Monday, August 18, 2008

So I Found My Hat for Vacation

On July 22nd I did a post about wanting to find a good Panama hat.

Thanks for all the great suggestions of where to find them.

I looked at a lot of high-end options and mass-produced options but the one problem that I couldn’t get out of my head was the image of my new hat blowing down the beach never to be seen again.

In the end I found the perfect hat at (of all unexpected places) Marc Jacobs on Mercer St.

It only cost around $40 so if I lost it I was only going to cry a little. What really sold me on the hat was the “fiber” it was made of and how “crinkly/wrinkly” it could get. For $40 I can only imagine the hat is made from recycled Styrofoam coffee cups, but I’m OK with that.

To be honest, after wearing it for a while I am still debating if it is really me. I love the romantic Euro-allure of it but when I’m playing on the beach (and I mean playing hard – like paddle ball with a nine year old) it is hard for me to feel right in anything other than a Yankees cap and wrap-stemmed RayBan Aviator sunglasses.

For me, style is about not being afraid to try something new but being honest enough with yourself that even though “it” might be “fashionable”, “it” might not be you.


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  1. Hundrednorth

    August 18, 2008 at 10:17 am

    Damn skippy. I’ve been trying to do “harem” pants all throughout winter and spring…bought and returned probably a dozen pairs…I just can’t pull it off. And if it doesn’t feel right with me, it’s not going to look right in anyone else’s view. I’m happy to just stick with my skirts and skinny pants for now.

  2. Jessica

    August 18, 2008 at 10:38 am

    but that’s precisely the point of good style! it’s the finding a way to makes something fashionable feel like you. i think there are always a few pieces that will not ever fit a particularly wardrobe. However, I think with the right combination, or juxtaposition, or alternation, or fresh perspective, almost anything can be made to feel personal by the wearer!
    don’t give up on the hat!!

  3. Benji

    August 18, 2008 at 10:51 am

    What you write is so true Sart. You should write more, your words are a marvel!

  4. smell-bfor-rain

    August 18, 2008 at 10:55 am


  5. gusi

    August 18, 2008 at 11:09 am

    i would have loved to send u an original panama hat… from panama! only 22 bones and it will last u a lifetime!

  6. Jamie Watson

    August 18, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Good to know such a hard worker takes vacations.

  7. Karen

    August 18, 2008 at 11:25 am

    Dress for the life you live, not the life you WANT. Wish I’d learned this before I turned 40! Cute pics of your beach bunnies!

  8. jana

    August 18, 2008 at 11:33 am

    That is a very nice hat, I'm a little surprised it came from Marc Jacobs. I retrospectively reccomend Lock & CO. I made a post about them here:

    Anyways, you are so very correct in saying that just because something may be Chic doesn't mean you should try it. I felt that way about high-waisted pants/shorts, and tried so very hard to make them work but in the end, it was not meant to be…

    PS – is that the Vineyard?

  9. Anonymous

    August 18, 2008 at 11:36 am

    I love how you love your kids and the pictures with your kids- just reminds me (as a mom to 2 little boys) that fashion is accessible and not for Other People.

    After being to Europe (Stockholm) and back to suburbia in California, I am wondering about the definition of style, and how I (or anyone) comes to the conclusion of what Looks Good. More and more, I am realizing that what Looks Good is what Looks Good For Me.

    Thanks for your site! Always an inspiration.

  10. Giblees Fine Clothing

    August 18, 2008 at 11:43 am

    Good point on how style is unique and trying something different but also being able to try things and knowing when it looks good or bad.

  11. The Paris Eye

    August 18, 2008 at 11:43 am

    You are right in being honest with yourself about your personal style, yet I still encourage you to play around with the hat, plus who says you have to stick to only one kind of hat at any given time. I bought a cheap straw hat in Montmartre for the exact same reasons you stated. I was so afraid of a strong wind taking my hat away. Since buying it, I have been methodically breaking it in to be more relaxed and natural and it has been great for my summer holidays. I think a ball cap is perfectly suitable for the beach. Stay open to the idea and remember fall is coming. New hat season.

