Picking Straws

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.Slim Paley photo

Summer hats in the front entrance of my beach house

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.Slim Paley photo

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Slim Paley here, coming to you with another tip to “Summerize” your space (to prove I’m not bitter, even though we haven’t woken up to sun in Santa Barbara a single day in June, or so it seems) My willow trees have rust and are actually sporting moss on their trunks.  There are Baby’s Tears growing in the lower slope of the lawn. But I digress…

HATS! Straw hats, and lots of them!  Pull them out and give them a prominent place to perch this summer.  If you’re low on hats, hit your nearest Target or the like and buy several to create a summery tone in your entrance- they’re so inexpensive and once the “Wasting away in Margaritaville” embellishments are removed, they look great.

Same goes for straw bags.

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I know I don’t usually share pics of myself but today…

oh wait…this isn’t me  🙁

Going back to bed…

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At least I have that belt.

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I lost the credit for this photo but it has to be one of my all time favourites- I adore everything about it.

Of course to know me is to know I’m a complete sucker for a pith helmet and if this tile floor is heated, I could be buried here.

Although, on second thought…maybe not such a good idea.

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 J.Crew

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Lauren Hutton

How we all want to look in a hat

This super cute chapeau and many others are available on NET-A-PORTER.COM  right now and a few are ‘On Sale’

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Brent Black, is the preeminent purveyor of handwoven straw hats in the world today.

Authentic Montecristi Panamas, the world’s greatest, are made from extremely fine toquilla straw and woven only in Ecuador; a handful of master weavers produce the best of the best, which sell for tens of thousands of dollars apiece.  No joke.

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Can you even imagine hand-weaving straw this fine??  I can’t even braid my own hair without it veering to the right.

Black offers dozens of different styles and bespoke finishes, some based on vintage patterns. In 2009, he commissioned  “The Hat”. Woven by his master weaver, who only produces 3 or 4 hats a year, it was so incredibly fine it weighed less than one ounce. “It is as thin as my stationery,” Black said. “When I handle The Hat, I do not worry that it might fall to the floor if I drop it; I worry that it might float away.”

Black’s best hats sell for $5,000 to $30,000. Black, who’s based in Hawaii, started the Panama Hat Company of the Pacific in 1987 for the specific purpose of trying to preserve the art of hand weaving the finest Montecristi hats. Each of the hats is custom made to order – hand woven, hand blocked and styled, custom sized. The price isn’t about the label; it’s about the labor. And the art. “I believe the most direct way to encourage any artists is to buy their work and to pay them high enough wages and commissions that they will be eager to create more of their art,” Black says. “So I pay the weavers higher prices than anyone else in the world. Plus I pay the artists commissions when their art is sold.

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Hats taking shape

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All photos via Brent Black and info. from a  Luxist article (2009)

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Stack those babies!

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Maison Michel $475

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Carolina Herrera

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Shelly Kroeger Photography

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 Net -A -Porter.com

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.Slim Paley Photo

An old hat sits in my front hall

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Also from Net-A-Porter.com

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A vintage french Boater on my sideboard in the kitchen (it actually opens up, a real treasure)

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What an adorable outfit

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What an adorable outfit

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 $80 on Net-A-Porter.com!

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I tip my hat to you   xx

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30 Comments

  1. My former boss wore berets in the Winter and straw hats in the Summer. I also hung straw hats above a bed in a guest room of a farmhouse. I love the color of straw, a love the texture, I love how casual it is. Straw hats to me always seem to imply leisure somehow.

    Great examples Slim!

    Cheers,

    Claudia

  2. Isn’t Sean Connery beautiful….with or without hair or hat, I must say.
    Loved the whole hat post. Really fun for start of the summer.

  3. You got me with this post, Slim. I am a sucker for straw hats! Closet overflowing – husband indulgent- best combination to have.

  4. While visiting Santa Fe, it became quite apparent we needed hats! Straw hats! Love your examples and photos. Especially the one of Sean Connery. Oh, be still my heart! ~Delores

  5. Such kismet. I was watching Polyanna this morning and admiring the straw hats the men wore. I wondered if these hats were strictly for the day time and they switched to fedoras at night. Did you know that men’s hats went out of style when John F. Kennedy was inaugurated? He didn’t want to mess his hair up so he went without.

    • That’s a fascinating bit of info Terri about JFK. My father wore a “Panama” hat every summer I can remember from my young years 1930’s until he died in 1979. That is all that he wore in summer. Come autumn out came the Italian Borsolino felt hats.

  6. I wore my Panama for the first time this week–I have had it since a trip to Greece in 1983!! Looks like new and I love it.

