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Panama Hat Vs Fedora

Panama Hat Vs Fedora. The Difference (with pictures)

With numerous hats available in the market, selecting can be difficult. While some people love to have simple and classic hats, others prefer formal and traditional hats. This gave rise to the debate of Panama hat vs. Fedora.

This dispute between Panama hats and fedora hats could persist as long as these hats have existed. It has a lot of different aspects and facets to examine. Knowing those facets will help you identify the difference more prominently.

So, let us explore the details of the Panama hat vs. Fedora in deep. And let us understand the key features of both these hats.

The Main Difference

Both hats have a similar form and style, and you might not be able to tell them apart unless you know what they’re made of. However, there are significant and distinct differences between the two. So, let us explore them.

Difference 1: Material Used

Toquilla straw, a fine grain straw derived from the toquilla palm tree, makes Panama hats. Fedoras can be created out of felt, leather, or various straws ranging from paper braid to actual seagrass.

Difference 2: Occasion To Wear

If you’re going to a tropical destination or planning to be outside in the sun, a Panama hat is the way to go. It’s a fashionable hat that goes well with tropical attire. Choose a fedora hat when you wish to look more elegant, urban, and respectable. Its panache and style are unrivaled in this context.

Difference 3: Shape And Style

Fedora hats have a 2.5-inch wide brim and a 4.5-inch deep crown. Even wider brims are possible. Both the front and back of the crown are pinched, and the top of the crown has an inward dent. Panama hats have a high crown, a brim typically 3 inches wide or wider, a bond (or ribbon), and a front taper. Both hats include a hatband or ribbon and can be curled or straight, with a wide or narrow brim.

Difference 4: Design And Making

Making a Panama hat necessitate unique techniques, and the process is regarded as an art form. The two most common weaves are Cuenca and Brisa. The Cuenca weave resembles a herringbone pattern, and the Brisa weave has a diamond or square pattern. Fedora uses the traditional hat-making process. Fedoras made from straw are woven, blocked, and finished like any straw hat.

Which One is Backed By A Strong Culture, Panama Hat, or Fedora?

When looking for a Panama hat vs. Fedora, this is an important thing to know. Though most people might look at these hats as accessories, indeed, one of them has a strong cultural backing associated with it.

The Panama hat is a cultural icon. It dates back to the 1600s. These are from Ecuador, where artisans have weaved them using a unique weaving process for generations. It was added to the UNESCO Cultural Heritage List in 2012, making the art and practice of weaving Panama hats an official part of the country’s heritage.

So, if you are looking for a hat with strong cultural backing, then the Panama hat is the right choice to go for.

What Is A Panama Hat?

Panama hats have a high crown, a brim that is normally 3 inches broad or wider, a bond, and a front taper. The Panama Hat is a straw Fedora made from Toquilla. It’s also known as the Ecuadorian hat. Toquilla straw obtained from the Toquilla Palm tree or jipijapa plant leaves make this hat.

panama hat

The weaving pattern for the Panama hat started in Ecuador. It’s been known as the Ecuadorian hat since Ecuadorian artisans first produced it. This pattern has been designated as an Ecuadorian cultural heritage by UNESCO.

Although not all straw Fedoras are Panama hats, those manufactured from Toquilla straw are. A Panama hat has a divot across the crown top and a ribbon around the crown with a relatively broad brim.

Amazing Facts Of Panama Hat

  • During the Gold Rush era in the mid-1800s, it became popular.
  • Traders on the Gulf of Panama mostly wore it, and it quickly gained popularity in Asia.
  • It has a light color tone, lightweight, airy, and quite comfortable.
  • It is the most appropriate summer accessory to wear to the beach, parties, and informal occasions.
  • It is extremely durable and can be folded and stacked in a bag for easy transportation.
  • It is made up of two different forms of weaving: The Cuenca pattern is and The Brisa pattern.
  • The weaving on Panama hats is usually fairly elaborate, adding to their overall elegance.

What Is A Fedora?

At first glance, the Fedora seems identical to the Panama hat. Crowns, bonds, brims, and tapers on both hats are sized similarly. The fundamental distinction is in the material: a real fedora is almost always made of felt, most commonly wool.


