Last updated: August 17, 2021

Our method

12Products analysed

22Hours spent

3Evaluated articles

71User reviews

Many of us have witnessed how a large percentage of foreigners still think that everyone in Mexico still wears a hat and a serape. On the one hand, this is not surprising, as they turned out to be iconic garments after the success of the Golden Age films. Among them, the most recognisable was the charro hat.

Even if we don't dress up as charros every day, the Mexican hat is still an accessory that we still wear today. If you are considering buying a Mexican hat you should know what they are, what advantages and disadvantages they have and, above all, which ones exist and when they are used. This way you will be able to wear it like a true Mexican.




Summary

  • Mexican hats are a headgear that are part of people's regular or casual clothing. Some are worn for tradition, others for work, others to cover themselves from the sun and others to commemorate an event or tradition.
  • Beyond the most iconic and recognised charro hat, there are also other typical Mexican hats. Their variety goes hand in hand with the regional and climatic roots of Mexico, such as the "calentano", the "jipijapa", the "texana", the "comal", the "jarocho", etc.
  • As for the criteria that we must take into account before buying a hat, we must know the parts that compose it, the sizes and the materials. Three very relevant points if we wish to achieve a successful purchase.

The best Mexican Hat: Our Picks

What you need to know about Mexican hats

Shopping is an art that most of us enjoy, an adventure and even a mental outlet and anti-depressant resource. However, when we get carried away by an impulse, we often make the wrong decisions or wake up feeling guilty. So that this doesn't happen and you can buy the best and most suitable for you, we have created the following buying guide.

The charro hat is a representative garment of Mexican culture. (Photo: michelangeloop/ 123rf.com)

What is a Mexican hat and what are its advantages?

The Mexican hat is a garment redesigned with the main purpose of covering oneself from the sun and keeping as cool as possible. Many workers in the field and in other fields work for long periods of time in extreme weather conditions.

The "almost" universal characteristic of this variety of hats is that they are wider than normal in order to protect more areas of the body. Today, they are still in common use among country people and people dedicated to the charrería, as well as at certain national and personal events.

Among its main advantages, there is an international and national-regional cultural link. In addition, it will undoubtedly be a very useful item in seasons of high temperatures where others do not cover sufficiently.

In addition to the traditional uses, in Mexico people also use them to greet a friend (by raising the hat), to give water to a horse, to get some air in the shade, to shoo a fly, to cover themselves from the rain and even to catch a snake in the field. Its uses and advantages are limitless.

Advantages
  • Cultural link
  • They provide shade for the head, neck and shoulders
  • There are several types of typical hats
  • They keep the head cool and protect from dust
  • They are used in regional events, parties, work, etc.
Disadvantages
  • Some are very big
  • The smell of straw hats can be uncomfortable
  • They are not of universal size
  • Due to their size, it is complicated to buy them online

Mexican charro, Texan, jipijapa or jarocho hats - What should you pay attention to?

You may have seen them and not paid enough attention to them, but there are several hats of Mexican origin. They do not maintain the same popularity as a charro hat, but they are just as important.

Practically every Mexican hat has a reason for being and above all a place of rootedness, occupying an important place in events of the region to which they belong. They can be seen in patriotic events, regional events, parades, charrerías, typical Mexican towns, fiestas, holidays or simply used for work. These are some of the most outstanding models:

  • Charro hat. Of Jalisco origin, this type of hat is used by charros or horsemen who, together with the hat, wear a traditional Mexican costume and ride a horse. They are made of wool felt, hare's hair or wheat straw. It is the most representative of Mexico and is strongly linked to the cliché of the Mexican macho.
  • Texan hat. A hat used especially in the southern United States and northern Mexico. It is also known as norteño and is widely used by bands of this musical genre and their followers. There is a derivative called "diez galones" (ten gallons) which is water resistant.
  • Jipijapa hat. So called because it is made of a palm tree that is 1 to 2 metres high. Its leaves are braided until they are made into a hat that will help cover you from the sun. Its origin comes from Yucatan and Campeche. It has a decorative black ribbon that is a trademark of this design.
  • Jarocho hat. Made of palm, it is elaborated with very short and raised brims; its design has four cavities, also called pedradas (four sinks in each corner of the crown) and colourful ornaments, generally feathers.
Sombrero charro Sombrero texano Sombrero caletano Sombrero jijapa
Region Jalisco South of the United States and in the North of Mexico Guerrero, Michoacán and Edo. De México Yucatán, Campeche
Material Wool felt Straw or leather Natural fibre of royal palm Palm
Use Fiestas patrias, charreadas, regional dances Protection from the sun, dances, rodeos Protects from the sun Protects from the sun

Is there an evolution and design of Mexican hats?

Although there is some debate about the origin of sombreros in Mexico, one of the most popular versions is that it was the Spanish who brought the sombrero to this country. However, due to the specific climatic characteristics of Mexico, their design and measurements were not suitable.

It was this need that led to the hat being modified to create an option with more extended brims that ended up covering not only the head but also the neck and shoulders. Its popularity spread and today you can find options that have deep-rooted regional and cultural roots.

