As I have written every year, May 15 is the traditional beginning of straw hat season, which means put the felts away and get out the straws. Weather is the primary justification for hat-wearing these days, for those to whom justification is necessary, and the need for protection from the sun must be widely understood or we would be spared the seasonal sea of baseball caps. So armed, where I usually limit my felt-wearing to sunny days of driving with an open top or times when the weather forecast has some likelihood of drizzle, in straw hat season I do not hesitate.
Two styles of panama hat are traditionally handsome and those are the optimo and the planter's hat with its curled brim. To them I add the Milan (pronounced Mylen) braid, and the straw boater with a black ribbon. Wear the boater and the panamas with casual clothing, or wear the panamas and the Milan with suits, like Peter O'Toole in The Last Emperor, and odd jackets. Finally, somewhat counter intuitively, the boater is also the best choice to wear with a summer dinner jacket.
Photo: The Last Emperor