Field of Science

Panama hats

The field season is approaching and the Phactor needs a new hat, not that you actually have to have a reason for a new hat mind you. If you are in the market for new head gear, of the Panamanian sort, here's a helpful link. Many people don't understand Panama hats. First, what country are Panama hats made in? Any true devotee knows Panama hats are made in Ecuador. And if you really know your stuff you'd know they are woven from leaf fibers not of palms but of cyclanths. Nothing is as classy as a classic Panama hat, but white hats won't stay that way long out in the field, so save that one for wearing to your favorite beach-side bar. And then please, don't order a girlie drink and spoil the effect especially with a bit of gray at the temples. Field work calls for more of a hybrid, Aussie design - Panama construction. Aussies like their Akubra's and the Phactor has had several. Wonderful hats, but like all fur-felt hats too hot out in the field, but you have to love the styles. So this Snowy River style Panama may be just the thing. After all if you can't get good data, you can at least look good.
Some of you may have noticed that these are not the most economical hats, but quite frankly any Panama hat under $50 is just not worth owning. Everyone will just know it's a cheap-ass hat. Although not shown here the upper end for Panama hats can take your breath away. Top end Panama hats have a fiber quality that makes them feel like a soft fur felt, not floppy, but supple. The Phactor tried on a very nice hat in a rather high-end shop featuring tropical men's clothing (Hey, you've got to have Hawaiian shirts to go with a really good hat.), and Mrs. Phactor admired the way it looked. But the style just wasn't right. The ever helpful clerk slithered up and directing me gently by the elbow said, "Sir, we have several other styles in Panama hats in the same price range over here." And what is the price range? "$1500 to $3000, Sir." "We don't have much call for the more expensive Panama hats." And if you are wondering, those are upwards of $5000. So fellows, if you wear some sad baseball style sports or seed company cap, they just scream "low-class clod"; wearing the same backwards lowers your estimated IQ by at least 20 points. Even one of the cheapy Panamas would be better. Now back to shopping.

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