On the other hand, in the past it was a garment that denoted a person's social class. Those made of straw belonged to people of lower means and those made of velvet or felt to people of more affluent status. Nowadays, however, they do not properly reflect status but represent a region, activity or personal taste.

Are there other traditional hats?

There are other hats no less important than those mentioned above, though perhaps of lesser fame. Like the above, each one belongs to the place in which it was created and has a stamp of its own.

  • Comal hat. Traditional from Nayarit, it is a hat made with a palmilla that is produced in the region called soyate. They are joined by hand across the width of the hat to give it its shape. It has four stones in its crown.
  • Caletan hat. Typical hat from the area of Tlapehuala, Guerrero, as well as from Michoacán and the State of Mexico. They are made of palm leaves by artisans who spend up to a week making them. The upper part is straight and the lower part is short.
  • Chonta hat. Of Tabasco origin, this hat, also called atasteco, is made of straw or guano. It was used to cover oneself from the heat, but nowadays it is more common to see it only in folkloric dances and festivals.
  • Sombrero costeño. Typical hat from Guerrero, also known as "guerrerense". It is made of a thick palm that is baked all around it, which makes it very durable. It has very wide brims and has ventilation holes and a cord to hold it in place.

In Mexico, one only has to go to the handicraft markets to find options with the different hats available. (Featured image photo: Philippe Halle / 123rf.com)

How much does a Mexican hat cost?

The price of a hat depends on its method of manufacture, material, size and quality, among other factors.

Buying criteria

In order to choose our next hat, it is good to have some important guidelines that will help us to achieve our goal by acquiring only what we need without diverting our attention to details that are not so important.

  • Parts of the hat
  • Sizes
  • Materials

Parts of the hat

Mastering the language of what we are interested in is the best way to understand the product in depth and to delimit our desires. In this way, we can get closer to the options that really interest us. To help you, we will take a brief look at the most elementary terms.

  • Crown. Also known as the crown, this is the part of the hat that covers the top of the head, the part that keeps our ideas in the shade. It can end in a peak or be round, with more or less height. Sometimes it has ornaments, sometimes ventilation holes and sometimes it can be designed with 2 or 4 stones.
  • Wing. Also called brim, it is the horizontal circumference around the crown. In Mexican sombreros it is usually wide enough to cover the head and stiff enough to stand upright. The front brim or visor is the front part of the hat that serves to shade the wearer's eyes.
  • Soft band. This is the inner part of the hat that is in direct contact with the head. It is smooth, without burrs or anything else that would make it uncomfortable to wear. On the other hand, the hat band, also known as belt, is an accessory that helps to give shape to the hat, it is located between the crown and the brim.

Taking into account its x-ray we recommend you to decide for a hat that suits your tastes and needs. If you want to cover yourself from the sun during a beach adventure, a charro hat will not be the best choice: it is heavier and will not keep you cool.

Sizing

An expert milliner can determine what size a customer needs just by looking at it. However, customers often need to try on different hats until they find one that fits them. On the other hand, the best thing to do as a buyer would be to know your measurements and the options according to the different sizes available.

When a hat does not fit a head properly, it can be too tight and uncomfortable, or it can constantly fall over the forehead. Below we will show you a reference table to give you a better idea of what size you need.

Size in letters Size in Inches Size in Centimetres
XS or extra small 6 3/4", 6 5/8" 54, 53
S or small 7, 6 7/8" 56, 55
M or medium 7 1/4", 7 1/8" 58, 57
L or large 7 1/2", 7 3/8" 60, 59
XL or extra large 7 3/4", 7 5/8" 62, 61

Materials

Depending on the type of hat, its purpose and the region to which it belongs, a variety of materials are used to make traditional Mexican hats, such as felt, wheat straw, palm, wool and leather, among others. Some of the most outstanding are:

  • Jipijapa. The palm from which these hats are made has its origins in Ecuador, and even its name comes from one of the cantons where it was customary to make hats. This fabric is harvested in two localities in Campeche, left to dry and dehydrated before it can be used. It is soft and natural to the touch.
  • Soyate palm. Also known as hat palm or sweet palm. It is a plant that grows in the shape of a palm tree and is capable of reaching up to 9 metres in height. Its process involves harvesting, collecting, boiling, drying and cutting and then starting to weave with 20-metre long palm leaves.
  • Panama Palm. It is a material that comes from a palm tree called paja toquilla, scientifically known as carludovica palmata. It is a natural green fibre that is processed to obtain a natural colour.
  • Felt. This material is an agglomerate produced by means of pressure and steam. It is obtained from the wool of lamb (wool felt), rabbit, hare or beaver (fur felt). The collected raw material can weigh between 140 and 240 grams and come in different colours. This option is waterproof, hard-wearing and very effective in cold weather.

Now that we have given a more detailed idea of the types of hats and their materials, we recommend you to check their quality before buying. However, the higher the quality, the higher the price. Therefore, knowing your budget is an important step before making your purchase. At the same time, consider its functionality, whether you want it for the heat, for a party or to go on holiday.

(Featured image photo: Arseniy Krasnevsky/ 123rf.com)

Reviews