mens straw sun hats

In the market for the mens straw sun hats, womens straw sun hats, mens summer straw fedora hats, mens large brim straw sun hats, or mens straw sun hats uk?  A timeless fashionable and utilitarian wardrobe staple, a straw hat is made of tightly interwoven synthetic or natural straw materials and is brimmed for sun protection. Straw hats can be worn by both men and women and come in a variety of styles. Straw hats have been worn in Asia and Europe since the Middle Ages and have never ceased to provide sun protection and style. They are extremely popular because straw material is very lightweight and the fact that the hats are woven means there are small openings, which allow for ventilation and cooling during even the hottest of summers.

Straw Hat Material

Are straw hats good for sun protection?

Depending on the tightness of the weave and the size of the holes that inevitably allow some sun rays to shine through, a straw hat can be excellent at providing sun protection or very poor. In general, when shopping for a straw sun hat, it’s best to hold it up to the sun to see how much light can come through. Sun protective straw hats also are usually rated with a UPF factor (Ultraviolet Protection Factor). For maximum protection, we recommend sticking to hats with a UPF 50 factor.

Are Straw Hats Good For Sun Protection?

Straw hats with a tighter weave will allow very minimal sunlight to come through and will provide more sun protection. In general, the finer and tighter the weave of the sun hat, the more work was put into making it and thus the more expensive it will generally be.

Straw Hats Sun Protection

Mens Straw Sun Hats

Types of Straw Hats

Many popular straw-hat styles include the boater style (which can be seen on travel bloggers and Gondolas alike), the lifeguard straw men’s hat (California Dreaming, anyone?), and the popular Fedora and Panama styles, which were originally made popular by former President Theodore Roosevelt during his visit to the Panama vacationers alike.

The Boater Straw Style

The Boater Straw Hat

Men have worn boater hats for much of history traditionally as a formal hat for warm weather. In fact, for a time, there was actually an official day were men would switch from their winter hats to their summer boater hats (traditionally the second Saturday of May) and this day was celebrated as “Straw Hat Day”. Normally made with a stiff straw, a boater hat has a distinct look with a stiff flat crown and brim. Today, many boys’ schools in the UK, Australia, and South Africa still maintain the boater style as part of their uniform. And thanks to Madame Coco Chanel, it has become a classic iconic style for fashionable women and holds a distinct amount of presence amongst travel and fashion bloggers wardrobes. The boater style can be found all over travel pages on Instagram, especially among those traveling throughout Europe. Been to Venice? The gondolas officially wear boater hats as a nod to the iconic style. The boater hat is a great unisex option that is timeless and fashionable. However, because of its typical short brim, it isn’t always the best sun protective choice (some brim is always better than no brim though).

Panama Straw Hats

Panama Straw Hat

Due to their ease of wear and breathability, Panama hats are the quintessential vacationer’s hat. Popularly worn by men with a light silk or linen suit, the Panama hat is made traditionally from Toquilla straw (which is light-colored). As with many other straw hats, the tighter the weave, the more work and thus the higher the price tag. Panama hats are extremely popular with vacationers and tourists as they provide sun protection and classic style. It was no surprise they became popular after images of former President Roosevelt wore a series of them whilst visiting the Panama Canal in 1906. Those images projected a confident, stylish, and sporty man, the perfect purveyor of the Panama straw hat. Although traditionally worn by men, women have also taken to this style. Today, celebrities like Amal Clooney and Khloe Kardashian pair the Panama straw hat to the top of their stylish ensembles.

Fedora Straw Hat

Fedora Straw Hat White

Many people confuse Fedora Hats and Panama hats. Aren’t they the same, many ask? Well, in some cases yes. Panama hats are defined by their material (Toquilla straw) whereas shape defines Fedoras. All Panama hats are made with straw, whereas fedora hats can also be made with other materials such as felt. A fedora has a low crown, pinched front, and moderately wide brim, which make it perfect for sun protection and very stylish. When most people think of Panama hats, they think of Panama hats in the Fedora style. However, there are some Panama hats that are made in a boater shape. Thus, men’s straw hats can oftentimes be a Panama Fedora hat, but if made with any other material, they would not be considered a Panama hat. Straw fedora hats compliment both men and women, and are top choices for tourists as they are lightweight, provide sun protection, and easily match many outfits without taking away from their style.

