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Angel Fire, NM

Evolution of Straw dress hats - Today's Straws

Evolution of Straw hats and Felt hats - Optimo Dress hatsThe Optimo straw hat, although at one time the favored Panama hat shape and style, is now considered a somewhat conservative shape, and demand in recent years has lessened. The Optimo is easily recognized by its un-dented, full blocked crown with a narrow lengthwise ridge.

The appearance of the surface of the straw hat is a direct result of the type of straw material used, the texture and the weave. The manner of weave or braid fashions the style and variation, and is the major contributor to the quality of the hat. Visibly demonstrated in the dressier straws such as Panamas and Milans, the most attractive optimum quality hats are those with the finest and most even weave.

Straw hats are produced in an assortment of colors, ranging from the traditional bleached whiteness of the un-dyed Shantung or Panama through a choice of tans. The Milan straws are available in numerous colors, including tan, black, gray, navy, brown, and more. Additionally, an unlimited number of differing color effects can be achieved with interchangeable hook-on bands, existing in a multitude of patterns and solid colors. Changing the band truly changes and personalizes a hat, tailoring it to ones taste, complexion, and hair. The color of band can transform a straw hat, from one that might not blend with a certain color suit, into one that harmonizes. For instance, natural is not generally considered suitable with a gray suit, but blue is; a blue band transforms the natural straw hat into an attractive accessory and accent to the gray suit. Changeable hook-on bands also enable you to harmonize a straw hat with a tie or shirt.

The quality of the straw and fineness of the weave or braid is reflected in the straw hat appearance. The expertise and skill of the weaver in producing evenness and uniformity of weave or braid and the proficiency exercised in bleaching, dyeing, blocking, and finishing, are major factors to quality.

The smart and tidy appearance of the interior trim, sweatband, tip sticker or pad, and the printing of the dyes enhance the over-all attractiveness of a straw hat.

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Felt dress hats - read more


History of Straw hats and Felt hats furnishes enlightening detail, beginning with interesting accounts of dress hats in the early years, through the roaring 20's gangster fedoras, includes features on golf and movie celebrities' hats, and highlights some original and contemporary hatmakers.