Flat Cap: What is It and Where Does it Come From?

Baseball caps, beanies, and bucket hats are all common styles that we all know and recognize when it comes to hats. However, you might have to wait a while if you ask an average guy to classify a flat cap. Although they’ve been around for centuries, these lesser-known hats are more of an English, Irish, and Scottish closet mainstay than an American fashion item.

But it is no surprise that the flat cap has almost universal appeal, given its simplicity and functionality. Flat caps are occasionally popular among celebrities, like David Beckham and Brad Pitt, but the low-profile hat transcends celebrity fashion. The flat cap, also known as a driving cap, is a timeless design with numerous advantages.

We are excited to discover things about flat caps with you. Let’s go!

The History of Flat Caps

Flat caps are rounded hats with a small stiff brim in the front that are regarded as culturally significant. The flat cap’s origins can be traced back to 1571 in the United Kingdom when Parliament ordered all non-noblemen and boys over 6 to wear wool caps on Sundays and holidays. Those who did not comply would face a fine of three farthings. The goal of enacting such a law was to boost England’s domestic wool sales, which accounted for most of the economy at the time.

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But, over time, people grew to appreciate the comfort and feel of their wool caps, to the point where immigrants brought them to America, where they became popular among young boys. The wool caps or flat caps were given new names like driving caps, duffer caps, golf caps, and, most popularly, newsboy caps.

What Exactly is a Flat Cap?

As we already mentioned, a flat cap is a rounded cap with a short, rounded front brim and soft fabric construction. Flat caps can be made in two different ways, both of which are referred to as flat caps because of the single-piece flat structure of the top of the hat.

 The first has a level, trim silhouette. To create a triangular side profile, the cap’s body is pulled forward over the brim and sewed or snapped to the top edge of the brim.

The second style has a looser, more volumized silhouette. It is achieved by sewing eight triangular panels of material together from a central point on the top of the hat, hidden by a cloth button. The cap’s body is also pulled forward over the brim, but not quite as much as its flat cousin. This is a flat cap that is often referred to as a newsboy cap. The flat cap and newsboy cap are just two of the most common names for this hat style.

Flat caps are traditionally made of wool and tweed. Still, they can also be made of cotton, linen, corduroy, or even leather. And to give the hat a polished look and provide an extra layer of comfort, as well as to provide ease if it’s made of itchy wool, the inside of the cap is usually lined with a comfortable fabric.

The Best Flat Caps for Men

There are a lot of flat caps out in the market that claims to be the best. We know you’ve already seen or heard about them. So, we have also listed five of which we believe would be best for you to help you.

Kangol Men’s 504 Cap

Kangol began producing caps in the 1950s. It was created on the 504 block, thus the name of this well-known cap. Kangol Men’s 504 Cap has a toughened peak and is made entirely of seamless wool. It has a seamless construction for a sleek appearance.

Stetson Herringbone Flat Cap

Stetson is a well-known hat manufacturer that has been in business for decades. Their credibility for high-quality, meticulous construction is unrivaled. It has a classic style for those who prefer a more traditional appearance. The only disadvantage is that it is not entirely wool.

Biddy Murphy Ear Flap Slim Fit Flat Cap

This cap is handcrafted in Ireland by Irish artisans using 100% Irish wool. Well, it doesn’t get any more authentic than this. 

John Hanly & Company has been a family-owned company for over a century. This heirloom-quality cap is made for Biddy Murphy. Note that you can dress casually to look like a gentleman or dress it up for an added appeal.

Stetson Redding Earflap Cap

This hat was created for the man who wants to look manly, calm, and stylish all at the same time. As one of the best winter flat caps on the market, you can be confident that your head, ears, and neck will remain cozy during the colder months. You’ll stay nice and warm, thanks to the leather outer and fleece lining. You can buy this cap with confidence because it is a Stetson brand recognized for its hat-making quality.

Gottmann Jackson Flat Cap

Gottman played a pioneering role in the headpiece industry after its development in the 1950s. Its use of top-quality materials and high-tech functionality has earned the family-owned business a position as one of the market’s top brands.

This cap will warm you up while still allowing you to breathe. The handicraft is flawless, and the fit is perfect. Warmth is provided by the wool material and earlaps, while moisture is kept at bay by the GORE-TEX technology.

How To Wear a Flat Cap

When wearing a flat cap, the fit is crucial. The sweatband, which is the part of the hat that extends from your forehead to the back of the head, is supposed to feel snug but not too tight. It should be comfy, easy to put on and take off, and not fly off after you bend over to tie your shoe or when it’s a windy day out.

The material and pattern are the next vital thing to take note of. The traditional combination is a wool flat cap in a check or plaid. Still, you can also choose a solid in cotton or even waxed cotton for added weather protection. Take note that choosing a neutral-colored cap (for example, black, brown, or grey) will give you more choices when styling it with a proper outfit.

Before actually wearing a tweed or tartan cap, make sure the hat’s material contrasts sufficiently with the color and material of your coat or jacket.

The hat has always looked ruggedly good with a fisherman’s jumper or a peacoat and will continue to do so. You can opt to add a waxed cotton jacket and a scarf for a sophisticated and stately country attire ensemble. At last, flip the brim of your flat cap to the back to give your look a stylish street edge.

The Bottom Line

At its best, the flat cap is a real deal hat that you’ll be glad to have on hand. Wear it whether you’re in the city or out in the country, and we’re sure that your flat cap will keep you looking stylish.

READ ALSODoes the Wearing of Hats Encourage Hair Loss: How to Deal with Hat Hair?

Jonathan B. Delfs

I love to write about men's lifestyle and fashion. Unique tips and inspiration for daily outfits and other occasions are what we like to give you at MensVenture.com. Do you have any notes or feedback, please write to me directly: [email protected]

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