  12. S

    August 18, 2008 at 11:56 am

    Agreed fully with your style theory. And it IS a wonderful hat.

  13. Anonymous

    August 18, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    Well said, especially the last sentence. Sometimes, the clothes that you wear just doesn’t suit your style. That’s what I always see in school. My friends and I just labelled these people as FD(Fashion Disaster, sorry to say that) but we do admire their courage, as what the author have said, they have tried something new and style is about not being afraid in trying new things.

  14. miss cavendish

    August 18, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    The hat is good, but the beach is fantastic. I grew up on the PEI beaches and can hear its siren call through all the computer screen pixels . . .

  15. Anonymous

    August 18, 2008 at 12:27 pm

    Last year in Hawaii I took my husband into a hat store in Lahaina. We chose a great Panama hat for him and he wore it that night to our end-of-vacation luau. I took a close-up snap of him in his Hawaiian shirt, leis, and the hat and he looks GREAT! It looks like it might have been from decades ago and the warm light of the sunset gives it a special glow. I will always treasure this picture of my love of 40+ years.

  16. suzanne nelson

    August 18, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    Although I agree with your style theory and i so agree with the wise words of Karen 11:25, I think you just need some time to get used to the panama and to find the right occasion and clothes to wear with it. Stick to the cap on the beach but take the panama out to dinner or sight-seeing. Seeing you fine features in the Gap ad,i think you will look great in that hat.
    Personal style should evolve with ease and grace but that takes time and trial and error but i can’t believe you’ve made a mistake with a classic like a panama.

  17. Scott P.

    August 18, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    The panama looks okay, but I prefer a straw hat in the summer myself. Specifically the Brixton Castor hat. As Sart says, wide brimmed hats just aren’t “me”, so when I went to the Brixton boat hat I was amazed at how comfortable it felt. Judging by the number of compliments I received when my wife and I went out this weekend lots of other folks liked it, too!

  18. Anonymous

    August 18, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    The hat is beautiful — would love to see a pic of you wearing it!

    The Panama is such a good, classic look — sometimes getting used to wearing any hat takes a little time. But if a hat suits you, and I suspect this one does, then it’s worth the momentary anxiety.

    I too have one of the Marc Jacobs hats — it’s a great shape, but the “straw” is polyester, and it’s very hot. So literal, if not figurative, coolness would be one advantage to going for the real thing. But for now, at least you’ve got the MJ one so you can get used to the look.


  19. Anonymous

    August 18, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    panama hats are from ecuador

  20. Thomas

    August 18, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    I have been thinking about Panama hats for months! Where can I find a good selection in Boston?

  21. The Storialist

    August 18, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    There’s a lot of happiness in these photos! I completely agree with your comments regarding fashion here. Clothes are costumes that help us perform ourselves, I guess.

    Enjoy vacation!

  22. veronique

    August 18, 2008 at 1:21 pm

    Maybe the hat isn’t right for the beach but it will feel perfect next time you go to Milan or somewhere.
    Frankly I don’t wear the exact same things in suburbia, where I live, and in Paris. For me, style is about wearing the right things at the right place.

  23. Jorge from W Palm Beach

    August 18, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    I purchased a Borsalino straw hat years ago, and I have yet to wear it. The reason? Once you put it on, it is either on your head, or in your hand- there is nowhere else to put it! I normally wear bucket/crusher hats that I can stick in my pocket or my beach bag, or just plan baseball hats. Maybe after this I will make a point to wear my hat, and break it in. Jorge from W Palm Beach

  24. Win-ni (Malaysia)

    August 18, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    love the last paragraph of the post! you have just placed my thoughts into words so brilliantly!

    keep up the good blog, and hope to bump into you again in paris this sept!

    xx Win-Ni from Malaysia

  25. John Powers

    August 18, 2008 at 2:02 pm

    Hats are funny sometimes it takes wearing them a while to really become “you.” It’s subtle, sometimes they never do, but a hat very much like it easily does.