Floppy Beach Straw Hat

Floppy Beach Straw Sun Hat

When most people think of a straw hat, they think of the ever so popular floppy beach straw hat worn by women. With broad brims, the floppy beach hat provides wide sun protection and is a great compliment to any bikini and cover-up. In fact, the brims can be up to 10” wide, providing even shoulder sun protection. Because floppy sun hats can be found at many different price points, one must pay special attention to the UPF factor as well as the tightness of the weave if sun protection is important to them. It is extremely common that beachgoers get sunburnt, especially on the top of their heads (their scalps) whilst wearing a cheaply made and inexpensive floppy hat. That is not to say they are all cheaply made, just that so many are so one must be careful when selecting.

The Lifeguard Straw Hat

Lifeguard Sun Hat

Made famous by its namesake, Lifeguards, along the coast of California, the lifeguard hat has a very distinctive high crown and adjustable chin strap. LifeGuard hats are generally made with very thick straw and loose weave and are not usually the best choice for those considered with sun protection. They are, however, very stylish, and provide moderate protection from the sun’s harsh rays. Don’t be fooled by the name, however, this hat is popular with gardeners, fishermen, and lifeguards alike.

The Garden Straw Hat

Garden Straw Hat

Straw hats for gardening are extremely popular for their lightweight qualities. Most gardening straw hats have chinstraps and are popular among those who want to consider activity when choosing a straw hat (they don’t want their hats flying off whilst bending over or doing other activities).

The Derby Straw Hat

Derby Straw Hat

Straw hats take on high fashion, especially for women. Popularized by Audrey Hepburn in 1961 in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, the lampshade style is made with a fine straw and steamed to be shaped with a lampshade crown. The wide brim provides excellent sun protection and the dramatic style adds oomph to any outfit.

Best Straw Hats for 2020

Trying to avoid the suns harsh rays or trying to make a fashion statement? Whether you are looking to avoid skin damage, block out the heat, or just look plain stylish, here are our top picks for straw hats for Summer 2020.

Straw Boater Hat Guide – Formal Summer Hats for Men

June 24, 2019/16 Comments/in HatsOther AccessoriesSummerVideosWardrobe /by Preston Schlueter

The straw boater is a classic and distinguished warm weather hat for men; read on to learn how to wear it with flair.

What Makes A Boater Hat?

Straw boaters are most typically made from a type of stiff flat straw referred to as sennit. This can be any type of flat and naturally colored straw, and it’s typically plaited or braided at angles to construct a boater.

The finished boater will be slightly elliptical in shape, and will also have a flat brim and a flat crown (also known as a telescope crown). A boater will most typically feature a solid or striped grosgrain ribbon that runs around the crown.

Speaking of terminology, the boater is also known by a wide variety of other names including the basher, the skimmer, and the sennit hat, among others.


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Boater Straw Hats with two ribbons
Boater Straw Hats with multicolored ribbons

Boater Hat History

Interestingly, the boater was worn by women and children as early as the 1860s, but it wasn’t adopted as a staple of menswear until about 20 years later in the 1880s. Much as the fedora was also originally a woman’s hat, so too was the boater. Once adopted into a man’s wardrobe, however, it quickly became popular as a formal summer hat, the warm weather alternative to the Homburg.

It experienced its greatest period of popularity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and was most frequently used not just as an everyday summer hat, but also for boating and sailing activities, hence its most common name. Boaters have also been seen in a variety of other applications, however; as one example, given that FBI agents like Melvin Purvis were frequently photographed wearing boater hats, they developed a reputation as being something of an unofficial uniform for the FBI prior to World War II. This has been immortalized in movies like “The Sting” for example.

