Goodwill Fashion Expert—Bjorn Nasett

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The Last Straw

Posted by Jamie Klinger-Krebs on Jul 5, 2012 3:52:00 PM

The other night while shopping at the Goodwill store near me I came across a wonderful straw hat that was Asian in design and had a peaked, pointed top. Intrigued, I bought it for $1.99, and took it home. It will find a place in one of my rooms of fashion artifacts. It got me thinking, however, about the history of the simple straw hat. It not only provides shelter from the sun, but in many cases has become a fashion staple for the style conscious as well in the summer. Here are a few of the facts that I artifacts

Your basic straw hat is simply woven out of straw or reeds. The hat was designed long, long ago to protect the wearer from the effects of the harsh sunny climates and prevent heatstroke. Later straw hats were used as fashion statements and sometimes as a decorative element of a uniform.

Straw hats have been a mainstay in Europe and Asian during the warm weather seasons since before the middle ages, thus predating the founding of our country. They are also the least changed headwear, as far as design is concerned, since many older examples could be worn today and no one would know whether it was antique or new.

goodwill fashion artifactsThere are many types of woven straw hats, but they all share the fact that they are woven out of some sort of natural plant fiber. The basic form of the hat is achieved by utilizing the same methods that produce felt hats. The fiber once woven is softened by submersion in hot water or steamed and then formed by hand over a head form called a hat block. The more expensive the hat is the more closely woven the fiber is. Since mine it is more rustic looking it would have been hand made by a villager and possibly sold for just a few bucks originally. Larger hats are usually more expensive to make since they require more time and effort by the weaver, thus driving up the price.

There are many types of straw hats, but the one I bought would seem to fit the bill of the Conical hat, which was primarily worn by the farmers of Southeast Asia.

amazing goodwill artifactsThe flat-topped hat, also with a flat brim like a Frisbee, is called a Boater. This hat was named so because of gentlemen wearing them in the summer while paddling canoes and other outdoor activities that required protection of a more formal variety.

The straw hat that is probably most famous is the Panama hat named for the tropical region in Ecuador where it was first produced.

I actually own a couple of different straw hats myself that are fun to wear and good protection from the sun during the summer months. One is a fedora-type that has a striped hatband, one is a Panama hat that I wear for gardening, and then I have the amazing new one. But I probably won’t wear that one and just display it instead. I took some pictures of them for you including my recent find.

fashion artifacts from goodwillThis just goes to prove that your Goodwill Retail Store is a great place to find unique items that will not only expand your wardrobe and style, but your mind as well!




















Topics: summer, Fashion Trends, Fashion Expert