A Panama hat, also known as an Ecuadorian hat or a toquilla straw hat, is a traditional brimmed straw hat of Ecuadorian origin.
Traditionally, the hats were made from the plaited leaves of the Carludovica palmata plant, known locally as the toquilla palm or jipijapa palm.
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The hats are light-colored, lightweight, and breathable, and often worn as accessories to summer-weight suits, such as those made of linen or silk.
The tightness, the finesse of the weave, and the time spent in weaving a complete hat out of the toquilla straw characterize its quality.
Beginning around the turn of the twentieth century, these hats became popular as tropical and seaside accessories owing to their ease of wear and breathability.
The art of weaving the traditional Ecuadorian toquilla hat was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists on 5 December 2012
The two main processes in the creation of a Panama hat are weaving and blocking.
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The quality of a Panama hat is defined by the tightness of the weave. The fine weave of the hat was ideal for protection against the tropical sun.
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