For my current extended visit to England certain items of clothing, because of space restrictions, did not make the final cut for packing. One such item was my aged Panama Hat (see my previous post here). With the English summer already much hotter than I anticipated life without a decent summer hat has proved unbearable. Because I do not need a replacement Panama just yet I did not want to go to the expense of purchasing a new one – I therefore set out to find an affordable alternative, very much in keeping with my focus on writing about classic clothing and accessories at affordable levels!
I want to introduce you to the paper hat, in a classic Panama style. I am not sure exactly how these hats are constructed – I suspect they are massed produced in a form of moulding from paper and the inner and outer bands are then added.
I found this particular hat in the store Debenhams, reduced in price to just £10 ($15), but I have seen them in many stores and outlets for no more than an average of £15. With a traditional Panama ranging from £50 ($75) to £200 ($300) this seems a great price point. So, I have been ‘road testing’ the hat now for a few weeks. The findings:
- The hat was originally shaped with a rolled
down rim. I personally do not like such a style, preferring my hat to look more
‘trilby’ like with a rolled up back rim and rolled down frontal rim. The paper
construction allows for moulding any shape you like. I found I could easily
bend the rim, moisten it a little with cold water and then grip it in my hand
and after a few minutes the desired shape was fixed.
Rim rolled down
Rear rim rolled up
- The hat is very lightweight and, like a Panama, you hardly feel you are wearing it.
- The weave is open, allowing for maximum ventilation.
- The inner band is fabric and is useful for absorbing the moisture (or perspiration) from one’s head.
- The paper construction does give the hat a certain stiffness in the crown, which leaves me a little nervous it may rip or tear if handled too aggressively.
- It certainly looks sharp, classic and stylish. From a distance you could easily take it for a classic Panama.
- I like the classic look.
- Will it last rough handling?
- It is very affordable.
- It is comfortable and can be worn for extended periods.
- It is functional in that it does keep the sun at bay.
If you are looking to try wearing a classic hat for the first time and are reluctant to initially invest in a traditional Panama this hat is the perfect solution for you.
If you are a hat wearer already and need a summer hat you can ‘knock about’ and not worry about spoiling (perhaps on the beach or garden) this could also be for you.
Or if like me you have not packed yours on a trip or vacation and need an affordable stylish alternative then look no further! I am impressed.