Maybe you should get one of my Premium Foldable Panama Hats. Mr. Redford looks pretty good in his. Of course, he could probably hang a toilet seat around his neck and look so good it would launch a new style. He chose to turn the brim down all around. Most people just snap down the front. Either way, it’s a great looking hat. You needn’t be directing or starring in a feature film to wear this hat. Even I look pretty good in one.
Robert Redford does not endorse any product, including my hats.
But that is Robert Redford.
He is wearing my hat.
I hope he enjoyed my hat as much as I enjoyed his movie.
Okay, okay, I finally gave up. I yielded to public pressure. It was pretty obvious from all the calls that a lot of you really, really wanted a Montecristi hat that you can roll up. And you want it to look like a classic Panama hat. And you want it to cost less than the other Montecristis. You’re right. It’s a good idea. Here it is.
What’s different about these, compared with the Premium Foldable Panama Hats above? Plenty.
The Montecristi Foldable Panama Hat has a hand-sewn black grosgrain ribbon and bow outside, just like the non-foldable Optimo. Inside, there’s a soft, cushy, absorbent cotton sweatband instead of leather (you want to roll it up, right?).
If you want a Montecristi, and you want to roll it up, but you still want it to look like a classic Panama hat, this is your hat. Portable shade. Weighs about 3 ounces. Makes a somewhat different impression than a baseball cap.
$500, $600, $800, $1000, $1500
$2000, $3000, $5000
$7500 to $25,000
2 ½ to 3 1⁄8 inches
Wider or shorter by request
If you leave it up to me, smaller size hats will have smaller brims, larger hats will have larger brims.
4 to 4 ½ inches
(to the top of the ridge)
Taller or shorter by request
For proportion, I generally make larger size hats with taller crowns than smaller size hats.
21 3⁄8 to 25 ¼ inches
54.3 to 64.1 cm
Cotton Twill is the standard sweatband.
Standard ribbon for this style is 1 1⁄16 inch black.
A $1000 Montecristi foldable Panama hat, hand blocked in the classic Optimo style, would have to be The Ultimate Travel Hat. The Bee’s Knees of Travel Hats. The Ant’s Pants of Travel Hats. The It-Doesn’t-Get-Any-Better-Than-This Travel Hat. The—well, you get the idea.
Perhaps best of all, it’s a subtle self-indulgence in ultimate luxury. When you’re driving a Rolls Royce, everyone knows you’re driving a Rolls Royce. For some, I suppose that’s the point. It’s not subtle. But when you’re wearing a Brent Black $1000 Montecristi foldable Panama hat, all anyone else knows is that you’re wearing the finest Panama hat they’ve ever seen. You’ll hear “Nice hat” a lot. Every now and again someone (usually worth meeting) will focus a knowing eye on your hat and ask “A Montecristi?”
Marcie Polo is the great, great, great, great, great, great—well, she’s really great—granddaughter of Marco Polo. Like her illustrious ancestor, she knows how to travel. And she knows a good idea when she sees one.
Marcie wanted a high quality women’s travel hat. Asked me to design it. Said the Optimo just didn’t suit her. She wanted a classic Montecristi travel hat she could roll up: lose the crease, lose the dome, keep the black ribbon, something a man wouldn’t wear but not the least bit frilly or fussy.
She asked for something with classic styling, a hat she could wear to the Prime Minister’s garden party. She insisted it also must be ruggedly practical, a hat she could wear on a camel crossing of Tunisia with Sahara temperatures soaring to sauna levels.
She didn’t say if she intended to ride the camel to the garden party. I didn’t ask. With Marcie, just assume the outrageous and you’ll be right more often than not. She’s fun to watch.
For those of you with more normal travel itineraries, you will find the Marcie Polo™ hat perfect for climbing Maya ruins in the midday sun (but must you?), then again for savoring fresh shrimp at sunset (better). For shopping in souks, for dancing beneath the stars at Stonehenge. Or just hanging out by the pool.
Golf hat? That works.
It goes where you go. It does what you do. And you always look good together. Can a mere hat be better than a husband?
Marcie says Marco would have given me an “attaboy” for this one. An “attaboy” from Marco Polo. That would be very cool.
Since you probably looked at the pictures of the hat before you started reading, I don’t exactly have a Voila! moment here. As you can see, I chose classic simplicity. No creases, no dimples, no dome. 11⁄2-inch black ribbon, bow centered in back, loops tacked down for travel stability, brim 23⁄4 to 3 inches, inside sweatband of cotton twill. Everything shaped, sized, and sewn by hand. The brim is artfully distressed. Or not, if you prefer. Choose from: Wobbly, Up, Down In Front, Sort of Flat. The hat pictured has a 3-inch (7.6 cm) brim. Same hat, different brim styles.
Wobbly—Artfully distressed. Un-smoothed. First, I smooth and flatten the brim. Then I steam it and mess with it. No two alike. Confident, coquettish, casual.
Up—Smoothed and curled. Gentle upward curve all the way around. Like a nice big smile. A happy brim. Optimistic with a touch of schoolgirl flirtatiousness.
Down In Front—The front of the brim is turned down. The rest is up. A little more serious, a little more mysterious, a little more imperious. You will define which is which, and which is you.
Sort of Flat—I take out the curl. But it won’t stay flat. It will acquire attitude. Yours. Put it on and stuff happens. If there’s a seatbelt handy, you might want to fasten it first.
$700, $900, $1100, $1450, $1850, $2350
$3500 to $40,000
Mil Fino Page
(regular brim width) 2 3⁄4 to 3 inches
3 1⁄2 to 4 inches
(53.7 to 61.6 cm)
Standard sweatband for this style is cotton twill.
Standard ribbon for this style is 1 1⁄2 inch black.
Text and photos © 1988-2022, B. Brent Black. All rights reserved.
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