top of page

Guide to Panama Hats

Updated: Jan 13, 2019

Summer is finally here in London! With tonnes of sunshine, it is time to put on our summer accessories to protect ourselves from that extra UV-C light. As a person who wears glasses, I always struggle with the problem of switching between my regular glasses and my sunglasses while standing under the sun. Thus, I started to wear hats more often in recent years.

Today I wanted to introduce you all to my personal favorite accessory for summer -- Panama Hat. Extremely versatile and much less awkward than wearing sunglasses.

To begin with, some history on Panama hats. Although having the name 'Panama', Panama hats are actually originated from Ecuador. Reason for why it got its name varies; however some of the biggest theories out there suggest either it is because of the gold-rush miners who bought this type of hats from Panama as early as 1834, or it is because of the famous photo of Theodore Roosevelt wearing a Panama hat while he was visiting the building site of the Panama canal.

Either way, Panama hat has withstood the test of time and is still one of the favorite among men, as best demonstrated through the popularity of celebrities wearing the hat in warmer climates during the 20th century.

Today, although Panama hats are not as popular as the last century, it is still a very good alternative to sunglasses. In the following, I am going to show you the various types of outfits that you could wear a panama hat with. (However, please note that I would only be addressing the fedora-style panama hat today.)

(1) The Traditionalist -- Wear it the classic way!

Feeling confident and not being afraid of standing out from the crowd? Why not match it with a waistcoat and a stripe/ dotted tie? This is after-all the most timeless outfit you could match with a panama hat. As for the trousers, I would pair it with the ones from the same set of suit that you got your waistcoat from. And as for the shoes? Brown Oxfords, no doubt.

To make the outfit less formal, you could match it with light-blue or cream shirt instead of white. These are all colors that work very well in summer seasons. Additionally, you could also be pairing it with a waistcoat and trousers with a more informal tone to look more relaxed. Brown or tan would definitely be a great choice!

(2) The Weekend Casualist -- Everything linen!

You may recall the shirt and the trousers from my post 'City Weekend Look #1'. As a matter of the fact; since they are very versatile, you could match them with the panama hat as well! In fact, this outfit is very relaxed such that you totally don't need to worry about being too standout if that is your concern.

In terms of shoes, I would match it with either monk-straps or loafers. But either way, no-show socks would be a great idea.

(3) The Summer Dandy -- Good for all occasions!

One of my favorite summer outfits is to match suit jackets (and sometimes with the waistcoat inside) with a pair of white dress pants or chinos. For shoes, again, I would recommend matching it with monk-straps or loafers with no-show socks.

This outfit forms a great balance between the Traditionalist style and the Weekend Casualist style I have mentioned above. You could pretty much go to any occasion with this outfit.

In terms of neckwear, I would go with a tie that is rather subtle or has a similar shade with your suit jacket. Alternatively, you could also match it with a silk scarf as demonstrated above.

All in all, however, since the main purpose of the panama hat is to protect you from the excessive sunlight, you can pretty much match it with any outfits you have in your wardrobe as long as they are summer outfits.

Which outfits do you like the most? Comment down below to share your thoughts!



bottom of page