sun protection outfitOn a recent trip to the Galapagos, I ignored good advice and didn’t pack a hat. How important could a hat be? I’d packed sunscreen, after all. 

But as any sensible traveler knows, when the sun beats down in equatorial climes, you will really kick yourself if you didn’t pack a hat. And if you’re fair and prone to skin cancer like me, you’ll be kicking yourself pretty darn hard. 

Anyway, as summer rolled around I vowed to become one of those people who remembers to grab her straw hat before going out in the sun. So I ventured over to Hawthorne Street, a big shopping street where I live in Portland, Oregon. After trying to cheap out in a couple of second-hand stores, I entered The Classic Collection, our neighborhood hat specialist. They had an astounding collection of hats. After much trying on and setting hats at jaunty angles, I chose one by Jeanne Simmons. (No, KISS fans, that’s Gene Simmons) 

While Jeanne Simmons makes various types of hats, she has a packable and crushable line that’s perfect for travel. And the brim adjusts so you can turn one side up and the other down, or however you want to arrange it. My hat has an extremely tight weave and is rated 50+ for sun protection. The tag claims it blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Take that, sun! While it’s a neutral color, it is thoroughly shot through with glitter. Skin cancer avoidance has never looked so glamorous! 

I’ve had the hat for two months now and it’s holding up well. It went on its first trip in my luggage last week and looks no worse for being folded and stuffed in my suitcase. The only drawback is the lack of a strap. Chin straps can look stupid, but on a windy day I have to keep one hand on my head. Still, my hat was $32 well spent. Although I did see a very similar Jeanne Simmons hat on sale for $15 online. So you might want to shop around.

Classic Collections  http://www.classiccollectionhats.com/

Jeanne Simmons Accessories   http://www.hatstack.com/