As many gardeners know, it’s important to protect oneself from the sun’s harmful rays with a garden hat or sun visor plus sunscreen. Why all the fuss about hats, though?
History of Garden Hats
Researchers have a hard time pinpointing the origin of hat wearing, but an oft mentioned painting inside an ancient tomb depicts a hat more than 5,000 years ago. If you think about it, hats really are an important accessory. They can protect against inclement weather, provide embellishment for pomp and circumstance, designate military branch or religious status, create a fashion statement, ward off the sun’s rays, and more.
Through the ages, hats have morphed from large brimmed to small brimmed and back again. They’ve changed with the seasons, the economies, the wars, and the fashions. Hats have been decorated with feathers, ribbons, flowers, and even stuffed birds. Historical hat names most recognizable are straw hat, fedora, Stetson cowboy hat (which by the way has remained unchanged), bonnet, Shepherdess, cloche, Trilby, beret, sombrero, top hat, turban, and Panama (which were never made in Panama, but Ecuador).
Garden Hat History
Garden hats may have started as straw hats or sun hats to wear at all the fashionable garden parties, work outside, or spend time at a seaside resort. As more information became known about the harmful effects of the sun on skin, garden hats have taken on a new appreciation by gardeners and others who spend a lot of time in the sun.
Gardening hat materials have evolved to shield as much of the ultraviolet rays as possible. UV light protection factors should range from 30 to 50. They often tie beneath the chin so as not to blow off in a gust of wind or a sudden stoop. Materials such as organic raffia, paper straw, and recycled plastic bottles are woven in a tight weave. Hats made with a loose weave that you can see through will let some of the harmful UV rays pass to your skin. Stick to the hats with a dense, tight weave or opaque fabric.
Today’s sun hats reflect styles of the past such as the fedora, cloche, and straw hat, but with a modernized look, contemporary colors, and clean lines. Wearing sun hats in gardens is not only fashionable, but healthy!