Tips and tricks to keep your straw hats ready to go and sharp all season (and year!) long.
In my neck of the woods down here in Charlotte, it’s going to hit the 90° temperature mark this week. While plenty of folks wear their felts and ONLY felts (no judgment here) year-round, I’ll be making my transition to straw (at least in the daytime sunshine). If you’ve never worn straw before, or already own some of our straw styles and are getting ready to break them out for the first time this year, here are some quick tips on how to get them season ready and make sure they last all summer long.
If your straw hat has been in storage since last October, the first thing it needs is some TLC—and in most cases, that means a quick steam bath. Straw stored for a long while can become dry and brittle. So if it doesn’t see some moisture (emphasis on some, more on that later), it can easily crack or split on you. If you have a steamer, a quick thirty seconds of steam all over the straw will be just right. If you don’t have a steamer, place it on your bathroom counter and run the shower hot and let the steam work its’ magic that way. No need to overdo it, a good minute or so of steam will do the trick.
Straw can be tricky to clean, but I’ve found a lightly damp (and I mean very lightly damp) Magic Eraser or the soft side of a kitchen sponge will help remove any dust and some light marks and stains. Go very light on the moisture to start, you can always progressively add more, you just don't want it to become so wet that you start to misshape the straw. In my experience straws are much more difficult to clean than felts, however there is a trade off, as I’ve seen much less stains set in on straws than felts.
Beware the RAIN!
I will shout this one to the heavens until I'm hoarse: Your straw is not your rain hat! I’m telling you this now, and I mean it. If your hat is going to get wet, and I mean really really wet—it’s going to lose its shape, likely permanently. I’ve seen clients wear their straw in the ocean (no!), leave it by the side of the pool (no! no!) and wear it during a thunderstorm (BIG no! no! no!). Straw will lose its density and finish once it's soaked or experiences any kind of heavy moisture. While a quick steam is healthy and good for straw, getting it sopping wet is a death sentence. Think about what happens when a newspaper gets soaked? Same idea. Don’t say we didn’t tell you so.
Don’t leave it in the car!
Your favorite straw hat is NOT your spare umbrella, it’s not your picnic blanket, it's not your farmers market tote bag. So please, do not leave it in your car. The hot temperature inside your vehicle will absolutely destroy the straw and shape. Treat your hat like you would your child. Bring it inside with you and store it properly overnight or for any long periods of time.
Don’t sit on it!
You’d think we wouldn’t have to say this, right? You can’t casually re-steam your straw hat that you sat on for three and a half hours back into shape. It ain’t happening. That thing will be crushed and then you’ll be crushed when we let you know that we’ve had to add it to the straw hat graveyard. Seems obvious, but there's a reason I'm typing this out, ya heard?