I've mentioned before that I have a difficult time finding hats to fit my head due to all my hair and a rather large head. Earlier this summer I spotted some Panama hats in a little boutique I frequent. The store had brought in 3 different colors for the summer. They even had several in my size. I didn't buy any.
The other day I was thinking to myself how upset I would be if I decided I wanted to buy one at a later date and could no longer find my size. I've done that before and ended up kicking myself later. So I went back to the store and bought 2 of them (they did not have the black one in my size) or I would have purchased all 3 colors.
They are the "classic" Panama hat style.
Because of the way I wear my hair up in the back, it makes it difficult for me to fit into a hat, so even though I bought the 2 hats I had NO idea what they would actually look like on me. I could tell that if I had my hair down they would fit. So I bought them on a hope and a prayer.
this one is beige
I have never worn a Panama before so I knew very little about them. They come in several different styles but I preferred the classic (plus that's all the store had).
They also come in a ton of colors!! More than just the 3 colors I saw.
|I'll be taking the tour!|
this one is white
Guess what?This is what I learned
Panama hats aren't even from Panama!
They are made in Ecuador. It started out as a marketing tool. Sort of like location, location location. Back in the 1850's when the hats were being made in Ecuador no one had heard of this tiny little country. So they took them to the closest well known country, which was Panama, and tried to sell them there. They were a big hit and poor tiny little Ecuador didn't have the resources to make a label "made in Ecuador". People started buying the hats there and they became associated with Panama. Also the folks working on the Panama Canal took quite a likening to them as well.
Hence, the Panama hat was born!
So if you want a genuine Panama hat, start by checking the label to see where it's made. Also to be genuine, the Panama hat must be HAND-MADE. A Panama hat can be easily rolled up and pocketed without any harm. They can also be very expensive. Mine are made by Ecua-Andino and are pretty affordable. I plan to visit the city where they are made and take the tour once we get settled in Central America.