A few summers ago while walking down Prince Street and studiously avoiding McNally Jackson, lest, God forbidden, I made eye contact with an acquaintance who also likes to read, I stumbled upon the most perfectly engineered product ever made. It was in the window of a Tibetan store that I had walked by hundreds of times over the past decade but never noticed. In its window was what looked to be a bamboo fan — the sort of thing you might buy for a friend’s kid at Pearl River — next to many other bamboo fans all lined up in a row, each spread slightly more widely than the last. The final fan in the series was not a fan at all but a hat. I had to know more.
Inside the store were dozens of fan hats, and the salesclerk demonstrated how they work. You open the fan further and further until the bamboo slats begin to strain, and then right before you think the contraption is about to break in half, you — very quickly — hook both sides to one another, closing the circle. The miraculous hat that emerges has a wicker-like top and structured cloth brim. There’s also a trusty adjustable chin lanyard. I bought a plain turquoise one for $20 and have kept it in my purse from May to October ever since. It’s compact and dual-purpose (fan plus hat) and the chin lanyard ensures it doesn’t blow off in the wind.
A few more sun hats we like
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