Straw hat is a generic term for nearly any hat that is woven out of straw and constructed with a brim. There are many different styles of straw hats; however all share the same basic construction technique. First the straw is either steamed or soaked in water for a period of time to allow the straw to soften, then the straw is woven using a number of different techniques into a hat.
There is no hard evidence about when the first straw hat was constructed; though there is evidence of these hats existing for as long as humans have made their clothing. Over time little has changed in terms of the shaping or manufacturing of straw hats. While there are modern mechanical devices that can make straw hats, they still follow the same basic procedure that people have been doing for centuries.
In fashion straw hats are popular due to their versatility. They are oftentimes adorned with things like ribbons, flowers, buttons or jewelry to add color and visual interest. The straw used for the construction of the hat can also be dyed using both synthetic and natural pigments. Straw hats are not categorized with the same rigid definitions that are used to identify other hats. There are common categories like cowboy hat and conical hat; however due to the vast differences that arise from variables like weaving techniques and type of straw used in construction there tends to be too much variation in the category to effectively name all types of hats.