National Straw Hat Month is celebrated in April. The month illustrates the rich history of straw hats, a monumental signifier of the farming community. Once worn to escape the harsh exposure of the sun, today the straw hat has evolved as a style statement for the most fashionable among us. From the rice fields to the 1960s movie cameos, straw hats have been a part of American pop culture for decades. Panama, boater, cowboy, short or wide-brimmed with strewn flowers or the occasion ribbon, there are many interpretations of our favorite straw hat, which we get to celebrate all through April.
History of Straw Hat Month
It is believed straw hats were the first hats to be worn by humans. They have been around since 3200 B.C. Unlike the fancy fedoras and the academic berets, a straw hat is considered an ordinary man’s purposeful belonging, famous for its light-built and spanned coverage. Topping it off (pun intended) is the happy-go-lucky utility of a straw hat — shading us from the rain and the sun. Traditionally made with grass to dispel the harsh sun on field days, 21st-century renditions of straw hats lean more on fashion and less on utility. Unless it’s an accessory to an outfit, straw hats are often seen on the heads of tourists making peace signs for selfies.
For much of history, hats have been synonymous with class, heritage, and the occupation of the wearer. Like a knob on a walking cane, the status of a true gentleman is revealed best by the design of his hat. And as fashion progresses, the straw hat is a detail that represents the personality and style of an individual.
It is often said that American history was made by men in hats. While we remember president Lincoln for his contributions to the nation, we must also recall the relentless effort of our farmers, plowing the fields in rain and sunshine to feed the country. With this month-long dedication, we express our gratitude to the men with the plow, donning a straw hat, and heading out for a hard day of work in the April sun.
Straw Hat Month timeline
A pictorial depiction of a man wearing a straw hat is discovered in a tomb in Thebes.
Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton’s annual report marks the hat industry as one of the shining spots of the American economy.
Farmers in the field begin wearing straw hats as protection from the sun.
Headwear Information Bureau begins keeping records of hat sales across America.
Straw Hat Month FAQs
Is a straw hat made of straws?
Traditionally, a straw hat was made with dry hay and pieces of straw. Today, a straw hat is woven out of straw-like materials collected from plants or synthetics.
Where can I buy a vintage straw hat?
You can get a vintage straw hat from Etsy, eBay, or any local vintage shop near you.
How can I get sweat stains off my straw hat?
Use a damp cloth to wipe the sweat stains off the hat. If the stain or the smell persists, prepare a solution with 1/4th cup hydrogen peroxide and warm water and use a soft brush to treat the stain spots.
Straw Hat Month Activities
Embrace the hat
Hats have been around for centuries. During National Straw Hat Month, we renew our love for hats and make them a part of our daily wardrobe.
Do it yourself
Back in the 19th century, farmers used to make their own straw hats by weaving strips of dry hay in a circular motion. To have the ideal experience, make a straw hat all by yourself or decorate a Panama hat with flower petals and fancy ribbons.
Thank a farmer
Lest we forget that it was the straw hat that came to the rescue of farmers battling the scorching heat of the summer. As we gather to celebrate the fancy straw hats and their place in our history, we also extend our gratitude to the farmers, whose relentless passion and work ethic have made all our meals possible.
5 Unique Types Of Straw Hats
Seagrass straw hat
An airy and lightweight hat made from seagrass.
Panama straw hat
A light and breathable vacationer's hat made from Toquilla straw.
Fedora straw hat
A low-crown and wide-brimmed accessory made with felt and other soft materials.
Derby straw hat
A lampshade crown hat made with fine straw.
Boater straw hat
A stiff flat crown with a narrow brim made with stiff sennit straw.
Why We Love Straw Hat Month
Hats are forever in fashion
Hats have never left the fashion billboard. From Audrey Hepburn to President Teddy Roosevelt, they are revered in pop and political culture. As the straw hat signifies the turn of the season, April is dedicated to the celebration of straw hats for their unique shape and utility.
It’s more than just a hat
Throughout our history, men and women have worn hats that showcase their merit and individuality. Because of the bond that people have forged with their hats, National Straw Hat Month is the perfect time to dedicate an entire month to the celebration of the often ignored but practical straw hat.
It’s an expression of gratitude
Straw hats make an incredible fashion statement, but we also honor the head who wears them. Designed and developed by the farmworkers of the 18th century to escape the sun, a straw hat saves the sweat and makes fieldwork possible. This April, we honor the farmers and express our gratitude for their service.
Straw Hat Month dates