Although it’s endured more ups and downs than a Jeremy Kyle polygraph, the baseball cap has, for all intents and purposes, weathered the storms of fashion. What other menswear piece could survive the onslaught of something as vile as Von Dutch and still come out swinging? And, despite those shapeless, sad iterations that appear atop Brits abroad on the Costa del Sol, the baseball cap still caters to a cooler generation.
Gone, thankfully, are front covers of pre-rebrand Beckhams in matching level 10 roadman baseball caps. Ditto Jersey Shore (and its Satan spawn spin-offs), which – mercifully – hasn’t appeared on our screens in years. The dust has settled. The dark days are over. The baseball cap has risen from the ashes.
Historically speaking, the baseball cap is one of the oldest sporting products, first championed by the Brooklyn Excelsiors team of 1860 (yeah, I had to Google them too). Since then, this storied hat has graced the head of every major baseball player in American history and gradually permeated the mainstream.
In an age where sports luxe refuses to die (thank heavens), what could be more fitting than a baseball cap? There are thousands of variations available and the sheer choice can be overwhelming, so how do you hit the nail on the head with your cap?
Simplicity is key. Block-colour options from the likes of Nike and Adidas are perfect for off-duty or weekend ensembles. Nobody is suggesting you wear one in your upcoming finance meeting with the CFO, nor will you find anyone wearing a baseball cap at a Michelin restaurant. They’re supposed to be casual, and provided they’re used as such, the benefits are endless.
Take a bad hair day, for example. If you’re simply heading to the pub or work in a pretty laid-back office, you can throw on a plain baseball cap with ease (provided your look isn’t too tailoring heavy). Or, if a less-than-satisfactory barnet plagues you on that elusive third date, a cap is more than acceptable. Full concentration goes to your devilishly good looks of course, and when it’s later thrown on a bedroom floor (fingers crossed), nobody will give a shit about unkempt locks in the throes of passion. Imagine that, baseball caps helping get your end away.
But it’s not just an ally of the hirsute. Accepting my father’s follicular genetics has resulted in my own buzzcut – of which I’m not ashamed. What does concern me however, is the ‘in-between’ period where things can get a little, well, patchy. In which case a baseball cap is my instant crowning glory.
And, let’s be honest, Hollywood’s finest are in on it too. The simple combination of sunglasses and a baseball cap is often enough to whet the appetite of any paparazzo, and what was once a disguise is now a uniform of celebrity stardom. If it’s good enough for the Hemsworths, it’s good enough for me.
— Murray Clark, Assistant Editor
I suppose it is, strictly speaking, ‘OK’ for a man to wear a baseball cap. It’s ‘OK’ in the same way that it’s ‘OK’ to ask your mate for a bite of his burger because you’ve got a whopper case of food FOMO, or ‘OK’ to turn up to a party with a £10 bottle of wine and proceed to drain the host’s entire booze cabinet. As in it’s not totally, unforgivably offensive, but by rights it shouldn’t be done.
Why? Because baseball caps are for boys, not men. They’re for spotty teens at summer camps, Ash Ketchum and those sad, misguided members of society who spend most of their lives standing in a queue outside a Palace store.
Baseball caps are perfectly fine to wear under the age of, oh, 25 or so. In fact, for many of those formative years you should wear them – they are, after all, the markers of adolescent cool the world over.
Post-25, though, it’s a little more problematic. Wearing a cap at this point doesn’t so much enhance your sparky youth as underline your sad and desperate attempt to relive it.
Now I know some of you might quite rightly cite the US military as an example of men (whose balls have dropped) wearing baseball caps, but unlike T-shirts and chinos, they’re not as universally versatile, and so can’t properly justify their place in a well-rounded wardrobe.
There’s also the argument that baseball caps – having been sports luxed-up in recent seasons – are now available in such sleek designs and premium fabrications that they’re a shoo-in for smarter looks. But, like backpacks, we all know that no matter how fine the leather, there’s no escaping the fact that you look like you’re sitting your GCSEs.
Like taking a sip of your first pint, or finally being entrusted with the family car, binning your baseball cap is a rite of passage. It’s a part of growing up. Sure, growing up is hard, but you know what’s harder? Trying to be taken seriously with a snapback on.
— Cillian O’Connor, Features Editor