The straw hat - a classic summer staple in any man or woman's wardrobe. A practical piece of headwear made to stay cool and shaded from the sun while providing an easy sophistication to any look. There are countless of straw hats under the sun, but there is no other type of straw hat that exudes elegance, confidence, and exquisite craftsmanship than the Panama hat.
Only hats woven in Ecuador can be called a Panama hat. Traditionally, the straw used to make a Panama hat comes from the leaves of the Toquilla palm. The palm's soft, flexible and durable fibers are perfect for weaving and of course, wearing on one's head. The quality of a Panama hat is measured by the weave count of the straw. The most common weave is called the Brisa weave (photographed below) and the quality of a hat is measured by grades. A grade 3 Brisa weave Panama hat takes only a couple of days to make unlike the finer weave, grade 12 Brisa weave hat that can take several weeks to complete. Continue reading