With the British Summer finally taking hold (sic), it was time to put ‘Indi’ to bed. He had been a fine companion during the cooler days of Spring, but the warmer weather had made our partnership rather sweaty and so I once again visited the dead cat, and fine gentleman, of Bates Hats to find something more suitable to continue my hat related social experiments… A Panama.
Once again, the knowledgeable Jean-Luc was able to enlighten me to the history of these weaved wonders and even showed me one of the finest examples that Bates’ stock, the SuperFino, which can take up to five months to weave and retails for £1450.
The SuperFino was a true thing of beauty, it was as soft as silk and weighed barely more than a feather. I, very, carefully handed it back to Jean-Luc and went about the business of choosing my new Summer friend.
There are many varieties of Panama, and I highly recommend trying each one on to get a feel for what suits your head. I dismissed the traditional folding Panama for fear I would look too much like one of Al Capone’s henchman from The Untouchables and instead plumped for a Fedora style (and inevitably looking like a bad guy from an Indiana Jones movie).
If the idea of folding your Panama is something that appeals, there is no need to worry which style you choose as the majority of hats are foldable/rollable as Jean-Luc kindly demonstrated.
It felt good to be wearing a hat again. There was definitely a sense that something had been missing when I left the house in the mornings. ‘Indi’ had become something that I just wore, it was matter of fact, part of my wardrobe and to have to leave him behind due to the heat had felt sad. Not quite ‘Wilson’ drifting away from the raft in Castaway sad, but I was conscious of the loss.
You can follow my day to day adventures with my Panama at twitter.com/stuartwitts or via the hashtag #lovemyhat, and if you feel inspired to purchase your very own quality headpiece, visit bates-hats.com and don’t forget to tell them I sent you 😉