Panama hats, or toquilla straw hats, are high-quality brimmed straw hats that actually originated in Ecuador as early as the 1600s. Despite their misnomer, the hats became wildly popular during the mid 1800s and made their international debut at the 1855 World’s Fair in Paris. President Teddy Roosevelt was even photographed in this iconic hat during his trip to the building site of the Panama Canal, perhaps further cementing the name “Panama Hat” in our hearts and minds.
Mr. Roosevelt was onto something, as these light colored, lightweight, and breathable hats are also great sun protection. Today Panama hats come in many shapes such as fedoras, ascot caps, and gambler styles. On the golf course or with a summer-weight suit, they are a functional and enduring look. With tried and true brands like Scala, Bigalli, Austral, and Tommy Bahama, you’re sure to find the quality and price to fit your unique style.