Panama Hat + Striped Top + Maxi Skirt


I have a love-hate relationship with hats. I love trying them on, and I love the idea that a hat can instantly add some effortless style to your whole outfit.

But wearing a hat also adds to my insecurity. Does it fit right? Is it angled right? Am I pulling this off? In high school, I once wore my mom’s gray felt hat to class. I thought I looked great, until one of my closest friends pulled me aside and asked if I was ok. I was confused. Why wouldn’t I be ok?

“Well, you look ill. Like maybe you have a terminal disease.”

I kept the hat on for the rest of the day (I figured hat hair was worse), but I never borrowed it from my mom again.

Then there was a baby blue bucket hat I bought from Gap. I thought it was cute. Maybe it was too cute, because people kept asking me if I was 12, when I was 18.

So I stayed away from hats for many years, except the rare occasion I wear Mr. Wonderful’s college cap when I’m playing sports out in the sun. Sometimes you just don’t care.

And then last year, I spent three months living in Panama. Though authentic Panama hats are technically made in Ecuador, streets are lined with hat shops selling Panama hats of all shapes and sizes (and prices). I got it into my head that maybe, just maybe, I could channel Miranda Kerr and Taylor Swift. So after many weeks I decided to buy one. The store owner helped me select the right size.


A week later, I wore my hat on a boat ride when a gust of wind blew it off my head and landed in the ocean (another reason I hate hats!). The tour guide fished out the sopping hat for me, but I felt deflated. Even when it dried, the hat was now misshapen and I don’t love it anymore. I can’t figure out if I should bother with a replacement, or take it as a sign that I just wasn’t meant to wear hats.

PanamaExpress Striped Top (it’s actually a peplum!), Aritzia skirt, Ann Taylor belt, Gentle Souls ‘Break My Heart’ sandals

Do you wear hats? What is your opinion about them?

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  1. says

    Hats are definitely a bold statement, but you have always been bold! You can totally pull them off! I love your story, because I too had a hat blow into the ocean when I was on a boat (but sadly, this amazing hat was not retrieved). Mine was a super cool baseball cap with a turtle on it….that I wore at the age of 20 in Ecuador. hahahahaha. In my defense, it was basically the only hat I could find right before we went on a boat all day, and I had been getting sunburned on the previous days, so I was desperate!

  2. Virginia says

    I have that skirt but in a different color! I love aritzia. And I feel the same way with hats. I bought a janessa black wool hat and then returned it because T responded with, “sure.. If you want to look like that boy who won The Voice this year.”

  3. Christine says

    Love the outfit! The hat is really cute and chic on you. I like hats, but always feel a little self conscious wearing them. I’m less self conscious about it now that I’m a mom though. I have a red brim hat I like to wear when it’s sunny/hot.

    • lifeunrefined says

      Yes, I always feel self conscious wearing hats, too! That red brim sounds cute, send me a picture!

  4. Starla B says

    Such a beautiful outfit yet again. I love hats and they add so much to an outfit. Also, those shoes! Love!

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