Posted by Adam York

 

Why Every Fashionable Man Needs A Flat Cap

As flat caps are part of the traditional tweed suit trend, and here at Cavani we are known for our suit collection, we thought we would share with you a history on the flat cap, how the trends have evolved, why they’re popular now, and how to style them, so you don’t have to fall behind on the resurgence of this traditional piece. If you don’t yet have a flat cap, read on to find out why you need one and how to get the look!

The History Of The Flat Cap

Flat caps have always been known as older gentleman’s headwear, specifically with roots in British law dating all the way back to 1571! Originating as a law by parliament that all non-noblemen and boys over the age of 6 had to cover their heads with wool caps on holidays and Sundays. This law was so strict that anyone caught walking around without a flat cap on their head during these days would be slapped with a three farthing fire. This may sound extreme, but the law was actually put in place for a purpose, it was to generate wool sales which were the foundation of the English economy during the 1500’s. Sounds like a very smart idea to me, very cunning!

After 26 years of this law in place, it was finally abolished and it wasn’t made mandatory for men to wear flat caps, however, after all this time, many men had grown accustomed to wearing flat caps and decided to keep on wearing them, favouring the style. They became known as the headwear of working men and tradesmen in England and Ireland, even adopting different names and slightly different fits like the ‘newsboy cap’ or the ‘baker boy hat’. Eventually as people started travelling around the world, the United States ended up adopting the trend in the 1890’s and young boys often wore flat caps as well, which you might be familiar with in the old time movies that you see. Flat caps or wool hats have been common place right up until the 1960’s and then they eventually started to fade out as a uniform and actually became adopted by the wealthy gentlemen instead, often being worn with waxed jackets and gilets, relating to farmers as well as country men. It’s funny to see just how much things change over the years, isn’t it?

What Is A Flat Cap?

Now you know what the history of the flat cap is, what exactly is a flat cap? No doubt you have already seen them and are familiar with these woollen hats, but perhaps don’t know the name of them. They have gone by numerous names like golf cap, duffer cap, driving cap, scally cap and longshormans cap to name a few. They are the compact, round hat that sits close to the top of your had and has a small brim that covers the forehead. Tweed and wool are the traditional fabrics used for these types of hats, but as style has changed over the years, some are made from corduroy, leather, or even felt. The inside of the hat is usually always lined to protect your head against the scratchiness of wool, but it also provides extra comfort and warmth for the traditional working days all those years ago. Today, flat caps are still relatively the same, only making modifications with the fabrics and tweaks in design to look more flattering as they’re now considered a fashion statement.

Peaky Blinders Influence On Flat Caps

So, after all this time, I bet you’re intrigued to know what brought flat caps back on the scene and made them popular again with our younger generation? A well known Birmingham based TV show called Peaky Blinders is to answer for that! Peaky Blinders is a gangster family epic set in Birmingham, England in 1919, several months after the end of the First World War in November 1918. The story centres on the Peaky Blinders gang and their ambitious and highly cunning boss Tommy Shelby (played by Cillian Murphy). Because of this, everyone has wanted to get in on the tweed suit and flat cap action. John Lewis actually reported that sales of flat caps were up by 83% after the first episode of Peaky Blinders aired on TV in 2016! How crazy is that? Since then, you will spot younger guys from The Only Way Is Essex or Made in Chelsea portraying flat caps in their everyday outfits, as well as celebs like David Beckham, Idris Elba, Leonardo DiCaprio etc, all trying to re-create that Cillian Murphy style. It’s really boosted the hat economy and it’s nice to see men trading in baseball caps for something more traditional like the flat cap.

How To Choose The Right One

Since the flat cap is so popular now and trending as we speak, you should consider getting one too! If you’re unsure on how to choose the right flat cap, it’s super easy! You first want to make sure the fit is perfect as you would with any hat, so you don’t want it too tight that it’s uncomfortable, or too loose that it simply falls off, just a comfy, close fit is great. Flat caps come in many different sizes, so you can always order a couple to make sure you get your preferred fit. Choosing the fabric can be daunting, but if you want to go traditional (which we recommend for your first flat cap) then you should opt for a wool/tweed version in check or plaid, but if that’s not your thing, a plain colour is just as suitable. The prints can be subtle or quite bold, so it depends what you’re looking for. If you specifically want your flat cap to be suitable for outdoor weather, we even recommend trying a waxed option as it’s waterproof which can come in handy. It truly depends what you’re looking for in a hat, so if you want that Peaky Blinders suits style, go for a classic tweed, but if you want something more fashion forward, it’s all in the styling.

How To Wear A Flat Cap

How do you wear a flat cap you might ask? It couldn’t be easier! Just like most hats, you can wear most things with a traditional flat cap.

You obviously want to avoid wearing a sports tracksuit or anything too gym related as the two styles don’t cross-over, however if you want to wear your flat cap with blazers, traditional jackets, gilets, overcoats etc, you can! Even denim jackets are known to go with flat caps these days and it’s a fantastic look! They pair perfectly with jeans, skinny or slim, Chelsea boots, loafers and more! The trend right now is to wear them with leather jackets, denim jacket, overcoats or aviator jackets, some skinny jeans, and some Chelsea boots. It’s become a staple among Pete Wicks and James Lock, but if you prefer the more traditional route, one of our famous tweed suits like the Albert will be the perfect accompaniment.

The best rule we can give you though is to not look like you tried too hard. A flat cap is a simple accessory and often has more of a casual appearance, so don’t match it too much with specific colours in your outfit, you want it to look like you were able to just grab it and throw it on, creating effortless style. Flat caps are statement hats in their own right, so if yours is quite bold, why not make it the focal point of your outfit? So to reiterate:

Avoid:

  • Sports/Gym Clothes
  • Tracksuits
  • Short Shorts
  • Sandals/Slides

Wear With:

  • Blazers/Suits
  • Overcoats
  • Denim Jackets
  • Gilets
  • Shirts
  • Classic/Plain Jeans
  • Chelsea Boots

We have included a few styling options for you below, but one thing is for certain, you’re going to be on trend through 2018 and 2019 wearing one of these!

Shop Our Flat Caps By Clicking Here

Image Credit: Gentleman's Gazet, I Am GallaYour Average Guy StyleThe Gentleman Diaries, AR_ES, Damian Broderick & Brooklyn Beckham

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