Four Panama Hats To Amp Up Your Street Style

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Panama Hats. I’ve had a love affair with hats ever since I “borrowed” one from my Auntie’s closet when I was 15 years old. In that moment, peering  into the mirror with the tiny, vintage pillbox hat fitted lopsidedly on,  I knew I was hooked by both the mystery and beauty a hat evokes.  Since then, I have worn every kind of hat imaginable: broad brimmed, flower trimmed, paper ‘boyed’, square, round.  One of my favourites though is  the timeless and  classic, panama hat.

Panama hats were the preferred headwear of one of my Latin American history professors.  The first time I spotted him wearing one against the charcoal brilliance of his skin, I understood that it was at once a fashion and a political statement, at least on him. Traditionally made of the braided leaves of the toquilla palm or jipijapa palm, the name ‘Panama hat’ is actually a misnomer; the hats are native to Ecuador, where millinery (hat-making) has been a cottage industry since the 1600s.

One of the reasons why Panama hats have become a go to unisex accessory is because it goes with practically everything. I love pairing it with everything from jeans to ultra-feminine pieces like this crocheted top and skirt ensemble I wore a few months ago in Tobago.

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If you’re new to accessorizing with different types of headwear, the Panama hat is an ideal introduction. It’s affordable, you can toss one into your suitcase without fear of it getting crushed and losing its shape. And even though it is a simple piece, it makes quite a chic statement.

HERE ARE SOME PANAMA HATS YOU’LL LOVE, FROM THE CLASSIC STRAW TO MORE CONTEMPORARY FELT COVERED PIECES

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