Hats Worn in Peru: 5 Interesting Facts

In Peru, there are numerous popular hat choices with each have a meaning. Many hats also have traces of Huari, Incan, and Spanish Colonial history in each location. Hats like the montera, chullo, bowler, top hat, and sombrero are just some of the many different types.  Women’s hats are normally much more ornate compared to the men’s usually smaller, knit caps. 

Here are 5 intriguing facts about the hats worn in Peru:

  1. Peruvian hats can symbolize your social class and age. 
  2. Men wear pom-poms on their hats.     
  3. Bowler hats are popular with women in Peru.    
  4. Hats in Peru are intricate and eye-catching. 
  5. The Panama hat partly originated from Peru. 

In Peru, the hats are fascinating. Below are five expanded facts that you probably didn’t know about Peruvian hats. 

1: Peruvian hats can symbolize your social class and age.

The montera is a wide-brimmed hat that is shaped like a fruit bowl. These hats can be filled with things like fruit, flowers, and other décor. This hat is traditionally only worn by women and can show her class and age. If she wears it at a certain angle, it means that she is a widow.  The Peruvian hat is distinct from the montera hats worn in Spain by bullfighters.

Peruvian women wearing traditional montera hats
@betobordoy via Twenty20

2: Men wear pom-poms on their hats. 

The chullo hat is a small knit cap that sports ear flaps and can come with two pom-poms attached to the ear flaps by a cord. These hats are made of durable materials like alpaca, llama, or sheep’s wool to insulate the wearer from the harsh Peruvian mountain conditions. 

Peruvian chullo hats
@spacehalide via Twenty20

3: Bowler hats are popular with women in Peru.    

With their invention in England in 1850, an English company wished to supply the railroad workers of Bolivia and Peru with bowler hats for the working men. However, these hats ended up being much too small. Because the working men could not wear them, the company was eventually convinced to sell them to women due to many believing it was a fashion statement in Europe to wear smaller hats. Therefore, they are more popular with women in the region.  Bowler hats are also popular with women in Bolivia. Read more here.

Peruvian women wearing a bowler hat
@Karetnikova_Elena via Twenty20

4: Hats is Peru are intricate and eye-catching. 

Hats can be very tall and made of many different colors. Usually, although a person’s clothing may be older and not as well taken care of, their hat is pristine and kept clean. Peruvian women can take a plain hat and dress it with items like flowers, ribbons, and sequins to make it a unique work of art. Outsiders could view the bright hats as over the top, but for a person native to Peru, it is a source of pride. 

5: The Panama hat partly originated from Peru.  

Although it is called the “Panama” hat, it only originates from the Ecuadorian coast and from small towns in the Andean Mountain range. From these areas, it was shipped to Panama and thus got its name. These hats can be seen in many different shapes and styles all throughout Peru. Read more about the origins of the Panama hat in this article.

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