.

I'd be sad to see the hat go, but, I'm not the average FX viewer. I'm more likely to watch something on the CW than tune into 'Sons of Anarchy.' Admittedly, I come to 'Justified' via a fortuitous circumstance. At the insistence of a friend, I've recently been burning my way through 'Deadwood' on DVD. So, what a wonderful surprise then, to find that Timothy Olyphant, who's so phenomenal as Sheriff Seth Bullock, is playing a similar morally upright, gun-slinging lawman in a neo-western on FX. I see the hat as an unintended call back to Olyphant's days as 'Deadwood's' Bullock, which is a total plus in my book.

So, how do other viewers feel? Hate it or love it?

Love or Hate the Hat?
Love it! 699 (72.7%)
Hate it! 25 (2.6%)
It's Timothy Olyphant, he can do no wrong!237 (24.7%)

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My rule of thumb for cowboy hats and boots is that they're a no-no for those who do not work with livestock, or at the very least, work outdoors. Otherwise..."All hat and no cattle." (There are exceptions, but that's my rule of thumb.)

Givens is very active outdoors, and I suspect he knows his way around a horse, so he qualifies. He knows how to wear it as more than a fashion accessory, so it works as a fashion accessory for him very well. Raylan likes his hat, he's comfortable under it, and it says a lot about him that he can carry it off.

(Wiki says Olyphant was raised in Modesto, CA, "a rural town", so he might well have come by this naturally. If not, being able to carry off his hat is a mark of his skill as an actor.)

February 09 2011 at 1:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Grant Hutson

I wear a cowboy hat and boots in florida, its just a hat that people like to wear. i like it, its his style that needs the hat. he's an old west kinda lawman. he stands face to face and waits for a move to draw his gun, he gives people 24 hours to get out of town. thats old west. i just wish these "modern day" people would cut the cowboy life lovin people alone. honestly who should be made fun of? the one who wears a hat and boot or the one who sags his pants halfway off his ass?

January 24 2011 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Personally? As a young female viewer? I love the hat! And I have been known to occasionally wear one just like it :)

May 08 2010 at 9:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Really, you are talking about a hat? The hat suits him, it looks fantastic and it does say something about him, a " don't mess with me" attitude.
The fact that this shows takes us back to the strong silent type who knows what his job is and what it takes to "get 'er done", and that doesn't bother him is what made the show for me. Enough with the wimpy, politically correct lawmen. These are bad guys he is dealing with. Don't we all wish there were more of the type that back up their words with action!!!

April 26 2010 at 6:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hi, I love the new show and especially the cowboy hats. I went out and bought an awesome hat on Friday at http://www.traditionalcowboyhats.com
It looks just like the one he wears on the show.

April 02 2010 at 1:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I want to purchase the same hat that Timothy O. wears in "Justified". Does anyone know who is maker of his hat or what brand it is? What a cool cowboy hat. I love the it's style!

March 26 2010 at 3:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Daveo's comment
Grant Hutson

i hear a lot of people say the stetson open road.... but i also hear thats the hat the director intended. i think it looks more like the stetson drifter

January 24 2011 at 3:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I'm 35, femal, live in Kentucky and hate the hat but like the show a lot.

March 25 2010 at 9:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The hat won't stop a woman from watching this show. I love the hat.

March 24 2010 at 8:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I am a young white woman and let's put it this way, the cowboy hat is working for him. The hat in conjunction with the western snap shirt and the boots...thank you God!

March 24 2010 at 1:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The new clint eastwood.?

March 24 2010 at 10:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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