For the hat aficionado, owning a fine straw hat like a Panama is an awesome feeling, and akin to owning an exclusive pair of shoes or a handbag. While good-quality expensive straw hats from the top-of-the-line stores spell class, they need more TLC. Here are some handy tips to extend the life of your straw hat and keep it looking new for a long time:
Do Not Pinch the Crown
The best way to hold and handle your straw hat is by the brim. Even if it seems more convenient, you should never try to grab your hat by the crown. It is because the pressure of your fingers will further pinch the crease, and repeated incidents will cause it to crack since crowns are typically the most fragile part of a straw hat. For that matter, even leaving your hat hanging on a hat rack with a pointed end for long can result in damage to the crown.
Use Hatboxes to Store the Hat
Since you are likely to be wearing your straw hat only during the summer months, it will be spending long months in storage during the rest of the year. It is not a good idea to leave the hat lying around on an open shelf because it will collect dust. It may also lose its shape if it comes into contact with other objects, especially stuff you might inadvertently put on top of it. The best method of storing your hat is to keep it in a hatbox. When kept in a hatbox, your hat is safe from dust, dirt, and UV radiation that can damage the color. A good hatbox will be large enough to accommodate your hat without damaging the crown, be stackable without compressing the crown, and be opaque so that the organic material does not suffer any damage from the sun’s radiation. When continuously exposed to the light and heat of the sun, the straw used in the manufacture of the hat tends to dry out and is prone to cracking. It is the reason why you must never leave your straw hat lying around on the rear shelf of the car.
Regularly Moisturize and Condition
Just like your skin, mens straw sun hats need to be cared for so that they keep looking in top condition and last for a long time. Moisturizing and conditioning hats may seem a novelty, but if you live in an area with a dry climate, it can be essential for preventing the hat from becoming brittle and cracking. Quite a few conditioners are available commercially for application on straw hats but you can substitute them with a baby wipe or even a damp microfiber cloth. You must make sure that the cloth is moistened slightly so that the hat does not become wet. Wet hats can warp, and you may need to reshape them.
Steps To Prevent Rain Damage to Your Straw Hat
Come spring, the sunshine feels great, but it is necessary to wear a hat to prevent your sensitive skin from getting sunburn. Unfortunately, you can get your straw hat wet if a smart shower catches you out. While you will need to try not to get your hat wet but in case you have a damp hat, you have to take urgent steps to limit the damage and restore its looks. A wet hat left uncared for will lose its shape permanently due to the swelling of the straw. The weave of the straw hat becomes loose and when it dries incorrectly, it loses its shape. However, a straw hat treated with a water-repellant will resist a brief and light drizzle. Also, you don’t have to worry about sweat affecting the shape of your hat because Toquilla straw commonly used for making Panama hats can naturally resist some moisture. According to UNESCO, toquilla straw is obtained from a palm tree typically found on the Ecuadorian coast.
What to Do If the Hat Gets Wet
However, if for any reason, your straw hat becomes wet, you must not put it inside a bag. It is because the hat, warm from your head, will cause the bag to steam up and damage both its weave and shape. To protect your hat from the rain, use an umbrella or even a newspaper. You should shake off the excess water and then wipe it with paper towels or a clean and dry cloth. You should also turn out the sweatband and let it dry naturally. Keeping the hat in a cool dry spot with good air circulation is best. According to some experts, keeping your hat near an open window but in a place that does not receive direct sunlight dries the hat quickly but uniformly. You must never use a hairdryer to dry out a wet hat since the drying process is quick and causes the hat to warp. Likewise, never use a heater to dry out your straw hat because it can damage it.
Positioning the Hat When Drying
You will know that for shaping hats, moisture is essential, which is why if your hat becomes damp from the rain, it can result in the straw hat losing its shape as it dries. It is, therefore, vital, that you position the hat correctly so that it retains its original shape once it dries fully. For example, if you wear your hat snapped down, you will need to ensure that you upturn the brim all the way around. It is also important to remember that you must always handle the hat by its brim and never by its crown as the pinching action will put it out of shape and even cause it to split along the crease. You should allow the hat to rest on its crown in an upside-down position, as resting it on the brim will cause it to flatten.
Even though you must take the greatest care not to let your straw hat get wet, sometimes, you will get caught out. If you take quick action to prevent it from getting too damp and then dry it correctly, you will ensure that it does not lose its shape and continues to look as good as ever.