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What is a Panama Hat and Why is It in Fashion?

Somya Suresh | Jul 22, 2015, 17:27 IST
What is a Panama Hat and Why is It in Fashion?
Jessica Alba wearing a Panama hat
A panama hat is the traditional hat of the Ecuadorian region. The hats, back when they were designed, were made of plaited leaves of the carludovica palmata plant, which is also commonly called the Panama hat plant. The leaves of this plant resemble the palm tree or the coconut tree. The hats were originally made out of the leaves of the plant, which act as straw and are woven together.
Why it is so popular?

Because of its uniqueness, in 2012, the weave of the Panama hat made it to the UNESCO Cultural Heritage list. This material was used as it is lightweight, easy to carry and worked as a great way to protect from the sun. Panama hats are supposed to be lightweight, breathable, and light in colour to deflect the heat of the sun from the head, acting as a protector.

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  • Photo credit: Rob Hamm/Shutterstock2 of 2
    Photo credit: Rob Hamm/Shutterstock

    How did Panama hats come into fashion?

    In 1906, a photograph of American president Franklin D. Roosevelt wearing a Panama hat was published, after which the accessory was worn and flaunted widely by the upper class and aristocrats. A little later, celebrities and prominent public figures started using it and made it famous. In the late ’90s the hat became associated with the beach, balmy prints and summer suits.

     

    Panama hats in contemporary fashion

    At the onset of the 21st century, the hat became a beachwear essential. Big brands like Vince Camuto, J Crew and BCBGMaxAzria started to try their own variants of the same. They experimented with fabric, colours and even the size. Since then, these are a wardrobe staple for all beach holidays at exotic tropical locales. So if you’re a beach bum, you need to get one right away!

     

    Do you have a Panama hat too? Share your comments below or write to contact@fashion101.in for styling advice.

     

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