  26. lisa

    August 18, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    Love the hat! And I definitely agree with your closing sentiment.

  27. Ana María

    August 18, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    yes, as stated above, “panama” hats are made in ecuador, specifically in the town of montecristi, in the coastal region. they are made of paja toquilla which grows in plantations nearby. very organic product, hand made by families that carry on the tradition for ages. you should be able to get an excellent quality hat for $40 if bought in the right place. see

  28. Anonymous

    August 18, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    My heart sank a little when I read that $40 was equivalent to styrofoam cups and not really a big deal when it blows out to sea.

    Then I read the rest and thought: well, style below the $40 mark can be the “it” that works for me.

    Just keepin it real on the street here! Love the blog.

  29. Vintaggeria

    August 18, 2008 at 3:30 pm

    I bought on a trip to Italy (in Siena) a hat that intensely resembled yours, only mine was 8 euros ;)
    it seemed to be the rage there, everybody wore one. and I can understand why, it’s easily “matchable” and what I liked most about it was that it gave me a strong summer/holiday feel. “Gave”, ’cause unfortunately I lost it two weeks ago on the way to the seaside and haven’t yet forgiven myself for it.
    I keep thinking about who might have found it and hope that whoever it is, it’s somebody who appreciates it as much as I did. It’s probably not the case, but it makes me feel a little bit better.
    p.s. mine was made of paper 100%, the label said so :)

  30. James Taylor

    August 18, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    That last sentence is very true, and when you get to the point where you know what works for you and what won’t it’s a great feeling of relief!

  31. artemis

    August 18, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Oh Sart, congratulations on having chosen the Panama hat. It is the ‘it’ of all summer hats by far!

    I bought mine in May, and, as a female, was very curious to give it a try. And you know what, I hardly ever took it off during my holiday in Sicily: I wore it to the beach, on the beach, and even at night, with everything, from american apparel colourful basics to bikinis and black and white evening pieces. It looked great. People noticed. My friends wanted to borrow it. In the end, two of my male friends ended up buying their own Panamas, and their respective girlfriends kept on borrowing them! One even developed a new, less easygoing but rather fascinating attitude whenever he had the hat on.. And I was baptised Madame Lafayette for having made the hat so popular. And then, on leaving Sicily, I noticed we were not alone, as people in Panama hats kept on showing up everywhere from the airport to the streets of Milan and even further.
    Great choice and enjoy it! Long live the Panama.

  32. d2fang

    August 18, 2008 at 4:41 pm

    Wonderfully said, couldn’t agree with you more!

  33. K.B.

    August 18, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    Well, if you decide you don’t want the hat any more, I’ll take it. Looks like the perfect summer hat to me.

  34. Carl Browne

    August 18, 2008 at 7:32 pm

    I think that’s very wise, but isn’t it true that most of us can get away with a little more than we think we can?

  35. Anonymous

    August 18, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks for the fashion advice sart. Only being 19, I have recently been experimenting, only to find that just because something is fabulous doesn’t mean that I will work for me. For instance, after a brief summer trist with all things hipster, I am all too relieved to be returning to my preppy Ralph Lauren roots.

  36. Mailee

    August 18, 2008 at 8:03 pm

    You are an inspiration for me. I’ve been (and still am) struggling to find my own personal style, and even though I may never be fully satisfied, at least I come away from your blog feeling good about myself. I hope one day you’ll write for women’s magazines too. :D

  37. Anonymous

    August 18, 2008 at 9:36 pm
    I met this guy at a flea market and bought one of his panama hats. they have the hat stamped from ecuador. best panama hats i have found, the weave is soft and good quality. its like 60 bucks, but its worth all the compliments, and saves me from bad hair days. you can even get opt for a feather. i am hoping that by releasing this fashion tip the cosmic couture gods will release some good karma my way….