  7. OK this is a Fabulous Post+grand images. Straw ,the color, is one of my weaknesses- Oh heck, anything straw: hats, purses, colors, you name it. .xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

  8. How funny! I just returned home from running errands, in my very wide brimmed straw hat,with the black band around the crown. This is one of those few and far between days when I actually like how I looked -wide brimmed hat with white linen pleated blouse, tiny black and white checked full skirt, that buttons up the front, and black ballerina
    shoes. Usually I feel very frumpy, today I feel very Continental! See what a hat can do for you? I love hats.
    Everybody have a happy hat day!
    Miranda
    SF Bay Area

  9. I have several great straw hats but lately I feel too “old” to wear one! You have reinspired me! Never to old to wear a straw fedora!

  10. I love, love, love this blog! And it brings back so many memories. I knew it was summer when my father with strawberry blond hair and freckles got out the “Panama” hats and summer was over when the Borsolino felts came out. And summer suits — blue & white searsucker thin stripes ordered from New Orleans. I thought he looked so handsome. Wonder if those suits are still made????

  11. Though I have big noggin and have to buy my straw hats in the men’s dept ( I don’t think my big head is that obvious) I have made it my summer mission to wear my variety of hats on most days this spring and summer. So much easier to run out and do errands without worrying about the hair! This might become a habit and will look for some really good winter ones, this is too easy. Great post Slim and I bet you look great in a hat. XO

  12. Slim, love straw hats and bags!! The French Basketeer has wonderful ones! I really had no idea of the cost of a true Panama Hat. They are works of art!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

    I have a New, very fashionable Giveaway on my site! Come and see!

  13. Sean Connery, yes wears it very well. What is that plain model doing wearing your belt ?
    Wish i could wear a hat. If you saw my face you would agree. Since reading your post I have been humming ‘sipping cider through a straw!” Happy fun post . ox

  14. You are such a cleaver girl S.P…. and so timely, I must say!
    I just took my favorite straw hat off, leaving it safe and sound in Baja.
    I wore it all of last week and can’t wait to return to it next year…!
    xoxo

  15. Wow! Just bought two new straw hats at Targ-A, to go with the zillion others I have. I think I am going to ‘SP’ up my entry for Summer and hang them up there! A blue one in there will go with the blue and white Chinese pottery! S U M M E R ! Love it, Slim!

  16. As usual, you are hilarious! Just how long do you think it would take to hone our skills to gain employment with Monsieur Black? Hmmm? We are, apparently, in the wrong business! Although I have never met a needlepoint canvas that my ADD has encouraged me to complete, the carrot on the end of that straw, I mean stick, just might be the incentive I would need. Maybe there are drugs out there that would give me the patience, skill, and concentration that this would take. I love straw hats, they are my grown up answer to the bandana that we all sported at our all girls school! Thank you Slim!

  17. Fun post!

    The black and white Carolina Herrera ensemble with the big bow at the waist is out of this world!!!

    Love hats. The only time I’ve ever worn a hat was on my wedding day. That occasion way back in 1983 gave me the perfect excuse to wear something simliar to what Princess Diana was often seen in. It wasn’t easy finding a hatmaker in Vancouver in 1983; the one I found was a huge fan of Princess Diana and made me the hat of my dreams c/w a little veil in the front. I wished I could wear it all the time. I still have it. The marriage didn’t last, but the hat did. 🙂

  18. Love the hole in Sean Connery’s hat…love Sean Connery in anything!

    Here is a song for your straw hats…

    Billie Holiday
    Irving Kahal / Sammy Fain

    A sunbonnet blue and a yellow straw hat
    Shy little he and she
    Were declaring love’s old story
    In the shade of the old apple tree,,

    A sunbonnet blue and a yellow straw hat
    Decided to say, “I do”
    So they rode to June and glory
    On a bicycle built for two
    Hear the past. The song is old.
    The summer days are through
    With silver threads among the gold
    They still say, “I love you”

    A sunbonnet blue and a yellow straw hat
    Are true to this very day
    For he loves her in December
    As he did in May

  19. Love everything about this post. Would love to see more of your beach house! I would also love to have that Carolina Herrera outfit…sigh! Also love your pics of your boys in your front hall when they were small–reminds me of my own almost grown boys.

    Please also tell us what you are reading this summer 🙂

  20. I’m with KTrader…would LOVE to see more of your beach house. I love beach houses. btw…I find your humor so wonderfully refreshing. It makes my day;) Thanks for another great post!

  21. I just loved that hat you sported in your Vegas trip! It has been on my mind to shop for one ever since. Such a desire of mine to have a ultra fino Montecristo for some time . I think they make a woman look very distinguished , polished, sexy and mysterious. Those fedora’s remind me of a hot sultry summer night, south of the border, drinking Cuba Libre’s where the ice never lasts long enough and linger of cigar smoke in the air. Excellent post and you never fail to delight!

  22. Wish I looked like the darling models in a hat…sadly, not so much. As a redhead I SHOULD wear hats, especially in summer! Thanks for another fun and entertaining post.
    Karen

  23. I got the cutest fedora last week at (don’t tell anyone), Forever 21, which I call, Forever 31 (my mother-in-law calls it Forever 61). It was $9.99!

    Loved your hat you wore in Vegas!

Would love to hear from you!