Sir Montecristi Panama Hat

Genuine Panama Hat (Montecristi), HandWoven 100% Toquilla Straw. You'll look gorgeus at any time wearing the best hat of the world! Product of Ecuador. To get FREE SHIPPING, use code "montecristi"

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Worldwide, all Panama Hats are handwoven with Toquilla Straw Fiber in the city of Montecristi, located in Ecuador - South America. 

Why is the difference in price? How is price determined? The difference of prices between Panama Hat depends on the fineness of the weave. The finer the weave the finer the hat.  A straw hat finer and very well woven takes more time to manufacture. There are limited and therefore more expensive.

Our Panama Hats (straw hats) are qualified by grades 13, 14, 15, 16, etc. Grade 16 is finer than Grade 13 and therefore more expensive.  Please choose the quality you want.

Data sheet
MaterialToquilla Straw
Brim6 - 7 cm. (2.37"- 2.76")
SweatbandCotton Twill, 3 cm. (1.18")
Crown10.37 - 10.87 cm. (4.1" - 4.3")
RibbonLinen or Leather
What is my size?

Panama Hat Sizes? What is the right size for me?

If you don't know your hat size, you will have to measure your head. Pull the measuring tape snuggly around your head at the place where a hat will sit. Generally, post of the people use their hat 1/8 o 1/4" above the ear. The tape must be more or less level all around.

Once you feel it confortable, choose the closest 1/8", and check your hat size in the chart below.

Head size Inches

S >> (21 1/8) - (21½)

M >> (21 7/8) - (22¼)

L >> (22 5/8) - (23)

XL >> (23½) - (23 7/8)

Head Size Centimeter

S >> (54) - (55)

M >> (56) - (57)

L >> (58) - (59)

XL >> (60) - (61)

Our online store has very well defined the hat size, in inches as well as in centimeter. It will be ver easy for you to choose your right size of hat!

Panama Hat Real History

"The Traditional weaving of the Ecuadorian toquilla straw hat"
Declared "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity" by UNESCO since 2012

True History of Montecristi Hat (Panama Hat)

TheMontecristi Hat” (mistakenly known asPanama hat”) has been considered for many years one of the most representative handicraft of Ecuador. This weaving technique has been developed since the time of our aborigines. It has become a representative product of the cultural identity for ecuadorians. This technique of weaving these hats has been passed from generation to generation since colonial times to the present. It has remained intact as a tradition among the people of the Ecuadorian coast and in the mountainous, specifically in the province of Azuay. It has only changed solely to improve and innovate models to suit the tastes of consumers.

History. It is considered that hand-waving toquilla straw began in the integration period within the "Manteña Confederation", as several figurines made of stone or ceramics present a sort of protection on the head -some kind of a helmet.- This "helmet" may has been made with toquilla staw, as this material very so common among them.

XVI Century - Early hats.When the Spanish conquerors arrived in what today are the provinces of Guayas and Manabi on the coast of Ecuador (1532), they observed native Indians using "Straw Hats" covering their ears and necks. These hats looked like "headdresses", such as those used by the nuns or widows in Europe. Then they named these hats as "Toquilla" because they were made of "toquilla straw". Quickly, the spanish began to also use theEcuadorian Hats.

Historically, members of indigenous cultures, such as Huancavilcas, Mantas and Caras were considered as skilled weavers of these “toquillas straws hats” as well as in the textile art. They lived in the territory that now corresponds to the provinces of Guayas and Manabi (Montecristi is a town of Manabi where hat-trading take place, therefore the correct name is "Montecristi Hat”). Probably, these skills were inherited from their ancestor and the same knowledge to get this supper quality has been passed from generation and remains today. During the colonial period, artisans were considered as true masters for weaving such high quality of “straw hats”. Their reputation was very high in the “Toquilla straw hats” business to such a point that artisans were taken to other places for sharing this ancestral knowledge. In the decade from 1943 to 1953 the highest finesse of Genuine “Montecristi Hats” for export were starting to produce. Paris opens a worldwide exposure in which Panama participates with a collection of “straw hats” prepared by Philip Raimondi, french who lived in that city. This collection made a favorable impression of European inhabitants due to the fineness of the woven. Unfortunately for Ecuador, hats were marketed as “Panama Hats” instead of “Montecristi Hats”.Despite being known as "Panama Hats", the “Genuine Montecristi Hats” are manufactured in Ecuador, NOT Panama. The hats took that name since the beginning of the Panama-Channel’s construction, where thousands of hats were imported from Ecuador for its workers.

