When trying to select a wardrobe that will stand the test of time, a hat may be at the bottom of your list, believed to be only for special occasions and then back in it's box until the next one. But... what about a Panama hat? This simple, classic accessory has been traditionally hand-woven in Ecuador since the 1600s and it's still going strong – a classic that will go with anything, survive it's time in storage and even being rolled up to take away on your travels.
It's the perfect headgear for casual sunny days, holidays and dressy occasions (a suited gent looks dapper with a Panama Hat atop his head!).
But if it's from Ecuador, why the name? Well, the name came about in the mid-1800s when weavers attempted to increase sales by shipping their hats over to Panama which, at the time, was the main route for anyone wishing to travel from the east coast of Canada or the US, to the West.
The lightweight, 'breathable' hat proved incredibly popular in the tropical heat and sales rose further with the advent of the 1849 Gold Rush which brought a sea of fortune hunters through Panama. Another surge in popularity came at the start of the 20th century when it became the hat of choice for the workers digging the Panama Canal and a visit to the site from President Roosevelt, famously donning his own Panama Hat, saw sales sky rocket and cemented the (slightly misleading) name for good.
|Workers on the Panama Canal||Roosevelt on canal Construction Site|
Since then, this classic hat has never been out of fashion thanks to it's simplicity and functionality – whether a wide-brimmed design or a classic Fedora shape, the Panama Hat is popular with both men and women and is the only hat you need on sunny days!
It's even popular with the British monarchy...We're guessing this is Prince Charles' favourite hat, you can tell it's well travelled and has been well rolled in it's time!