I have a love-hate relationship with hats. On the one hand, there are some of them that look great and if I wear them as an accessory, say to a wedding, it's wonderful. On the other hand, sometimes they look goofy, but they're a necessity in order to keep the sun from burning off my scalp or my ears from freezing and falling off. They always flattened down my hair and leave me disheveled. There's no avoiding hat hair if you wear a hat.
People wear hats for different reasons. Native Peruvian women, for instance, wear bowler-type hats called bombins. The style of hat indicates their “tribe”.
Men on Taquile, an island in the middle of Lake Titicaca, wear woolen stocking caps which are knitted by the men themselves. Depending on the way they wear them indicates their marital status and whether or not they're flirting with someone.
The hats worn by some of the native tribes of the South Pacific are pretty elaborate though I had no desire to buy or wear one.
There are formal top hats, which in my humble opinion, look ridiculous on all men. There are stovepipe hats a la Mr. Lincoln and pillbox hats a la Jackie Kennedy. Veiled hats, picture hats, fedoras, derbies, berets, tams and dingleberry hats. There are those cool ones that the U.S. Park Rangers wear and the iconic ones that are worn by the French Foreign Legion. How about the Bearskin hats worn by the Buckingham Palace guards or the Beefeater hats? If you've got to wear a hat, you might as well make a statement.
Panama hats are my favorite. They're made in Ecuador, not Panama, and we received quite a lesson in quality hat making when we visited Montecristi, Ecuador, the Panama hat making capital of the world. We tried on many and we each ended up buying one. I liked the jaunty way it sat on my head as I tilted it to the side a bit. It blows off in a good wind, however … like on a sailboat, for instance.
I tend to wear the typical baseball cap for excursions ashore. It covers my head and stays on when it's windy, but allows my pony tail to stick out the back. It does not cover my ears, however, which can sometimes pose a problem, so I slather on the sunscreen. We wear watch caps on night watch and sometimes even ear muffs. The hat hair seems to matter less in the dark, at sea, at 0300.