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What is a Panama hat?
Basically, it is a white summer hat that is woven from the straw of the Toquilla Palm. Even though it's called Panama hat, it's originally made in Ecuador and it has never been made in Panama. In Ecuador, it's better known as the SOMBRERO DE PAJA TOQUILLA which means as much as a straw hat. Panama hats have been woven in Ecuador since the 17th century and they've been imported since the 19th century to Europe, the Americas, and Asia.
So how did the Panama hat got its name?
During the 1834 Gold Rush in Canada, when miners went from South America to Canada, they saw those hats in Panama and so they got their name. On top of that, Theodore Roosevelt popularised the hat style and even cemented the Panama name when he was wearing one observing the Panama Canal and of course, being photographed.
So how is a Panama made?
Basically, you take the core fibers of the toquilla plant which are also known as cogollos. The cogollos are the hearts of the palm tree and they're carefully separated by hand and then briefly boiled. Since they're wet, they have to be sun-dried or air dried and once that's done, the fiber is bleached with sulfur smoke to give it the original Panama light color. Sometimes, you can also find uncolored hats but they have a much more yellow appearance. To get really fine hats, the palm tree fibers are split into even finer straw fibers. The weaving of a Panama hat begins at the center of the crown. Once the crown is large enough, it's put in a dry pot and woven on top of a hat block at about waist height. Once the weave extends past the size of the hat block, the weaver adds additional blocks on top and pulls down the weave so it stays in place and it gets that hat shape. The entire process is physically quite tiring and depending on how fine your hat is, it can take anywhere from a few weeks up to several months to create one hat. Once the weaver gets to the edge of the brim, it's typically handed off to other artisans who finish the hat. Traditionally, a Panama hat has a loose back weave which is much more elegant than a cut and sewn edge. So when you want a quality hat, look for that edge because if it's back woven, it's of a much higher quality than if it’s cut and sewn. Typically, you have one person who starts the back weave, a second one that tightens it, and the third one cuts off the loose straw so it has a polished nice finish. If you have a very fine hat, they keep that excess straw and use it to maybe make repairs later. In the next step, the hats are washed and bleached with sulfur to make them softer and more suitable to wear as a wonderful summer hat. Subsequently, the hats are blocked or either brought to the US to head blockers who then get the hat the right shape. In my experience, the hats that come directly out of Ecuador usually have a very small range of different styles and shapes and are very limited. Because of that, quality Panama hats are usually brought raw at this stage to the US or to other countries which are then blocked by an experienced head blocker who can get exactly the shape the customer demands. Traditionally, every Panama hat was woven by hand but due to a high demand, most hats these days are machine woven.
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Perfectly happy with my panama hat from Mayser´s has the back weave, even though it did not cost a fortune. In Europe you don´t need to leave the price tag on so that people see you bought something good.
Some establishments have areas for patrons to store their coats, hats and other outerwear while they're in the building. This is much less common these days as alot of people who regularly wear hats, coats and that keep them on indoors in most cases.
I think the next hat to feature in this series should be the homburg, or western. I love western hats because of the many styles you can rock (but i know its not that formal or dapper but whatevs its my style) and i also fell in love with the homburg because of the formality and have been dying for a guide on one since its small time feature in your fedora vid. But what ever hat thats next im sure ill end up loving it anyways. Great work as usual
Raphael, I'd like to know your opinion on something. I don't own any black clothes, and I wear mostly blues, greens, khakis/browns and sometimes yellow. I'd like to add black to my wardrobe but I'm not really sure about how to pull it off or what to combine it with. Something that I'm interested in are black chelsea or Beatle boots, what tips or warnings do you have about them?
Thanks in advance!
I send most of my time in Australia, where it can be expected to be hot and sunny most of the time. Panamas are unpopular here; they just don't stand up to regular use at all well, and a decent one is _many_ times the cost of proper sun / heat hats made of fur felt, notably the famous Akubra of course. Only the 'Planter' style has a brim wide enough to be truly useful in sunny climes, and the prices for decent examples of the 'Planter' are through the roof!
When I first came to Australia 30 years back, I bought a very good Planter Panama simply because that's what I thought a sun hat was. It was a wreck not much more than a year later, and I bought a proper hat instead - which I have still got and have used virtually every day since!
When you look at their popularity in history, it's worth remembering that Panamas were formerly nowhere near as relatively expensive as they are today, and they could in those days be replaced easily and economically. Not so now.
I guess standard-size Panamas are fine for occasional use in places where there is a limited summer season of heat, and as a summer substitute for other forms of fashion hat, and I agree that they _can_ look good, but they are an incredible waste of money in a really hot place.
I'm glad you mentioned this. I've never owned a Panama hat, but I've worn my Akubras in everything from very cold to very hot, and they are comfortable and durable. In fact, they are durable to a fault...I keep trying to get them to look more "used", and they still look brand new. But I have to say, I do really like the look of a good Panama hat. I just wish they were more durable.
Hence the tendancy for people in the US cowboy/rodeo world toh have two work hats, a felt that lasts a decade or more and a straw that gets replaced every couple of years. It has to be said though, A ustralia, for the most part has a very dry climate, making felt more sensible even in hot weather.
