30 of the best men’s summer hats

This summer’s takes on classic sunhats are brimming with attitude, says Tom Stubbs

Yosuzi straw Panama, £215
Yosuzi straw Panama, £215

In 2016, I spotted David Beckham in the crowd at Wimbledon’s No 1 Court with son Brooklyn, the picture of the stylish, modern father. But for one thing. The recently appointed British Fashion Council ambassador was wearing a bakerboy hat in herringbone tweed in the hot July sun. Stetson’s latest eight-piece newsboy cap, which is identical in shape but fashioned in light, breathable, woven Japanese toyostraw would have been a more appropriate choice – best in wheat/gold (£59) or mottled stone. And it’s just one of this summer’s cool hats that are stealing it in the style stakes.

Stetson Japanese toyo straw newsboy cap, £59. Lock & Co cotton seersucker Santorini newsboy cap, £115
Stetson Japanese toyo straw newsboy cap, £59. Lock & Co cotton seersucker Santorini newsboy cap, £115

For those looking for a relaxed, modern summer hat with attitude, Lock & Co has some strong contenders, including the new Santorini flat cap (£115), newsboy (£115) and baseball style (£95) in either blue/white or cream/white seersucker. At Stetson, the aforementioned newsboy (£59) and the Madison flat cap (£69) also come in a multitude of linens in muted summer colours, from dusty pink and olive to denim. And at Drake’s, there are simple cotton bucket hats in navy (£75), cream or olive. For something really head-turning, try Loewe’s pith helmet-inspired woven straw hat in black (£225) or white. 

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For the more traditional dresser, Panamas are invariably the go-to, and Jeremy Hackett’s Panama (£195) in superfine toquilla palm is smart and light, while the chalky medium-brim version (£120) has a jolly striped band. But the Panama-scape is shifting.  Hackett is a man who knows his hats: “I would wear a Panama hat to Glorious Goodwood or to polo with a pale lightweight suit and corresponding shoes,” he says, “but earlier this year at the Prince of Wales’ 70th birthday party I noticed a number of guests in morning dress paired with Panamas instead of silk top hats and complemented by buff waistcoats. I thought they looked rather good – and given the soaring temperature, they were sensible too.” Hackett also told me about a straw bowler he is devising – but hasn’t quite perfected. Others hatmakers are also experimenting across genres, although it can be a challenge.

Lock & Co straw Classic Panama, £250
Lock & Co straw Classic Panama, £250

Back at Lock, meanwhile, the clientele of the nearly 400-year-old establishment now have the option of semi-bespoke, customised Panamas (£6,500) in an exceptionally fine straw weave, with the client’s preferred shape and width of crown and brim. The more modestly priced Classic Panama (£250) comes with a choice of ribbon, while other fresh summer hat styles include a deep‑brimmed Cordoba (£495) in a semi-bleached tobacco hue, the Bali Panama (£295) with deep brim – though it would require David Bowie’s poise to pull it off – the treacle-coloured Tuscany fedora (£175) and the robust updated Riviera boater (£135), both of which are chain-woven in a spiral. 

Prada straw trilby, £410. Paul Smith straw Panama, £150. Anderson & Sheppard sisal Panama, £165
Prada straw trilby, £410. Paul Smith straw Panama, £150. Anderson & Sheppard sisal Panama, £165

When it comes to fit, “put a finger on each ear, sit the hat above them and keep it horizontal so it makes a lovely line across the eyes,” says Audie Charles, store manager at Anderson & Sheppard. Best from the brand this season are the narrow-brimmed Panamas with navy ribbon (£175) and the versions (£165) in café au lait sisal with chocolate band, which Charles says should be worn with the peak down, so they sweep back, “like Concord”.  

Loewe natural fibre hat, £225
Loewe natural fibre hat, £225

I love these darker, tobacco-y and semi-bleached hues for Panamas, but for those who gravitate towards crisp whites, Brazilian swimwear and lifestyle brand Fescobol Carioca has some striking wide-brimmed Panamas (£160) with colourful bands, while Giorgio Armani has simple white woven ones (£320) with narrow brims.  

Frescobol Carioca straw Panama, £160. Borsalino straw Panama, £225. Giorgio Armani woven straw Panama, £320
Frescobol Carioca straw Panama, £160. Borsalino straw Panama, £225. Giorgio Armani woven straw Panama, £320

Prada’s narrow-brimmed hats have Rat Pack rakishness – its woven trilbies with sleek profiles are two-tone, either in cream with a black brim (£410) or pale metallic grey with graphite. Sinatra, who often chose a trilby with a fancy or patterned band, wore his to the back and side. 

Drake’s cotton bucket hat, £75
Drake’s cotton bucket hat, £75

The current crop of hats from Matchesfashion.com is also likely to have turned the heads of that roguish crew. I’m keen on the two-tone, olive-green Panama (£225) with rich khaki ribbon from classic Italian marque Borsalino, which would look dapper teamed with similarly toned tailoring, as well as the brand’s white Panama (£225) with navy brim. Matches also stocks Japanese brand Yosuzi, which has elaborate and colourful banded Panamas (£215) – including those (£225) with repeated Greco motifs and bold woven stripes. Vibrant colour can also, unsurprisingly, be found at Paul Smith, where woven skinny-brim trilbys or pork-pie hats in cream, cobalt and orange (£150) are brimming with attitude. Dark navy or chocolate Panamas (£200) with a doodled bird, sun or dog motif are also cool, as are textured, braided styles (£95) with different-colour panels, while a black straw (£100) hat with navy grosgrain ribbon and signature Smith multicolour trim is for the sophisticated crowd. There are also hats (£100) with ultra-skinny stripe brims, which feel more Caribbean beach than Henley Regatta – and while they won’t keep much sun out of the eyes, they’d certainly turn a few heads.

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