Q: Summer is coming around and out here in the desert (Phoenix, AZ), it gets pretty hot. Especially when standing in the sun. In hopes of staying as cool as possible, I'm looking at buying a Panama hat. They are a classic and seem suitable for desert wear during the summer.
A: This hat was invented in Ecuador which, as you might suspect, is at the equator. For every degree one travels either N or S latitude from 0° -- up to 30° max -- the less it works.
Sean Connery definitely rocks the Panama in that ubiquitous Louis Vuitton ad, primarily because a.) he's Sean Connery, and b.) it was shot in the Bahamas (24°). So stick to the 30° degree rule, unless you wake up one day and find that you have somehow turned into a pimp from the 1970s.
(Phoenix is at 33° 30'.)