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What is a Flat Cap and how to wear one?

What is a flat cap and how has it evolved?

A flat cap, newsboy hat, Gatsby cap, baker boy hat, this hat style has different definitions. The evolution of its style and success has been interesting.

Flat cap’s predecessor was known as a bonnet. It's been noted to be worn in the 14th century. Cap as a term came into use before the in the 16th century.

The cap style was made popular by working class men and boys during late 1800s and early 1900s. For quite a while, the image remained as it was a hat for the common people. Soon, aristocrats started wear them as well, made from more expensive materials.

Since those days the image has evolved, especially because of cinema and TV shows. Great Gatsby the movie made it famous and introduced the cap style as worn by rich people. Some people reference flat caps as Gatsby hats.

Iconic celebrities of the 21st century have also spiced up their looks by wearing a rounded flat cap. Just like in hit shows like Boardwalk Empire and Peaky Blinders. And round flat cap is exactly the style newsboys or bakery delivery boys used to wear. 

So, how to wear one?

How to wear a flat cap?

In my opinion, this hat style suits for all faces and with all clothing. But if you want a professional view, check out these tips:

  • Flat cap is not the best practice for summer. Even if you own a version made out of light materials. This hat style will most likely make you sweat more and it really wasn’t designed for summer.
  • Don’t unpin or unsnap the edge of the brim from the body. Some even say that you shouldn't wear it backwards, unless you're Samuel L. Jackson. But these are just fashion statements, not practicality.
  • You can shape the brim to your taste. For example, if the cap has a flat brim and you want more curve. Feel free to just round it yourself. But be gentle so that the brim won't snap.

Gentleman's Gazette has introduced a cool guiding video on how to wear one. So check this one out, the guide on how to wear a flat cap:

Flat cap styles

The renaissance of flat caps is definitely a thing. Mostly because this hat style is easy to pull off, regardless what age or style you represent.

Unlike fedora which is a bold move, flat cap is less intimidating to pair with other clothes. You can also wear it during fall, winter or spring. At least if the winter doesn't get too cold. Or if the flat cap has ear warmers.

So, what are the different hat styles in this category? Flat caps are usually rounded and made using soft fabric. The front brim is also rounded and short.

  • One style offers a flat construction. A trimmed silhouette with the body of the cap pulled forward over the brim. Flat body is either sewed or snapped with a button to the top edge of the brim. Creating a triangular side profile.
  • Another style is otherwise the same but with more volume on the silhouette, creating a rounder look. This less flat style has many nicknames, newsboy cap being the most common. But depending on the location it can be referred with names such as: Vergon, Gatsby, Wigens, paddy, cabbie, dai, ivy, longshoreman’s, scally, derby, Jeff, duffer, duckbill, driving, bicycle, Irish, bonnet, crook, sixpence, cheese-cutter or Joao’s hat.

Hope you enjoyed reading this piece. Have fun shopping probably the coolest hat I can think of!