Javier Barrientos Because during the Panama canal construction, Ecuadorian artisans made straw hats to take to the workers and people at that time, who were people from Europe and used, and when they refreshed people they wondered where they were got that hat, and they just said that they gave it to him in panama, and that's why he is mistakenly known as panama hat, but no, the hat is 100% ecuadorian, which even in 2012 was considered as intangible cultural heritage of humanity , and that is why most people know that hat is Ecuadorian, but some do not, we have tried many ways to change the hat name to Ecuador hat, but it seems impossible.
Not upkeep required. Wipe or pat them dry if they get wet, a gentle steam if they get bent out of shape. If you're going to be wearing them every day in hot, sweaty weather it is useful to have at least two so one can always rest and let the sweatband dry out.
There's such a thing as too much of a good thing. This isn't good style or fashion, this is excentricity. You seem like a nice guy, but odd. Dressing and acting like this would be amusing to most people, hardly the desired effect I am looking for.
These hats are incredible. It is an honor that you mention them on your channel. In addition to these hats, in my country we also have spectacular wool fabrics, jackets and leather shoes of the best quality (sorry for those who are against the use of leather). Greetings from Ecuador.
Hello Guy! Yes, we have llama ponchos. You can get them in Otavalo, a small city near Quito, the capital of the country. I have one poncho, it has a conservative design, it's soft and doesn't itch. The people who make these clothes also export them to Europe and Asia, it has an excellent reception. But to be fair, in my opinion, I think that the best llama ponchos are made in Peru (maybe I'm wrong, hope so!, ha!).
From The Panama Hat Company: "Another interesting aspect of its history is the tradition of the black band with which the majority of Panamas are trimmed. This originates from its most popular period in 1901, the year of the death of Queen Victoria."
Other source a bit more clear: "The traditional black band on a Panama hat was added in mourning for Queen Victoria after her death in 1901."
I consider the old black band extremely classy, and reminds me of my grandpa, a great, rustic man that loved the Panamas my godmother (his daughter) gave to him.
Excellent video! I learned so much about Panama Hats; I now feel compelled to add one to my wardrobe. I particularly enjoyed learning the history of Panama Hats. I’m curious as to how many hours it took you to make this extremely informative and fun to watch video. Thanks, Ed
Yes. It is first and foremost a functional hat for dealing with hot, sunny weather, just as a felt hat is built to deal with different weather. The only age that wouldn't be sensible would be very young children whose heads are still growing and who would be off wearing cheaper cotton hats (in the same way wool caps would be more sensible for them in colder weather than a felt fedora/trilby).
Because he was an angel, Castiel initially expressed almost no emotion towards humans, and had little room for disobedience or feelings, as he was driven to follow his orders, although he does reveal some doubts about the morality of his orders, expressing an appreciation for the beauty of humans as Gods creations. As he spends more time with Dean, he develops empathy and affection for him, and eventually for those close to him, and humans in general. Castiels superiors begin to question his loyalty and promote Uriel to oversee him. Castiel eventually rebels against and is ostracised from heaven, leaving him deprived of most of his angelic abilities, forcing him to interact more with humans than he had previously. He is often confused by the finer details of human interaction and is blind to social norms. He allies himself with Dean, and despite his despondency over the absence of his maker and their desperate situation, Castiel continues to fight against the Apocalypse.
After his second resurrection by God, with enhanced abilities, he sees his decisions and support of freewill to have been affirmed. Castiel begins to show pride, while remaining somewhat naive with regard to consequences. Crowley is able manipulate this budding sense of pride to get Castiel to start the angelic civil war. Castiel becomes dedicated to his own decisions, and tends to pass over other opinions, even Deans, in the absence of another clear course. He eventually double-crosses Crowley, taking in the souls of Purgatory alone. He then insists on worship from his former friends. He intends to be an involved god, a better and loving god who will not abandon the world. He renounces his dedication to free will, saying that angels need a firm hand. He is quick to smite those he feels to be hypocritical and unjust, and rewards those who have faith. However, Castiel is being influenced by entities inside him - including leviathans - and his actions become erratic and violent. He realizes he is not strong enough to contain the power, and at a prompt from Sam, he goes to the brothers for help. He is apologetic and humbled; after the souls are out of him he wants to find a way to redeem himself before the brothers. He eventually takes Sams madness on himself, freeing Sam.
In episode 5.14 My Bloody Valentine, Castiel shows his deep affection towards raw meat, eating it in the room and unable to get to famine, one of the four horsemen. Here, we realize that Castiels vessel, Jimmy Novak is desiring the food which he cannot gain access to with the angel possessing him.
Castiels insanity after taking on Sams memories of Hell seems to free him of some of his guilt, though it leaves his mind scattered. He was unwilling to fight due to his belief that he is a "jinx," though Dean convinces him to help kill Dick Roman. He also expresses some fondness for Meg despite the previous animosity that existed between them. However, after getting trapped in Purgatory, Castiel seemed to have regained his sanity, though he admitted there is no way to know for sure. However, his experiences have changed his personality somewhat and he is no longer as aloof as he usually is and has displayed a fondness for human things he took for granted such as watching television, which he never understood before.
4.01 Lazarus Rising.