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Borsalino Hats: Only the Best!

August 1st, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Fashion & Style, Hats in the News, Men's Hats

We sell many different types of hats from multiple different brands. Each brand has their own style and methods to making their hats, but one brand stands out: Borsalino. Borsalino hats are men’s hats that are of the highest quality because they are made by hand. When you look to buy a hat, what do you look for? Comfort, style, and durability come to mind. You want your hat to look nice, feel nice, and last as long as possible. Some hats look nice, but are uncomfortable in sizing, shape, and overall material. Others feel nice but lack that extra fashion sense. The only way you can achieve all 3 is through the method used to make the hat. That’s where Borsalino dominates!

Borsalino Hats - Manufacturing Process

Borsalino hats are made by hand over a course of 7 weeks. In these 7 weeks, they go through a long process filled with machines and hand-working specialists. It’s the hand-work that makes them stand out in front all the rest. In order to ensure their hats are high-quality, they inspect them at every step of the process for quality. Borsalino hats are made from rabbit fur and are inspected as soon as the hood is made. If the quality does not meet their standards, it is discarded permanently and re-done from scratch.

Borsalino Hats Varieties

We sell Borsalino hats of many different varieties and styles. There is a hat for every occasion, vacation, or just for a night on the town. Find the one that matches your personality and occasion! Here are some examples:

The Borsalino Antony hat is a hand-made straw, fedora-style hat. The brim can be snapped up or down depending on how formal you want to appear. The quality and overall build of the hat will give you a nice surprise when you’re wearing it!

The Borsalino Compania II is another fedora-styled hat that is made exclusive Hats in the Belfry. This exclusive hat has a soft fur felt material that is smooth to the touch and is naturally water-resistant. Because it can be rolled up, it is easy to put in your travel bag or any other location for easy storage until you’re ready to wear it.

This Borsalino hat, known as the Borsalino Avventuriero, is our Panama straw safari hat. It’s perfect for traveling in the hot sun and is supposed to change color slightly when in the sun due to the hand-woven Panama straw.

The Borsalino Bruno is a casual blend of cashmere and wool giving it a nice, fresh, clean look. This classic newsboy cap has a single snap front peak and a smooth satin interior lining. This lining, along with the grosgrain sweatband give you a nice comfortable hat that is covered is stitched to the detail all around.

Finally we have the Borsalino Matri, which is a blend of wool and linen materials. Its subtle denim design across the top and 3-point back will give you a true high-quality Ivy cap fashion style, without the bold colorful plaid designs. This hat is currently on sale for $25 off (Web purchases only)!

More Borsalino Products

For more Borsalino products visit our Men’s Borsalino Hats page. We have more of these high-quality, hand-made hats as well as scarves.

If you want to learn more about Borsalino’s process and company, visit their Hand Made page.

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Panama Hats For Dummies

January 14th, 2013 | No Comments | Posted in Hats in the News, Men's Hats, Spring & Summer Hats

When is a Panama hat a Panama hat?

The story of Panama straw hats dates back all the way to President Theodore
Roosevelt’s trip to Panama at the turn of the 20th century, or at least that is
how they were named. It is because of his visit that these hats were named
“Panama” hats, although the bodies are actually woven from Ecuador. Regardless
of where the hat originated, or where the name came from (there
is a ton of history about the Panama hat online
), the word Panama is perhaps
one of the most popular used phrases in our shops and online today.
We consistently have customers coming in and asking specifically for a “panama
hat”. The term Panama is often used to describe what could be any generic straw
hat on the shelves. We always try to inform and educate the customer on what
exactly a Panama hat is. This fall we actually saw a cheaply made felt hat that
was named “Felt Panama Hat” on the Banana Republic website. While we are a fan
of the brand and love the clothes, this simply isn’t what the hat is. Our hunch
is that the vast majority of their customers will inevitably think they are
buying a Panama hat from them though.

These are some of the things we have learned throughout our 35 years in retail
about Panama hats. We hope this helps you find the right Panama.

1. A Panama isn’t just a straw hat. It is specific to Ecuador, and has a very
specific weave to it. There is a grading system to Panama hats, but it is very
subjective. People will say just about anything to make you think it is a fine
Panama (even if it isn’t). Disregard the grading system and look for quality of
weave instead.

2. Most Panama hats have an official seal of Ecuador burned into the interior of the
body, but this can be very hard to read if the body has been bleached or dyed
after the mark was made. It is possible to be a Panama and not see the mark on
the inside of the hat, although we have never seen this mark on a hat that isn’t
a Panama.

Official Panama Seal

3. Panama hats have a very distinctive weave pattern. This weave pattern starts
at the top of the crown and then weaves outward in a circular pattern. The
better quality Panamas have thinner fibers and a tighter weave patterns. This
takes longer to produce, but also gives the hat a softer more pliable feel. Some
of the highest quality Panama hats often feel like cloth.

Panama Circular Weave

4. Panamas can come in just about every color, pattern and shape. The one thing to note about the material is that it is very organic and natural in appearance and generally smooth. Other straws and summer hats are made from paper, hemp, coconut, seagrass, raffia and synthetic materials. These other hats can still be very high quality weaves and expensive, but that still doesn’t make them a Panama. Panama is made from the Toquilla straw plant.

Dyed and Vented Panama

5. Panama hats are wooven in Ecuador, but can be blocked and finished just
about anywhere. This is also the case for other materials like Harris Tweed.
Just because it states that the hat was made in the U.S.A. or Italy doesn’t mean
it isn’t a Panama. It just means that the straws bodies were shipped to other
countries for the production and finishing.

Panama Hat Made in the U.S.A.

6. In many cases we have seen that Panama hats finished in countries outside
of Ecuador are of better quality. Why? Because these manufacturers in outside
countries are simply better hat makers and have better quality control
standards. The artists and craftspeople that weave these Panama fibers usually
don’t have anything to do with making the actual hats.

7. Yes, there is such a thing as a Montecristi hat, but be very careful
before buying one and ask as many questions as possible before buying it.
Montecristi hats are made from a specific region in Ecuador, but more
importantly they are the finest quality Panamas available. These hats have very
fine fibers and are woven super tight. In some cases it can take one of these
expert weavers up to a year to make the Montecristi body. That’s a lot of time!

8. Panamas don’t last forever. They are in fact organic material that will
dry out and crack over the long run. Some people can get years out of a Panama
hat if they know how to handle it. Don’t grab or pick the hat up by the crown or
the pinch (top of the hat). Almost all cracking comes from this. Instead pick
the hat up and hold the hat by the brim. Not pinching the crown will ensure you
get the maximum life out of the hat.

Panama Cracked Crown

9. Expect to pay more for a good Panama hat. Each hat is a one of a kind. We
have heard that 1 out of every 2 Montecristi’s woven are scrapped before
becoming a fine quality hat. This is because they are just so hard to weave. The
length of time it takes to weave a Panama compounded with the relatively small
amount of people weaving them makes it a very specialty item. In Panama as with
everything, you get what you pay for.

10. The amount of Panama bodies available in the market today is much less
than there were ten years ago. This is a highly trained skill that just isn’t
being taught to the younger generations. While there are younger weavers, the
amount of them are shrinking and the seasoned weavers are getting old and
retiring. Panama’s (particularly the finer ones) will likely continue to become
harder and harder to find over the decades.

PS – I have yet to find a Panama with a “Made in China” label in it. Not that
it will never happen, but the cost to transport the bodies to, and the quality
of hats being produced probably make it cost prohibitive. We’ll update this if
we ever do see a Panama hat blocked or finished in China.

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