Kempt

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The Basics of Buying a Panama Hat

  • Najib Benouar

Here at Kempt HQ, we often receive letters from our readers—most of it adoring fan mail—but every so often we get a question from an inquiring soul who we feel the need to help. This week, we received a letter from a reader who was looking to buy his first Panama hat but wasn’t sure where to start.

We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the Panama hat is the perfect summer accomplice. But before you take the plunge, you should know a few basics: these aren’t just any straw hats—they’re hand-woven toquilla straw (from Ecuador, not Panama). It’s not all fedoras; there are a handful of classic styles to choose from. And you’ve got a major decision to make—whether you’re going to roll it or keep it crisp.

Allow us to expound on these three tenets of buying a Panama hat.»