A History of Sun Hats

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In recent decades, hats have come to be regarded almost solely as a practical item. We wear them   generally only in extremes of temperatures: on the coldest winter days to keep us warm and on the hottest summer days to shade our head and eyes from the sun. 

But it hasn’t always been this way!

Up until the 1960s any self-respecting gentleman would have considered a hat a vital part of his daily attire. Whatever the weather was doing, every man would complete his outfit with a hat. 

Today, the type of hat a man wears is mainly determined by both the temperature and his personal style. Prior to this, it was more usual for the type of hat to be determined by the job and social class of the wearer.

One of the main exceptions to this was the straw hat. Straw hats have been worn in Europe and Asia since the middle ages, with the key purpose of protecting one’s head from the sun and avoiding heatstroke. 

Traditionally, the boater was one of the most popular types of straw hat in the UK. It was first introduced in the late Victorian era, and enjoyed a decades-long heyday as informal summer headwear. It was particularly popular amongst sportsman and boaters who would spend large parts of the day out in the sunshine.

Over the years, the boater began to be seen as a more formal hat and became a common part of school uniforms, thus bringing it’s more general popularity to a close. 

The boater was replaced by other types of sunhat such as the Panama hat and summer weight fedoras and trilby hats. 

Keen to benefit from a sunhat this season but don’t know how to pair it with your bespoke tailoring? Here are our thoughts on getting it right