Between 1880 and 1881, French engineer Fernando Lesseps undertook the construction of the Panama Canal to link the Pacific with the Atlantic Ocean. It was November 1906. Then U.S. President, Theodore Roosevelt was photographed while he was inspecting the construction of the Panama Canal. Roosevelt was wearing a beautiful “Montecristi Hat”. The picture appeared in every newspaper and the hat became fashionable! Everyone wanted an “Ecuadorian Hat”... Just like Roosevelt's hat! But to our misfortune, the hat's identity was confused. They called it "Panama Hat", ignoring it was Made in Ecuador.

It is right at that precise moment when Theodore Roosevelt visited the Chamber wearing the “Montecristi hat”, when its popularity increased. People were arriving in large quantities to Panama spreading the use of “Ecuadorian hats” as the most suitable for climatic conditions and the type of jobs in that place. Glorified during the XIX century, the Panama has since been considered prince of straw hats.

It is right at that precise moment, when Theodore Roosevelt visited the Chamber wearing that “straw hat”, when the popularity of the "Montecristi" increased. Panama was in the spotlight for the global attention that caused the union of two oceans, Pacific and Atlantic. People were arriving in large quantities to Panama, spreading the use of “Ecuadorian hats” as the most suitable for the climatic conditions and the type of jobs in that place. The "Montecristi" was glorified during the XIX century. It has since been considered "Prince" of straw hats.

The national hero and former presidente of Ecuador, Eloy Alfaro, helped finance his liberal revolution in Ecuador through the export of Ecuadorian Hats. His father, Manuel Alfaro was one of the largest exporters of  toquilla straw hat in Manabi.

No matter the high price of the “Montecristi Hat”, but the quality and utility that it provides makes it worth it. It became a mandatory piece of clothing. These were sent to Panama from Ecuador in gigantic proportions, and then redirected to North America, Europe, and worldwide, extending the fame and use of the hat with the wrong name "PANAMA HAT".

The fame and the use of this hat was wrongly and undeservedly extended with the name of “Panama Hat", without recognizing that the “toquilla straw” grows in Ecuador, it is then hand-woven and block in Ecuador by Ecuadorian artisans. The real name is "MONTECRISTI HAT".

Traditional weaving (UNESCO)

Traditional weaving of the Ecuadorian toquilla straw hat

Inscribed in 2012 (7.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

The toquilla straw hat is woven from fibres from a palm tree characteristic of the Ecuadorian coast. Coastal farmers cultivate the toquillales and harvest the stems before separating the fibre from the green outer skin. This is boiled to remove chlorophyll and dried for subsequent bleaching with sulfur over a wood fire. Weavers take this raw material and begin weaving the crown and the brim of the hat. Weaving a hat can take from one day to eight months, depending on the quality and finesse.

In Pile, a costal community, weavers produce extra fine hats that require specific climatic conditions and involve an exact number of points in each row of weaving. The process is completed by washing, bleaching, moulding, ironing and pressing. The weavers are mostly peasant families and transmission of weaving techniques occurs within the home from an early age through observation and imitation.

The skills and knowledge enfold a complex and dynamic social fabric including traditional techniques of cultivation and processing, forms of social organization, and use of the hat as part of everyday clothing and in festive contexts. It is a distinctive mark of the communities perpetrating this tradition and part of their cultural heritage.

Traditional weaving of the Ecuadorian toquilla straw hat


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