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Mayor Eric Johnson Is In His Cowboy Hat Era

Will he transition to felt this winter?
By | |Illustration by Pablo Lobato
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson hat
Pablo Lobato

Future historians will debate when, exactly, Eric Johnson, the mayor of Dallas, began regularly wearing a cowboy hat. It seems likely that he made the fashion choice when the Stars lost to the Golden Knights in the playoffs. On May 31, Johnson tweeted a video of himself at Wild Bill’s Western Store in the West End, where, to satisfy a mayoral bet, he bought a black felt Stetson for the mayor of Las Vegas. 

Giddy-up. A week later, Johnson was wearing a traditional straw cowboy hat outside the Harry Stone Aquatic Center, giving a shoutout to the Park and Rec Department. And then came August 16, a Wednesday. For an alfresco CBS Channel 11 interview about the Dallas Police Department’s crime-reduction efforts, the mayor wore a thinner-brimmed cowboy hat that we can only hope will become the emblem of his second term. He wore it again on August 28 for an outdoor event at which he lobbied for bond money for parks. Ken Kalthoff at NBC Channel 5, on the scene, reported that it was a “park ranger hat to dramatize his commitment to improving parks.” 

Anyone who has seen Ken’s Mojo Dojo Casa House could hardly blame him for the mistake.

“Ken does the best he can,” Mayor Johnson told us in an email helpfully sent by his chief of staff, “but clearly he knows nothing about haberdashery.”

The mayor confirmed that the hat is a Stetson, the Open Road model. He said, “I’ve worn hats, exclusively Stetsons, at various times my entire adult life.” What sort of reaction has he received from constituents and co-workers to his current favorite lid? “Folks seem to dig it.”

Clip your paper doll, and see if it switches parties, too! 

Add us to that group of folks. The mayor of Dallas should wear a cowboy hat. And the mayor’s choice of the Open Road is a modern-​retro-LBJ look that not only shades the ears but serves the city’s image well. We applaud it.

With the weather finally turning a bit cooler, we asked if he planned to transition to felt. Came his reply: “Stay tuned and see.”  

To Top or Not?

The experts weigh in. 

Cassie MacGregoR

Cassie MacGregor

Milliner at Oak Cliff’s House of MacGregor

“Wearing a hat shows confidence. No one ran against him last year, so it makes sense he is feeling bullish. The Open Road is about the least risky hat you can put on. He is not looking to rock the boat. Maybe he picked a hat that is suited for someone running for higher office in a red state.” [Ed: the astute MacGregor said this prior to the mayor’s party switch.]

Franklin Moss

Franklin Moss

Founder of Fort Worth’s Franklin & Anthony 

“He looks good in a cowboy hat, but a wider brim would frame the shape of his head and face better than the short brims. The cowboy hat is a Texas staple, and it just shows he is here to represent his city and state.” 

JD Daniels

J.D. Roeser-Daniels

 Dallas-based fashion director and stylist  

“I love seeing Mayor Johnson in his Stetson. It’s a brand as Americana as Levi’s. I actually own a few of these Open Roads and recently used one on a shoot for D Magazine with singer-songwriter Abraham Alexander. The Open Road has a more modern and democratic fit than a traditional cowboy hat. They look great on everybody.” 

This story originally appeared in the November issue of D Magazine with the headline, “Brimming With Pride.” Write to [email protected].


Tim Rogers

Tim Rogers

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Tim is the editor of D Magazine, where he has worked since 2001. He won a National Magazine Award in…

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