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Panama Hats and Boaters in Style

From the late nineteenth until the late twentieth century, a hat was an essential accessory for the well-dressed Japanese gentleman. However, the popularity of hats began to dwindle in the 1970s, and they had almost completely disappeared from the fashion scene by the 90s. Baseball and knit caps have replaced the formal hat’s position during the intervening twenty years, but today the hat is making a comeback.

Unlike the old days, when gentlemen wore hats for formal occasions, today’s stylish hats are seen in casual settings and appeal mainly to young male and female followers of fashion. For this summer season, Panama hats and boaters made of natural materials are especially trendy. The boater became popular among girls in their late teens and early twenties so quickly because it is not as expensive as other hats for men and is an easy stylish accent. For example, the boater can make even casual resort fashion look sophisticated.

In contrast, male hat aficionados are a little older and mainly in their twenties and thirties. “Hats were loved by only a few fashion fanatics until a few years ago, but I have seen them drastically gain in popularity these days, and celebrities and trendsetters have started wearing hats in public. I believe that this trend was influenced by the popular men’s brand WACKOMARIA’s styling, which is often described as ‘rude boy’ style. Boaters and Panama hats perfectly fit this style,” explains Mr. Masahide Miyazawa, spokesperson for the men’s fashion brand Rayline, Inc.

Whether it’s spicing up girly fashion or perfecting rude-boy style, Panama hats and boaters are now creating a trend in Japan, a trend that might soon spread to the US.

——– Reported by Mark Minai
Mark Minai resides in Japan and writes articles and books on cultural trends and fashion issues.