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Difference Between a Plantation and a Colonial Style Panama Hat

By Taylor James


Updated on

Panama styles are rightfully beloved by many hat enthusiasts and are identifiable by their traditional cream color, black band detail, and straw material. Within the Panama hat family, however, there are a few different styles; though containing mostly subtle differences, they individually give off distinct feels and are often picked for different occasions – all while retaining elegance and charm. When it comes to comparing the plantation Panama hat and its colonial version, what are their differences? 

The main differences between a plantation panama hat and a colonial panama hat are the shaping of their crown and their brims. Plantation style panama hats have curled edges and a pinched crown, with dents both at the sides and on top. These traits make this particular panama very comparable and reminiscent of the ever-so-popular fedora. On the other hand, colonial panama hats have flat brims, and all-around even, rounded crowns.

This article will go more into detail about the difference between plantation and colonial style panama hats, the pros and cons of each, and how to decide on the best option for you.

Plantation Panama Hats: An Overview

Sharing characteristics with the fedora means that the plantation style panama hat has a timeless look. The intentional, carefully placed pinched details on the crown give the hat a more relaxed, laid-back feel, and its curled brim offers an extra subtle yet elegant detail. 

man wearing plantation style Panama hat

Pros of Plantation Panama Hats

  • Perfect for every occasion: no matter where you are going, this hat can only add to your look. 
  • Lightweight: The straw material and the often opted-for narrower brim make the hat a lightweight accessory that won’t leave you feeling overheated.

Cons of Plantation Style Panama Hats

  • Not an original style: If you are looking to turn heads and  make a fashion statement, this style might be too subtle for you!
  • Less sun protection: While plantation style panama hats come in various different grades and brim sizes, the traditional, fedora-like brim won’t offer much sun protection for your face. 

Colonial Style Panama Hats: An Overview

The bold, straightforward approach of the colonial style panama hat makes for a strong yet simple look. The simple design works as a statement accessory in any look, while refraining from being eccentric or over the top. 

Pros of Colonial Style Panama Hats

Cons of Colonial Style Panama Hats 

  • Can require more styling: though they are certainly appropriate for any and all occasions, the colonial style panama hat might not be your grab-and-go accessory – its distinctive look might require some more planning to go with your outfits.
  • Less flexible sizing: Because of its “non-pinched” crown, the sizing of your colonial panama hat has less room for mistake, as one that is too big would fall onto your head and possibly obstruct your vision.

Which One Should You Choose? 

Both hats are incredibly stylish options, and, like most other accessories, it all comes down to your style preference. Take into account things like the occasions for which you see yourself wearing your panama hat, and the wardrobe you have to go along with it.

Final Thoughts

Are you looking at the colonial’s bold look that steps out of the box subtly and elegantly, or would you rather go for the timeless, effortless feel of the plantation-style? Whichever one you pick, you are sure to kill it with your new hat. 

About Taylor James

As Philip Treacy once said, “How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.” And on that note, I hope you enjoy your hats and find the site useful. Learn more about Hat Realm's Editorial Process.