  38. Anonymous

    August 18, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    Scott, great photo! the hat on the shovel, the water.
    could we please get a shot of you wearing the hat, so we could see how it looks.
    you could learn from all those who graciously pose for your camera and share their look with us all. it is ironic how the one who posts all the best looks seems shy to post his own look.
    (the girls seem to go wild whenever there’s a shot of you)

  39. flossarin

    August 18, 2008 at 10:43 pm

    I completely agree with your philosophy of trying new looks but not forcing them on yourself if they don’t feel like “you”. I think a large part of style is understanding what is “you” and being one with it. I love it when a person looks like they just belong in their clothes, almost as if you couldn’t imagine them wearing anything else.

  40. Adam

    August 18, 2008 at 11:30 pm

    Boy, have I been in this boat. With mainstream men's clothing becoming more adventurous, I see so many daring things I want to try…but more often than not, it's just not "me."

    I still have a great black fedora (with a small brown & white feather adornment and satiny band) hanging on a peg in my closet. For me it elicits this idea of some hipster from the 1950's…but I haven't found an occasion significant enough to warrant a wear.

    The thing I love about fashion is that this doesn't need to be "me." For the brief few hours I wear it someday, I'll pretend to be that kid from the 50's…eating up every stare whether positive or negative.

    It still won't be my style–but sometimes I don't want to be just me.

  41. Hadley

    August 18, 2008 at 11:43 pm

    that hat reminds me of the hat alan arkin wears in “heart is a lonely hunter.” love it.

  42. ingrid

    August 19, 2008 at 6:42 am

    you know, I adore your blog, but sometimes the photos feels like “freebees”, Paris, Milan, NY, it’s easy finding stylish people. A real challenge would be to go to somewhere random, a town in Latvia or Norway or something, and fine someone “satorialish”. Hope you will challenge yourself more

  43. Anonymous

    August 19, 2008 at 7:25 am

    No sorry, but the best panama hats can be found at the shop of a grand master in CUENCA! Panama hats are not made exclusively on the Esmeralda coast. Equally, today you can now find them all over the world…

  44. Anonymous

    August 19, 2008 at 8:49 am

    I didn’t know there was anything available at Marc Jacobs to buy for 40 bucks! How the hell did that happen?

  45. Paul Pincus

    August 19, 2008 at 8:51 am

    For me, style is about not being afraid to try something new but being honest enough with yourself that even though “it” might be “fashionable”, “it” might not be you.

    terrific definition and lesson re: style!

  46. Maria

    August 19, 2008 at 8:54 am

    Scott regarding the allure in the hat:
    It is a Panama Hat; therefore the allure is more South american than actually european. Panama was “made independent” from Colombia when the USA found a use of the stretch of land, then when working in Panama the started using the “locals” hat, so the panama hat is a Andean (form Los Andes mountains) accessory.

    Al rey lo que es del rey!

  47. Maria

    August 19, 2008 at 8:57 am

    Of course if we think that South America has a vast European heritage perhaps the hat becomes “european, from a begging of the past century perspective.

  48. Louise

    August 19, 2008 at 9:25 am

    I bought a hat just like yours in Siena, Italy this summer. I think it cost about €7 and is made from paper of all things. Inside, the label reads: “100 % paper; Italian Style”. I love it.

  49. Dick Goodnuts

    August 19, 2008 at 10:47 am

    “Dress as if you are proud of your personal style and appearance. Confidence is expressed by the risks that you take in your clothing choices.”

  50. Anonymous

    August 19, 2008 at 11:01 am

  51. Anonymous

    August 19, 2008 at 11:15 am

    Well, I like it and now I even want one…uff! where will I find it now in the middle of Munich while winter is coming?

  52. Anonymous

    August 19, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    Ok next you should try a trilby – they are slightly more edgy than classic panama shapes…..

