The Panama hat’s origins lie in South America, particularly in Ecuador. They are woven out of toquilla plant, which is a wild plant similar to palm. Typically the Panama hat comes in white or a natural palm color and wrapped with a navy or black thick ribbon. In the 20th century, politicians and celebrities made them popular, from Teddy Roosevelt and Winston Churchill to Humphrey Bogart and Paul Newman.
Though slightly losing popularity towards the later half of the 20th century, it seems the Panama hat is making a comeback. Since last summer stars such as Jon Hamm to Jessica Alba have been spotted sporting this quintessential summer hat. The light woven palm material makes the Panama hat the perfect alternative to the baseball cap for any daytime event from running errands to a trip to the beach.
The Panama hat instantly brings a sense of casual cool to any outfit as demonstrated by this Fashionista. I personally love this Fashionista’s take on the Panama hat; the simplicity her outfit's color palette to the slight masculinity the hat brings to her outfit. She pairs her Panama hat with a simple pair of crisp white shorts and black tank top. She keeps her accessories minimal with a thin black belt and a vintage brown leather Coach shoulder bag which just adds to the vintage feel the Panama hat brings to the outfit.
Target offers a great deal on the Panama hat with a barely noticeable bow in the ribbon for a more feminine look. J.Crew has a more traditional looking feel to their Panama hat offered both online and in stores in natural and white. This Fashionista’s vintage Coach shoulder bag can be found on Free People’s website in black or Forever21 has a great saddle shoulder bag in brown that is a good alternative shape.