For decades now, the sombrero hat has been a symbol of Mexican culture. In media and entertainment, if you find a character wearing a nice sombrero hat, there’s 90% chance the character is Mexican. Even in cartoons, Speedy Gonzales from the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes comes to mind, tagged “the fastest mouse in Mexico” with his yellow sombrero hat and exaggerated accent.
Mexicans are also known to be highly sensitive to cultural misappropriation especially where the sombrero is concerned and many people cannot understand why. For Mexicans, the sombrero is more than just a hat.
This might be because the history of the sombrero hat is not all happy and sweet. Working in the fields of Mexico and the southern United States was not easy for Mexicans in the old days particularly because of the heat of the sun. This created the need for the sombrero, a straw hat made to protect their heads and shoulders from the sun rays while they worked.
The Sombrero has come a long way from this past and is now used a cultural symbol with different types, sizes and vibrant colours. Some of these types include;
Quinciano (work/simple outdoor sombrero) – made from straw or other cheaper materials, with small brim size.
Diechinueve – Higher end version of Quinciano. It is produced from more durable material and with more complicated weave patterns. They are usually custom made for each individual wearer.
Veintiuno – A better version of Diechinueve sombrero hat.
Veintisiete – The most high end and complicated sombrero type. It is created from a thickly woven material that allows the user to fold entire hat and put it into a pocket. A single Veintisiete sombrero hat needs around 1 month to be created from scratch.
Full sombrero – Larger and heavier, usually created from single-coloured felt with small and unobtrusive decorations.
Traditional sombrero – The largest sombrero type in existence today. It is mostly worn during celebrations or by Mariachi musicians. Even with its size, this sombrero hat is still surprisingly lightweight although its size makes it impractical for almost any other use.
Modern, stylish sombrero hats – Modern variations of sombrero hats that are not made from traditional Central American materials. They are usually created for fashionable use by women who want to get protection from the sun on walkways, beaches, and nature.
Sombreros are among the most profitable souvenir materials bought by tourists who visit Mexico and continue to remain a symbol of the beauty of Mexican culture.