Panama hats are stylish and practical and they bring a suave Casablanca quality to any outfit.
If you prefer the understated look, wearing a Panama hat might seem a daunting prospect. Amidst a sea of baseball caps and bucket hats, these classic woven hats definitely stand out. But the Panama is confident, not ostentatious. It’s smart, rather than OTT.
If you’re ready to ditch your ordinary cap for something a little more extraordinary, read our guide to the Panama hat.
What are Panama Hats?
The simple style of a Panama Hat
Spotting a Panama hat is easy. In essence, it is a tightly wound brimmed summer hat, with a piece of cloth wrapped around it.
Given the name, you’d think they originated in Panama itself, but you’d be wrong. The name is a result of Ecuadorians wearing the hats while travelling via the Isthmus of Panama. The hats became a signature of these workers, and the name was attributed to Panama, because the ports of the nation have a greater reputation than Ecuador itself.
To this day the best ones are still made in Ecuador and some hats are so tightly wound that they can even fend off water.
How to wear
In the summer months it’s easy to look too minimal, as there is less need for layers. Consequently, styling becomes all about the details, such as a super summery Panama hat.
For a traditional summer look, pick summer weight chinos, a tucked in shirt and a pair of casual shoes. If the summer is actually in full swing, you should go for shorts and a pair of deck shoes or loafers.
If you want a style befitting of the silver screen, then copy such films as Casablanca or Hannibal and wear a lightly coloured suit. Matching the colour of the cloth on your hat to your tie or any other accessories isn’t a must, but do so if you please.
Image source: Fedora Lounge
Dodgy archaeology, poor hat etiquette
Take it off when you come inside, that is unless you are in a bar, nightclub or you are a king (in which case you can probably do whatever you want). If you are wearing a hat for work, that is fine, but once inside the hat must come off.
Greeting people is easy. You say hello, perhaps raise your hand and if you are wearing a Panama hat, touch the brim and tilt your head slightly. If you are greeting someone of great social standing you gently remove your hat, tilt your head and then replace your hat.
Image source: Flickr
Flat cap, check. Cat, check.
The flat cap may not seem the most summery of hats, but there is no real reason why not to wear it other than the sun beating down ferociously – and we all know how rare that can be!
For the incredibly casual among us, a baseball cap is the number one hat, but beware of fashion aficionados looking down their noses at you.
Of course, if you aren’t a hat man, sunglasses can also help. They add some detail and if the sun does peep out its head, you can protect your eyes.
West Ham play in East London, East London is a cricket ground in South Africa and the Panama hat comes from Ecuador. Names don’t always make sense, but wearing a hat in the summer month does.