In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt was photographed while overseeing construction at the Panama Canal and the picture went telegramal (similar to ‘viral’, but for 1906). From then on, the style of hat he was wearing was called the Panama Hat. Did you know that? No? Wow…well neither did I. While I would probably be voted in the Top 5 People Not To Be Put In Charge of Construction of A Major World Commerce Pathway, I do love Panama hats. They are not fedoras (God no); they are not sombreros either (unless it’s Cinco de Drinko and you flattened it in a drunken stupor). It’s the distinctive shape that makes it. It makes everybody’s cranium look a little bit more cool.
I’ll be honest. I was never one to lust after a hat except that time I went on the search for a perfect Gondolier-style hat during my fifteenth birthday trip. Recently, however, Panama hats have been haunting and taunting me—probably starting with dear friend and Queen of Marbella Ashley Sixto—and I was on a mission. The gravitational pull first dragged me into Free People, where a gorgeous dark weave hat was waiting. I tried it on and it hit all the sweet spots: it was sturdy, it was summery, it fit well, and it matched my outfit at the time. It was also 78 dollars. I convinced myself that I didn’t want it and left the store with empty arms. Then came the memories. I remembered the way its rim tilted ever so slightly upward. I imagined topping my head with it to perfect an outfit of a patterned dress and sandals. I created thousands of ways to wear it until I had reverse buyer’s remorse.
Well, after all that ruminating, I caught up with Man Repeller and to no surprise, the beautiful Panama Leandra was flaunting was from none other than J. Crew. (I forgot to mention I had been to J. Crew and tried on every hat, but no buy). That was it; I was done being teased by it and on a shopping trip with my favorite birth mother, I snagged the hat. The last one in-store, might I add. It was not the price of a year’s supply of tea, and I had thought so long about cost-per-wear that I was sure it was a good piece to buy. CC: the human mind can convince itself of anything.
To wear my conquest on a particularly windy day, a loose beach cover-up seemed like the perfect option. I easily transformed it into an acceptable piece of clothing by layering a slip dress underneath and what better to wear on a windy day than a hat? Nothing, right!? So there I was, more On The Run than Beyonce and Jay Z, around the park after my hat and holding my dress and thanking my shoes for being ever reliable. I don’t regret my choices, however, because it’s still better than drugs.
In fact, I’ve compiled a list of reasons why a hat is not only better than narcotics, but recommended no matter the weather.
1. It protects you from the sun thus reducing chances of sun damage/wrinkles/spots/third eyes.
2. Makes laypeople such as you and me marginally better than everyone else because of a vague resemblance to Pharrell.
3. Is fantastic for impromptu games, such as picking a name out of a hat. (see also: bunny, white dove)
4. Can be used as a salad bowl when the going gets tough and Whole Foods runs out of containers. #WIN
5. The good ones are made out of plants, therefore granting good will from other plants to you. In return for your understanding, trees will no longer allow birds to perch on their branches and defecate on that car you just washed. Hooray!
6. Breaking into a Catholic mass, pretending to be a volunteer, and securing some funds for your own pocket.
Kidding. I’m kidding about number 6.
Hat | J. Crew
Dress | Target
Shoes | Zara
Bag | Zara
Sunglasses | RayBan
Bracelet | handmade