How to Wear a Panama Hat: Style Guide for Men


It’s summer! The need to dress cool and light comes with it. So we’re likely going to see more board shorts, cotton and linen clothes, and the well-loved summer accessory, which is the Panama hat!

Just to give you a brief idea, if you are not yet aware of what a Panama hat is, it is a hat that is finely woven from straw harvested from the toquilla palm plant. This plant is found in South America.

The Panama hat is usually light in color. Aside from that, it also has other qualities that make it perfect for summer, such as being lightweight and breathable. These are just a few reasons why a Panama hat is the most appropriate choice for the hot and sunny weather.

Different Styles of A Panama Hat


There are different variations of Panama hats, and their style is determined by the shape and size of the brim and crown. The most classic and widely-used types of the Panama hat are the following: fedora, Optimo, planter, and golf. We will discuss the differences of each below.


There are fedora-shaped Panama hats, which are perfect for gunning for a classic yet modern look. These hats are adorned with grosgrain ribbons and leather sweatbands, which are the two most famous trademarks of a Fedora hat.


The Optimo-shaped Panama hats were a staple during the early 20th century. It is still very appealing nowadays, for it gives off a distinctly British ex-pat vibe. You can easily distinguish this variation because of its top seam that can be found along the middle of the rounded crown.


This variation of the Panama hat is known for its rounded and molded crown. It also features an extended bream to give an added sun protection.


Golf is an outdoor sport that is ideally played under the bright sun. This is why golf Panama hats were designed with the golfers in mind. This variation features an open, decorative weave that you can see along the sides of the molded crown. It is made like this so that the hat can give better airflow.

What Can Men Wear with a Panama Hat?


According to Dapperfam, the best thing about the Panama hat is its very versatile design, which means that it can technically be worn with anything and still give you that elegant and sophisticated look. Here are some looks that you can cop with a Panama hat to provide you with an idea.

Linen Suit, Beach Shorts, and Cream Buckskin Shoes

You can wear a Panama hat to complete a Riviera style. Since it is woven, it completes the summer vibe when you wear it along with your linen suit, beach shorts, and cream buckskin shoes. But, believe it or not, you will be emanating a Hawaii vibe with this one!

Semi-Formal Coat and Pants

Who says that the Panama hat is only for a casual look? You can also use it to make your semi-formal coat and pants look modern yet classy and sophisticated yet chick. Just make sure that you wear a brighter-colored coat and pants so that they will harmoniously blend with the light-colored Panama hat.

Chinos, Brogues, and Cashmere Polo

Planning to wear your Panama hat at a summer wedding? The smartest option is to pair it with Chinos, Brogues, and Cashmere Polo. This combination is not only perfect when the sun is at its highest peak, but can also be the look of the day when the moon shines. Its amazing style is even more evident when you’re on the beach and have the waves as your background.

Loafers and Linen

Contrary to belief, the Panama hat does not only fit in beach settings. In fact, you can achieve a laid-back aura if you pair it with linens and loafers.

Considerations When Wearing a Panama Hat


Shape of Face

Keep in mind that not all hats fit every face shape. As a rule of thumb, a Panama hat with a larger brim suits someone housing a round face. Smaller brims, on the other hand, are those with smaller oblong faces or those with smaller forms. Do not be afraid to mix and match so you’ll know what is suitable for your face.

Size of the Head

Like our normal clothes, a hat will also be a valuable fashion asset if it fits properly in your head. Make sure to buy something that’s too loose and won’t be blown off by the wind while you’re strolling or whenever you bend down to pick something.

At the same time, don’t choose a Panama Hat that is too tight for your head. This will only make you uncomfortable because it’s jamming the flow of blood.

Measure of Fineness

The very first question that comes into mind when buying a Panama hat is the quality of weaving. The best way to measure this is to count the weave rows per inch. This is applicable both horizontally and vertically. The higher the result, the tighter and stronger it is.

Another test that you can do to test its quality is by pouring water on the hat. If it doesn’t leak a drop, then that Panama hat is indeed tightly woven.

Color of Straw

Believe it or not, the straw color is not only for aesthetics. It also says something about the quality of the Panama hat.

When you see something that is very very white, it most likely is a fake Panama hat. Experts revealed that this might be the famous peroxide-bleach Panama hat manufactured in Cuenca. Keep in mind that the original Montecristi hat is more on the ivory side. There are even some that will have grayish or reddish straws. The more consistent the color is, the better. However, there are people that prefer the inconsistency since its style adds an accent to the hat.

And there you have it! We’ve just shared some of the different ways to wear a Panama hat. We hope that this hat style guide will help you ace the look that you are gunning for!