Do You Wear a Sunbonnet (or Straw Hat) to Protect Your Face and Neck From the Sun?

| 5/28/2010 11:55:09 AM

Sun hatDo you remember reading Little House on the Prairie? Maybe you watched the multi-year series on Tv. In either case, Ma, Pa and the girls all wore hats, especially in the summer. Pa’s hats were made from straw that Ma braided into long strips and sewed together, making the crown and then the wide brim. The girls all wore sunbonnets (and long-sleeved dresses) to keep the sun from browning their faces and arms, making them look uncivilized. Times change and today many of us favor a tanned look, thinking we look healthier than with pale, white skin.

I recently visited DeSmet, S.D., the setting for Little Town on the Prairie and The Long Winter. The Laura Ingalls Wilder gift shop offered calico sunbonnets, aprons and dresses for little girls who want to pretend they are just like Laura on the wild prairie. I managed to resist the impulse to buy one of each adorable set for my 7-year-old grand daughter, knowing she would never wear a bonnet or an apron.

If you have a hankering to make a sunbonnet for yourself or a Laura wanna-be, you can find an easy-to-make replica from a 1978 MOTHER EARTH NEWS article. Maybe you already wear head protection summer and winter; if so, tell us about your favorite hat in the comments section below.

Photo by Istockphoto


7/12/2010 10:02:50 PM

I am covered in freckles and have learned not to go outside without a wide brimmed hat. I generally can't wear women's hats, as I have a really big head! (Back in college, my head circumference and my waist were the same: 23 1/2 inches. Yeah, that's weird.) I recommend a hat company called Sunday Afternoon--I have a hat from them with a broad brim in front and loose fabric in back that covers your neck. It's the best choice for really windy days. I have an Australian mesh hat and a really big orange straw cowboy hat that I wear with the brim pulled down, so it doesn't really look like a cowboy hat. Now, if only I could remember to wear sunscreen every day! I've set my cell phone to chime a daily warning at 1pm, to remind me to go inside and get out of the sun.

7/12/2010 6:46:50 AM

I can't say I wear a straw hat, although I gentleman I install solar electric systems with does. You have to figure being a roof all day- and since it's for a solar system- it's NOT in the shade. I wear a boony-hat typically worn by special forces in the field. If it's sunny, I put the strap inside, and allow the brim to hang down on all sides, protecting my face, ears, and most of my neck. If it's not so sunny, I put the strap on the outside of the hat so it holds the sides up and wear it like a cowboy hat. What I like best about these hats is that you can get ones that are lighter and more breathable, or you can get some that are more waterproof. I'm sure just spraying it with a DWR treatment (obtained at any outing store like EMS, REI, possibly Cabellos/Cabellas?- unsure of the spelling, I don't shop there.) Anyway- DWR is a water-resistant coating that you spray on a few times a year. Love this style hat!

7/5/2010 12:09:27 PM

At 53 I am wearing broad brimmed hats most of the time. Another thing I have recently added was a bandanna around the neck. I was reading a western book the other day and it pointed out that the cowboys wore a bandanna draped over the back of the neck to protect them from the sun. I find that the broad brim hat still doesn't protect the neck. Not a cowboy but the bandanna does work.

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