Montecristi Panama Straw Hats, Part I: Fall in Love

Montecristi Panama Straw Hats,  Part I:  Fall in Love

I love summer. If you had been through several Canadian winters, you would love it as well. Love it so much you might start to think that global warming is not so bad after all.

Each and every summer I’m like a kid left unsupervised with a jar of candies. In my case the candy jar is filled to the brim with the unrestricted access to credit cards.

I am dedicating the contents of that candy jar this summer to Panama Straw Hats. A friend with a gift of finding ridiculously expensive, and somewhat impractical, accessories for men, pointed me in the right direction: Montecristi Panama Straw Hats.

It was love at first sight. Sensing a trend here?

From top to bottom: Optimo Panama Hat from Brent Black; a Panama Hat spotted in an unlikely location… Sweden (Photo by Stuart Heath on flickr); Harry Truman’s Panama Hat; a Panama Hat rolled up in its box (both images: Wikipedia Commons).

I have always been a sucker for quality, handcrafted items. Created lovingly, perhaps with laborious effort, using time-proven techniques. By master artisans who learned the trade at their father’s knee or with their mother guiding their hands. Taking on the tradition for family pride and with complete ownership of the final product, start to finish. Furthermore, if the production is confined to a small, remote part of he world, even better.

And boy, how well  a Montecristi Panama Hat fits the description:.

  • Laborious effort — check
  • Time-proven techniques (pre-Columbian) — check
  • Master artisans — check, check, check
  • Produced in a small, remote part of the world (remote Ecuadorian Andes Mountains) — check

I don’t pretend to be a straw hat aficionado (yet), but I will share with you the beginning of my learning curve. Here are sources that provide a much detailed and through description of exactly what  you can expect from a  Montecristi, and how it comes into being.

So, with no further ado, here is an incomplete list of background information:

Turn on the overhead fan, pour a little something over ice with lime or a sprig of mint, put it at your elbow and stay tuned — I will introduce you to the best sources for your Montecristi hat in our next post.