Sombrero: one name, many hats
There are still a lot of hats that are used despite being impractical, and other hats, of undisputed usefulness, that are now confined to fairly restricted customs and traditions. This is the case, for example, of the Mexican sombrero, the typical straw or felt hat with very wide brim that has always been characterized by strong colours and patterns, but above all for being an undisputed symbol of a country with a long history. Yet, despite being one of the few pieces of headwear in existence that is associated with only one people, the history and origins of the sombrero are hotly disputed. In addition, it was certainly born with a very different purpose from the purely aesthetic and decorative, as you might instead tend to think seeing it displayed today only on the heads of "a few aficionados" such as Mariachi musicians, or at Mexican folk festivals.
First of all, you need to know that the word "sombrero" (derived from the Spanish for "shade") is any hat with a wide brim and it seems that the first ones brought to Mexico by the Spaniards had nothing to do with the charro sombreros (as they are called in Mexico) that we all know. Some even claim that sombreros derived from hats worn by Mongol soldiers of the thirteenth century, while others trace their origin directly to Spain. The most credible hypothesis places the creation of the typical Mexican sombrero between Mexico and the southern United States, where the Mestizo started wearing this very wide-brimmed hat to protect themselves from the heat and sun while working outdoors. It is plausible to think that, when they found time for a nap, these hats did actually provide useful shelter from the unbearable mid-summer heat.
In addition, it is said that it was none other than the Mexican sombrero that inspired the birth of the famous cowboy hat (reduced in size), initially adopted by the Texans to protect themselves from the sun while riding among their herds across the vast plains of Texas.