About Sombrero Hats
Consisting of a wide, upturned brim and a high, conical crown, the sombrero was designed to protect the wearer from the hot South American sun. The name 'sombrero' is in fact derived from the Spanish word 'sombra', meaning shadow or shade.
Sombreros were constructed in a variety of materials. For poor Mexican peasants, woven straw was the least expensive choice, whereas richer people opted for luxurious felt versions. The chin string was an integral part of the design, helping the heavy sombrero to remain balanced on the head.
The sombrero was also adopted by the cowboys of the American West, although their hats featured smaller brims and lower crowns. The larger versions were not practical in a ranch environment.
Nowadays, sombreros can be found in a huge variety of styles. The size of the brim can vary greatly, from a small and modest design to an extravagantly large shape. Today's sombreros usually feature some kind of pattern which replicates those found on authentic Mexican versions. These can be printed on the fabric or woven in with coloured fibres. Many styles also feature extra embellishments such as pom-poms, intricate soutache embroidery, and chin strings.
Sombreros are a great finishing touch for a Mexican fancy dress costume. They can be used for Wild West or film theme parties, and have become a popular choice for stag and hen nights. Sombreros are available in both adult and child sizes, and look great with other Mexican-style accessories such as ponchos and fake moustaches.