The boater is a stiff oval-shaped straw hat with a flat top and brim, trimmed with ribbon around the crown, and as its name suggests it was the choice accessory for boating enthusiasts in the 19th century. Coco Chanel would prove that it wasn’t just reserved for men, Fred Astaire adopted one as his accomplice on stage, and Leonardo DiCaprio made it fashionable on screen in the Hollywood adaptation of The Great Gatsby.
It really is the most charming of "headgear”! Chic and casual, the boater gets its name from the Spanish "canoa" meaning "little boat". It has been worn since the first sail boats appeared on the River Seine at the beginning of the 19th century. At that time, Parisian boatmen worried about navigating while wearing a simple city suit were inspired by sailors’ outfits. They combined their straw hats with a white undershirt or a striped sweater and with linen or cotton darted pants, brightening up the hat with a colored ribbon.
King of the open-air dance hall