  53. citizen

    August 19, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    Jeeves might cringe at the Panama hat, but I say it’s a lovely sunny day accessory. Besides, think of it this way – it gives you more protection from the sun than a simple baseball cap, which only covers the front of your face. ;)

  54. Anonymous

    August 19, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    brilliant choice! it seems just perfect for that setting.

  55. Jeffrey Byrnes

    August 20, 2008 at 12:29 am

    Love the hat. I love the placement of the hat. Great shot.


  56. Anonymous

    August 20, 2008 at 11:06 am

    Panama’s are not to be worn while playing beach volleyball, but by the pool overlooking the beach with a cocktail glass in hand. Also, while shopping. It may still be you, but you have to find the right cocktail to go with it.

  57. sinstuff

    August 20, 2008 at 11:47 am

    looks like a readymade sculpture

  58. Anonymous

    August 21, 2008 at 9:28 am

    well said that style has to work for you to wortk at all. I saw a great quote recently about men wearing baseball caps, when you wear one in public “you have to ask yourself if you look more like Ari or Turtle”

  59. Anonymous

    August 21, 2008 at 4:34 pm

    I don’t necessarily agree… I think a panama was never designed to be worn on a beach, hence why you quite naturally feel uncomfortable wearing it there Sart.

  60. ModernGear TV

    August 22, 2008 at 10:52 pm

    Post a pic of you wearing the hat and we’ll let you know what we think!

  61. Anonymous

    August 22, 2008 at 11:59 pm

    I love the look of Panama hats. Just wouldn’t have thought of Marc Jacobs as a likely place to get one. Especially for just $40. Congratulations on the find!

  62. sandman_gr

    August 23, 2008 at 11:48 am

    We got almost the same hat, hehe! Great choice. I found mine for 50 Euros in an antiques shop in Alonissos island and when I put the panama hat on, my friends all swooned and begged me to buy it. I have been wearing it to the beach, in the city, to work… fits perfectly! And yes, it is Ecuador-made!

  63. Anonymous

    August 25, 2008 at 6:35 am

    Gusi, the Panama hat is actually from Ecuador. Best finds near the coast. And Sar, even Europeans seldomly wear them. Only when you’re really into classic hats, like my grandfather, it makes a great gift. Of course I’m not saying that ONLY grandfathers should wear them. Ciao, Erik

  64. Ed Kavishe

    August 27, 2008 at 12:48 am

    very true about the hat story, my favourite hat this summer was a vintage army fatigue hat i got from the mercedes benz fashion week press gift bag in Miami, i love it and wore it pretty much everyday for the summer, funny where you can find some of your favorite items

  65. Ramiro

    August 27, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    Great final point, Scott

  66. Carrie McCarthy

    August 28, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    I love your site! I agree completely with your last phrase. We often say it’s not what’s in style but what’s your style. Merci for such wonderful work!


  67. Anonymous

    September 9, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    I bought a hat that looks EXACTLY like your Marc Jacobs hat at a little store in Athens for 15 Euros. I bought it more to stop the sun from melting my face that day (summer in Athens is killer) but it worked out to be fashionable because I happened to be wearing black & white that day. It was perfection… until the strong winds blew it off my head while I was at the Acropolis. I nearly had to walk into the Parthenon to get it back…

  68. Ansley

    September 13, 2008 at 3:17 am

    Nice photo!! Would also like to have some more photos of your vacation trip.

  69. giorgio

    October 17, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    Stylish and functional, Capsurz keeps any hat on. I always wear my Capsurz, now that I’ve found them.
    You may return to wearing your Yankees cap!

  70. M

    October 12, 2011 at 2:09 am

    This is very “Duchamp”!!!

  71. Jordan

    November 18, 2011 at 2:36 am

    Great looking hat, especially like the ruffled brim. You don’t have to pay too much more for an authentic one though, for example

  72. phil

    April 3, 2014 at 8:31 am

    I don’t wear a baseball cap anymore, the reason?
    I’m not eight years old. Why wear a boys cap when you are a man?

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