1980s clothing

Breton sailor straw hat Patricia Underwood

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Size: approximately a modern S-M (please see measurements)
Label: Patricia Underwood (purchased at Ultimo in Chicago)
Crown: 5” tall/deep
Brim: 3”
Diameter of inside of (slightly oval) crown: 7” by 8”
Inner circumference of crown (measured at inner grosgrain band): 21.5”

This gold and fuchsia pink straw hat by Patricia Underwood, circa late 1980s or early 1990s, is a traditional Breton hat shape, with a rounded crown and a wide brim, worn turned up all the way around. Patricia Underwood is described as “the queen of hats” in a Los Angeles Times article from September 1988 (author: Mary Rourke). According to Rourke’s article, many celebrities wore Underwood hats in the late 80s: from Princess Caroline of Monaco to Cher, and Molly Ringwald to Joan Collins—that’s quite a range! Originally purchased at Chicago boutique Ultimo and with it’s original price tag still attached, it looks like this hat retailed for $135, around 25-35 years ago—which is on the lower end for Underwood hat prices. (That’s around $235, today.) Handling the hat, you can see why her hats commanded premium prices: the straw is high quality, very soft and flexible, and the hat is quite well made. The hat’s crown should fit mid-way down the forehead as shown, rather than all the way down on the head. Designed to be worn as shown, with the brim turned up all the way around, it could also be worn with the brim turned down, if you prefer, as more of a sun hat. In excellent to mint condition, unworn with its original tag, this timeless Breton or sailor hat by Patricia Underwood is very wearable today--although the bright colors are very representative of its era!

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