How to choose the best men’s hat for summer

Panama hat from Samuel Windsor

Everyone can wear a hat – it’s just a matter of finding the right one
Image: Samuel Windsor

Do you look good in a hat? You’d be surprised just how few men think so. But that’s not because they don’t suit hats. Looking good in headgear is all about choosing the right hat – the hat which best complements the shape of your face.

Here are five of our most popular summer hats, with tips on how to wear them.

Figure out your face shape

different mens face shapes from Samuel Windsor

Choose a hat that suits the shape of your face
Image source: Samuel Windsor

When choosing a hat, it’s important to consider your stature. Tall, broad-shouldered men look best in hats which feature a wide brim; smaller and thinner men look better in narrow brimmed hats.

It’s also vital that you wear a hat that fits. With the brim sitting a quarter of an inch above the tips of your ears, the hatband should feel firm but not too tight – tight enough to resist a light wind, but not so snug it would take a tornado to blow it off.

Finally, most people’s faces fit one of three categories – diamond, rectangle or square. Once you know what shape your face is, it will help you choose the best hat from our classic five options below.

1. Men’s Panama hat

Panama hat from Samuel Windsor

If you’re traveling, a Panama hat is ideal
Image: Panama hat from Samuel Windsor

The Panama hat owes its name to its construction technique, rather than the place of the same name. True Panama hats are actually made in Ecuador from the toquilla palm, and traditionally feature a black ribbon hat band.

The joy of this hat is its sheer practicality. Traveling? A quality Panama hat should be carefully rolled and placed in your luggage ready for when you reach sunnier climes. For regular travelers, Samuel Windsor has designed an especially light version that rolls like a dream – check out our foldable Panama hat if you find yourself on the road a lot. On arrival at your destination, change into your linen suit and watch your hat snap back into shape ready for an afternoon sipping margaritas in the sun.

A Panama hat looks best on those with a diamond-shaped face, but actually, the proportions make it a good choice for most men.

2. Men’s flat cap

Men's microfibre navy cap

A flat cap hails from Great Britain – it’s a good choice for windy weather.
Image: Men’s microfibre navy cap from Samuel Windsor

Great for keeping in your coat pocket or the glove box of your car, flat caps are great for summer – just make sure you choose a cap made from cotton or summer-weight microfiber. Flat caps offer little in the way of ear protection, but the peaked brim makes this hat perfect for playing outdoor sports like golf and tennis.

Blustery day? Don’t let that put you off. The flat cap has its roots in Great Britain where strong winds are the norm. This piece of headgear can withstand all but the most violent winds.

A flat cap is worn for casual occasions and best suits those with a square face.

3. Men’s ambassador hat

Navy Ambassador hat from Samuel Windsor

Another hat with British origins, this stylish hat comes in a blue or tobacco color
Image: Navy Ambassador hat from Samuel Windsor

With its roots in a bygone era, the ambassador hat was the headwear of choice for British diplomats across the world. Originally made from breathable cotton, it’s often now made from lightweight straw which, because it offers such good air circulation, makes it a great choice for warmer climates.

This hat makes an excellent choice for men with diamond or ‘heart shaped’ – faces. The crown has a crease with a pinch at the front and the design is finished with a jaunty ribbon. Because it has a narrower brim than a Panama hat, an ambassador hat won’t overwhelm the slimmer man. It also suits guys with a more rugged jawline.

For a smart-casual look, wear a tobacco or light blue ambassador hat with khaki pants and linen shirt. Rocking a more casual beach vibe? Wear it with shorts, a seersucker shirt and soft nubuck boat shoes.

4. Men’s safari hat

Linen safari hat from Samuel Windsor

A safari hat offers superb sun protection
Image: Linen safari hat from Samuel Windsor

If you have a rectangular or square face, this is the hat for you. The slightly flatter crown works well for your face shape and the substantial brim not only protects you from the sun, it also balances your proportions if you have broad shoulders.

Some safari hats feature a slightly higher crown with a center dent – this variant is a good choice for guys with diamond shaped faces.

Made from natural linen and featuring a leather hatband, this hat offers an understated look that’s suitable for casual occasions. Wear yours with a pair of cotton chinos, a cotton weekend shirt and a pair of lightweight desert boots.

5. Men’s straw boater hat 

Straw boater hat from Samuel Windsor

The straw boater is ideal for tall men or smaller, leaner guys
Image: Straw boater hat from Samuel Windsor

A preppy choice, the straw boater is instantly recognisable by its flat crown and straight brim. And while it finds its origins in the rowing clubs of elite British boarding schools, it’s also an American favorite, and the perfect choice for men who like to add a jaunty top-note to their ensemble.

A straw boater best suits men with square or rectangular faces, and makes a smart choice for slimmer, leaner guys, or tall men with relatively narrow shoulders. This hat offers excellent sun protection and looks best with a plain t-shirt and a seersucker jacket.

Every man can look good in a hat, provided they find the style that best suits the shape of their face. Now you have all the know-how you need – there’s nothing to stop you! Take a look at our full range of men’s caps and hats before you make a decision. 

Posted in Men's Style Guides.

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