If you are fond of hats, it is more than likely that you will have at least one had made from natural or synthetic straw. Hats made of straw are elegant, go well with your summer attire, and keep you cool and comfortable even in the sweltering sun. You can choose from many styles of hats made of straw but remain assured that they will be lightweight and breathable. A brief guide to some of the important aspects of evaluating hats made of straw:
Optimum Sun Protection
Most people favor hats made of straw for their ability to protect them from the blazing sun, but unless the weave is very tight, some of the sun’s rays will invariably pass through the tiny holes in the brim and crown of the hat. However, unless the holes are large, they are not likely to bother you too much. It is a good practice to hold the hat up against the light to see how much light filters through. If you don’t mind spending money, you should get a hat with a UPF factor (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of 50, which ensures only 2% of the sun’s UV rays, can pass through the material. However, fine hats with such a tight weave take weavers a lot of time to fabricate and finish, which is why they tend to be very expensive. Some of the different hats made of straw include:
The classic Boater, inspired by the hats worn by the gondoliers of Venice, is conventionally worn as a formal hat in warm weather. Fabricated from a stiff straw, the Boater hat has a characteristic look with its stiff flat crown and flat narrow round brim, according to Hat History. You can find Boater hats splashed all over the pages of travel magazines because they are very popular with tourists soaking up the sun in exotic locations across Europe. It also enjoys an iconic status among fashionable women thanks to the support by the legendary Madame Coco Chanel. Even though the Boater is a timeless and unisex option for the fashion-conscious, you should keep in mind that it is not the best of hats for protection against intense sunlight because of its rather narrow brim.
Panama hats fashioned from a variety of straws have always been a favorite of vacationers the world over. The classic Panama hat is traditionally made from Toquilla straw, a light-colored straw derived from the native palm of the same name growing abundantly in Ecuador. Panama hats shot into the limelight after photos of President Roosevelt wearing them on his 1906 visit to the Panama Canal were splashed across the pages of newspapers all over the world. Since then, the Panama hat, once the staple of Ecuadorian laborers working in Panama has been a perennial favorite of fashionable men and women in America and Europe. You get Panama hats in many qualities, but the tighter the weave and better the quality of finish, the costlier they are. A high-end Panama straw hat made from the finest Toquilla straw can take as many as eight months to complete and cost up to $10,000 on the high street.
It is easy to confuse a Fedora with a Panama, and most people use the names interchangeably. However, the difference between the two is clear to hat lovers. The Panama hat is characteristically made of Toquilla straw though nowadays other types of straw are used in their mass manufacture. While Fedoras made of straw are extremely popular, they are also available in other materials like wool and felt. It is common to see Panama hats made in the Fedora shape though if you look around, you will see them in the Boater style too. Essentially, when you see a straw Panama, it is a Fedora, but when made from other materials, they are not Panamas. The Fedora is a wonderful option for sun protection because it is lightweight, and due to its neutral color, it goes very well with many outfits.
For most people, a hat made of straw is equal to a floppy hat that you see in hundreds on a day out on the beach adorning the heads of women. With an extra-large brim and an oversize crown, the floppy hat delivers optimum protection from the sun., However, with some hats sporting 10-inch brims, you can very well wear them for good shoulder protection too. Because their primary function is giving shelter from the sunshine, when buying a floppy hat, you should pay extra attention to the SPF rating so that you prevent yourself from getting sunburn.
There is nothing better than hats made from straw when you are stepping out in the summer. They are light and comfortable to wear even for extended periods, and with their distinctive styles, you can wear them with the confidence that you will always look good in them.