A soft brim and a pinched crown are two fundamental characteristics of a Fedora. Aside from that, the crown height is 4.5 inches, and the crown dents vary depending on the type of Fedora. Furthermore, the brim is quite wide despite its softness, measuring 2.5 inches across.

Fedoras can be fashioned of wool or wool alternatives like cashmere or felt and summer textiles like cotton, linen, or hemp.

Amazing Facts Of Fedora

  • It was a late-nineteenth-century French playwright’s hat for women.
  • The Prince of Wales donned a Fedora in 1924, and it became a component of men’s fashion.
  • Even men’s fedoras usually feature a ribbon on the crown, and some even have a bow.
  • A snap brim is standard on fedoras.
  • Fedoras feature three different edges: raw, folded, and ribbon.
  • Wool or its equivalents, like cashmere, are the most prevalent materials used in Fedoras.
  • One of Fedora’s best advantages is that it is extremely practical.

Panama Hat vs Fedora

Comparison PropertiesPanama HatFedora
Uses (for)It’s a hat that you can wear for semi-formal, casual, or beachwear.It is worn during formal to semi-casual occasions.
Ideal ForIt is unisex.It was primarily for women but eventually started for men.
Distinct FeatureIt features a ribbon around the crown and a dent across the top.It features a ribbon around the crown with a bow on the side.
Gained PopularityIt became popular in the mid-1800s.It was known in the 1800s for women.
Material UsedIt is made of Toquilla straw or jipijapa palm leaves.It is made from wool, cashmere, cotton, linen, or hemp.
Belongs ToIt belongs to Ecuador and is known as Ecuadorian hat.It is a hat that was noticed in France during a show.
Types and StylesThe Cuenca design and the Brisa pattern are the two most common styles.There is no specific style for making this hat, but it uses traditional methods.
WeatherIt is an all-season hat but most suited for a warm climate.It is an all-season hat but most suited for cold climates.
Foldability and careThese are lightweight, easy to care for, and foldable.These are lightweight, easy to care for, yet not easily foldable.
FitThe fit is usually comfortable and soothing for a casual look.These hats feature a more tight fit for a professional look.

What Are Panama Hats for?

Panama hats are known to be summer hats. Being made from toquilla palm, these hats give you the most stunning look while going to the beach or attending a lunch party with friends. Known to keep you cool in summers and with a strong cultural background, these hats are very comfortable and lightweight. Additionally, these hats are quite popular as beach accessories and can be worn during any time of the day. Panama hats are versatile, unisex, and all-season hats to try styling. These are also the caps that are accessible for all seasons.

What Are Fedora for?

Fedoras are quite popular as formal and stylish hats. Fedoras are better for both formal and casual occasions. As a result, these are crafted of luxurious and expensive materials to match the event. Furthermore, they complement formal attire such as tuxedos and gowns. The wide brim of a Fedora is worn by pushing it somewhat lower at the front to provide enough shade to the wearer. This also adds a formal look that complements the outfit.

The Best Panama Hat

Panama Roll up Hat Belt Buckle

A great Panama hat designed for women is highly stylish and comfortable to wear. Made from a soft, breathable material, this is perfect for outdoor wear and is available in an array of colors. The features are as follows:

  • Material – Paper Straw (90%), Polyester (10%)
  • Closure – Pull-On closure
  • Fitting – Comfortable fit
  • Care – Hand Wash Only
  • Measurement – One Size
  • Nature – Women

The Best Fedora

Crushable Wool Felt Fedora

A travel-friendly classic hat, this Fedora is all you need to have the most amazing look. Designed to offer perfect comfort, it is available in multiple colors and sizes. The features are as follows:

  • Material – 100% wool
  • Closure – No
  • Fitting – Comfortable fit
  • Care – Hand Wash Only
  • Measurement – Multiple Sizes
  • Nature – Unisex

Final Thoughts

The debate of Panama hat vs. Fedors is not new, but due to the high similarity in appearance, this has been under question for a long time. While Fedora is more inclined towards formal attires, Panama hats are linked to casual attires. Additionally, Panama hats have a history and heritage value associated with them. Offering an exotic and vintage look is indeed the specialty of both. So, when you are looking to buy a hat, look for all the features. These hats, being amazingly stylish and beautiful, are indeed a great choice to complement your attire.

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