Sunday, November 3, 2013

Panama Hats

I had every intention of buying a classic white fedora with a black band when I was in Panama last month, until a local man told me, "You do know the Panama Hat is made in Ecuador, right?"  Wrong.  Then he gave me the scoop.  Turns out a group of enterprising businessmen from South America brought these hats up to Panama as early as 1850 to sell to the 49ers who were making their way to California to pan for gold.  When construction began on the canal, both the French and the Americans bought these lightweight hats for sun protection.  President Teddy Roosevelt bought one when he toured the canal and was photographed wearing it.  Later, Winston Churchill and famous movie stars like Humphrey Bogart and Paul Newman were all seen wearing this stylish hat.  Recently, I saw a picture of Kate Moss wearing one.  "Where did you get that fabulous hat?" they were asked by reporters back home.  "In Panama."  And so the name stuck.
   However, I soon noticed the above black and cream brimmed hats everywhere I went, and when I saw a group of musicians wearing them with brims turned up in front and back, I changed my mind.  That is the hat I wanted!  So cool.  And these hats are made in Panama!

I wore this hat every day for the rest of my trip.
These hats are called sombreros montunos and are worn mostly by men.  The fibers are stripped from the leaves of a bellota plant and then bleached in the sun.  The black and red rings come from the same plant and are woven into a variety of patterns.  They are all hand-woven and take between two-four weeks to make.  Although I still covet a white straw fedora, I decided to wait until I get to Ecuador to buy one.  As far as I'm concerned, I bought the real Panama Hat!

Sharing this post with my tribe at Style Crone's Hat Attack.  Come on over for more fabulous hats!

1 comment:

  1. You look beautiful in your real Panama hat. I'm especially taken with how it looks from the back and how you are sauntering through a gorgeous tropical pathway.

    Thank you so much for linking up with Hat Attack!