Image: Showbit

How can I stay stylish in the heat?

Singapore experienced the hottest day of the year yet on Sunday, with the temperature soaring to 35.6 deg C, and it is likely to remain high for the next two weeks.

Even if one applies sunscreen diligently daily, it does not provide shade from the harsh glare of the sun. Carrying an umbrella would suffice, but if you want to look stylish, why not go for a hat?

More than just an accessory, the hat protects the scalp and face against the scorching heat and also hides bad hair.

But not any hat will do. The style to be seen in is the boater or Panama hat, which lends its wearer a debonair charm. The Panama hat, which originates from Ecuador, has a brim that is flat in front and curled up at the back, while a boater hat has a flat crown and grosgrain ribbon trim (check out actor Tobey Maguire in 2013’s The Great Gatsby).

Mr Bill Cain, owner of hat boutique Hat of Cain in Joo Chiat Street, recommends wearing the Panama hat low on the forehead. He says: “Some Panama hat brims tend to curl upwards, so keeping the hat brim down stays true to the style of the hat shape.”

Here are tips when buying a Panama or boater hat:

• Go for hats with a finer weave. They cost more, but are of better quality.

• Find a hat that sits comfortably just above the middle of your forehead. Determine the hat size by measuring the head circumference about 1.3cm above the ears. A 54 to 55cm circumference is generally a small size, 56 to 57cm is medium and 58 to 59cm is large.

• The hat can either match or contrast the colour of an outfit. When in doubt, choose a white hat as it is the most versatile.

• Floppy straw hats with frayed edges give off a casual vibe, while a more structured hat is akin to a blazer – it instantly sharpens an outfit.

Here are some picks:

Image: ST

1. Classic Panama hat, $135 to $400 depending on the weave, from Hat of Cain A classic Panama hat with contrasting black trim adds a graphic pop to any outfit.

2. Frode Panama hat from Norse Projects, $349, from Kapok at National Design Centre Pair this hat with a navy blazer or top to match the faux-suede navy band.

3. Woven paper straw hat with contrasting white band, $75, from Massimo Dutti This blue hat will contrast nicely with an all-white outfit.

4. Natural straw boater hat, $49.90, from Topshop A casual straw hat that goes best with flirty sundresses or a simple T-shirt-and-denim shorts combination.

5. Boater hat, $178, from Heads of State Millinery This hat by the Singapore brand is a rustic take on the classic boater hat. Pair it with a linen dress or shirt.


A version of this story was originally published in The Straits Times on April 7, 2016. For more stories like this, head to

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