Summertime presents a perfect opportunity to for adding hats to your look. I started wearing hats years ago when we sat in an outdoor venue for three days during our annual attendance at the Monterey Jazz Festival. Each year or two, I pick up a new hat for wearing on sunny summer days – poolside, for an outdoor lunch, a sunny day hike, a garden work day. I was surprised to see how many I’ve accumulated over the past several years. My small hat wardrobe inspired this post. There are so many styles. Not everyone loves every style, but it’s fun to know what the options are.
PANAMA HAT (aka Fedora)
The Panama hat is my favorite summer hat style. It’s one of the most popular and looks good on just about everyone. Panamas are perfect for every wearing situation, whether you have a pool day planned or want to add a chic accessory to your summer look.
Most Panama hats natural or light colored. Although I love the salt and pepper twist on the Panama hat below. A true Panama is woven from the young leaves of the jipijapa plant, a palm-like plant also known as the toquilla palm. Many of the budget friendly Panama style hats that we see in stores are made from sythetic materials, rather than natural plant.
Contrary to its name, the Panama hat originated in Equador. Panama hats were first shipped to the ports of Panama before departing for North America, Europe, and Asia, which gave them their name promoting the mistaken assumption that Panama was their country of origin.
So What’s a Fedora Anyway?
True confessions: I thought a Fedora hat was the one with a much smaller brim. Actually, the small brimmed hat is called a Trilby (pictured right). It’s a cute style but is more of a fashion hat than others because the narrow brim doesn’t give any sun protection.
So when you see a sign for Fedora hats advertising an assortment of woven or woven-look hat, you’ll secretly know that they are actually Panama hats!
WIDE BRIM HAT
The wide brim summer hat is a long-time classic. I go back and forth between feeling that this style is chic and feeling a bit frumpy when wearing a wide brim summer hat.
If I have hats in a similar style, I like to vary the color or texture, or some kind of style detail. The two wide brim hats pictured below are different from each other in color and also with detail. The crown of the dark hat flattens a bit on top, while the light colored hat has a very domed crown. The light color hat also has a leather chin cord, which can be both handy and annoying. I mostly like the style detail it adds.
Wide brim hats provide the most protection from the sun. There are lots of wide brim styles to choose from – just make sure the size of the brim isn’t oversized for you, that the proportions of the hat make sense for your body size.
A straw or woven cowboy/western style hat just screams music festival to me! I love the look on other people, but for some reason, I just don’t feel comfortable myself in a western style hat. The hat pictured below is my interpretation of a western style hat – part Panama hat/part western. It’s a favorite.
Visors were all the rage in the 90’s and then they weren’t. I’ve noticed a slight resurgence of the visor style in the last few years. I thought it was a style now relegated to “older” women. But a few years ago when my daughter saw my straw visor with the palm tree band, she loved it (maybe for the throwback vibe) and had to have one. I’ve been seeing summer visors worn here and there. In fact, I just bought the black visor pictured below from Banana Republic (photographed “on location” blogging in Duncans Mills, California.)
Visors are just easy. They aren’t bulky, they travel easily, they don’t give you hat hair. They fill a purpose.
PACKING YOUR HATS
Packing hats for travel is a challenge. Many hats are now labeled “packable.” In spite of that, it’s hard not to end of with a misshapen hat when you arrive at your destination.
The safest way to pack a hat is actually, not to pack it. Wear it when you travel and there’s no risk of crushing it or creasing the brim.
But if you want or need to pack your hat, I’ve had the most success and best outcome from this method of packing my hats:
- Turn the hat upside down so it’s resting on the crown.
- Fill the crown with small, soft items, like underwear, socks, even soft t-shirts.
- Place the filled hat in your suitcase in the same position (upside down with opening of the crown facing up).
- Pack around the hat to cushion it and prevent it from moving around.
This hat packing method has worked wonderfully for me. It’s especially helpful when you want to travel with more than one hat – you can wear one and pack one, or even pack both.
HAT SHOPPING FROM YOUR COUCH!
I’m a little shopping-starved I guess, because I went a little crazy virtual hat shopping. But lucky you! You have a much larger selection of hat styles to shop from here than if you were in a physical store (not counting a hat store!).
Pictured and linked below are a variety of Panama hats, one Trilby, wide brim hats, western style hats, and visors. If you don’t have a summer hat (or two), I enthusiastically recommend trying one of these styles.
WEARING HATS IRL (in real life)
Here are some photos pulled from past posts – summer outfits and settings with different hat styles.* Summer hats go with everything!
*You can tell which is my favorite!