Boater Hats at a Baseball game - Walter Johnson & Calvin Coolidge
Boater Hats at a Baseball game – Walter Johnson & Calvin Coolidge

Since 1952, the boater has also been part of the uniform of the Princeton University band. You can see this in such places as a cover of Sports Illustrated magazine from October of 1955. Other notable wearers of the boater include entertainers like Maurice Chevalier and Harold Lloyd, as well as businessman John Jacob Astor IV, who was killed in the sinking of the Titanic. Fashion designer Coco Chanel was also fond of wearing boaters, and she did a lot to keep them popular among women in the early 20th century.

Straw Hat Day – An Interesting Tradition

Back in the days when it was proper etiquette for all men to wear hats whenever they were out of doors, Straw Hat Day was the day when men switched from their felt hats to their straw hats, seen as the beginning of summer. Of course, the exact date of straw hat day could vary from place to place. As you might have guessed, its cold weather counterpart would be Felt Hat Day, which usually occurred in September or October in most locations. In some cities, groups of rambunctious young men would seize and destroy any straw hat that was worn after Felt Hat Day in the fall.

Heyday of the Boater Hat
Heyday of the Boater Hat

In New York City in 1922, this destructive habit would escalate into the Straw Hat Riot, which lasted eight days, involved a mob of around a thousand hat destroyers, and resulted in a number of arrests and injuries. So as you can see, hats were taken much more seriously back in the day than they are now. Let’s just hope if you wear a hat stylishly, it doesn’t incite any riots!

Where might you still see boaters being worn?

Unfortunately, boaters are a bit of a rare sight these days, although they can still be spotted in certain settings. Examples would include sailing or rowing events as we mentioned before, as well as theatrical or musical performances. You may recall that straw boaters are a standard feature of many barbershop quartets, for example. Boaters are also frequently seen as part of school uniforms in the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.

Barbershop Quartet
Barbershop Quartet

A notable example of this would be at Harrow school in London, where boys wear boaters with shallow crowns and wide brims that are frequently referred to as Harrow hats. Because of a historical association between boaters and political rallies held in warmer months, you’ll sometimes see inexpensive boaters made from foam or plastic at political rallies in America, even today.

Where to Purchase a Boater

Despite the fact that boaters are increasingly uncommonly worn by the typical man, their persistence (especially within the fiels outlined above) has meant that a number of retailers still offer them. As an example, the boater featured in the companion video to this article is produced by Scala, and can be found on Amazon.

How To Pull Off a Boater Hat

These days, many men are hesitant to wear traditional hat styles for one simple reason: they’re afraid that they’re going to look out of place. Truth be told, this fear isn’t completely without merit. After all, if the hat doesn’t match the wearer’s outfit in terms of formality or doesn’t match his face shape well, things are going to look a little bit off. However, confidence is key. So if you’re armed with the basic guidelines we’re about to give, you should be able to pull off a boater with no trouble.

Boater Hat and club blazer
Boater Hat and club blazer
  • As we mentioned earlier, the boater is a fairly formal summer hat roughly equivalent in terms of formality to the Homburg. As such, it’s going to look best in its traditional setting with a blazer, or with a summer suit of matching jacket and trousers.
Preston wearing an ensemble perfect for Warm Weather Black Tie
Preston wearing an ensemble perfect for Warm Weather Black Tie
  • Also, given that the Homburg is the traditional headwear choice for black-tie ensembles most of the year, the boater can also be worn with black-tie in the summer. A hatband of black grosgrain will look best with a full tuxedo, but warm-weather black-tie ensembles can be livened up a bit more with a colorful hat band.
  • Given that the boater will often feature a fairly substantial brim, remember to consider how it relates to your face shape. In general, though, wider brims will complement long oval faces, whereas narrower brims are going to complement squat rounder faces. Meanwhile, as you might have guessed, men with strong and chiseled facial features will look good in almost any style of hat including the boater.


While the boater takes a bit more confidence to pull off these days than the Panama hat or the straw porkpie, it can certainly be done–and now that you’ve got our tips for wearing one well, you should feel free to “rock the boat” a little bit this summer. What do you think of the boater hat? Share with us in the comments below.

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