Thanks to the New York Knickerbockers, back in 1849, who wore the first-ever baseball caps during a game, we now have modern baseball hats.
The most popular type of headwear is now worn around the globe, and it all started with straw hats, which transitioned to wool before evolving into an entire industry.
Today, baseball-style hats are worn everywhere, by every type of person, from rich to poor. They’re worn to hide messy hair, worn to block the sun, and worn as part of an outfit.
But baseball hats come in many different styles, made from many different materials, all serving many different functions. Wondering what type you should buy next, and how to care for it once you bring it home? Check out our guide to modern baseball hats down below.
Types of Baseball Caps
In general, the baseball hat is the type of cap that has a bill coming off the front, shading the eyes from the sun, differentiating it from other hat categories, like sun hats, dress hats, beanies, or western hats.
Within this one style, there are many variations. Here are the most common you need to know about.
You can’t go wrong with the dad cap. Everyone has one. They are simple, no-frills hats with a curved bill, often lacking any type of logo or design.
They are usually made from cotton or canvas and can be seen on a daily basis on a large number of dads.
Trucker hats are some of the most functional, as they feature a mesh back, to allow for maximum airflow. They often come in two or three-tone color combinations, and balance style and performance. Due to this, they are very popular with Southern hat companies.
Snapbacks feature plastic straps on the back of the hat with belt-like buttons. They typically have flat bills and can be made from any number of materials.
These are some of the most popular baseball caps out there.
Fitted caps are those without adjusters on the back. That means the size is fixed and can’t be changed. Because they aren’t one-size-fits-all like most baseball caps, you should visit a store to try on multiple sizes before purchasing a fitted cap.
The benefit is a clean look without a hole in the back of the hat. It’s a simple, streamlined design that provides maximum comfort, so long as you don’t cut all your hair off or grow it out.
Otherwise known as the five-panel hat, this provides a low-profile cap, with a shallow design and small, flat bill. These are popular for outdoor activities, as well as for younger generations, like skateboarders.
When to Wear Baseball Caps
Baseball caps can be worn all day, every day. That is if you have the right cap for each occasion. Here are some baseball cap tips regarding what to wear, and when.
When Style Matters
The most popular material for baseball caps is cotton. It provides a classic look and is exceptionally durable. It’s relatively breathable, and it’s what all of the big brands use for the majority of their caps.
But cotton should be worn for more casual occasions. Just heading out to run errands? Cotton is great. Going to work? Wear your cotton cap.
When Performance and Function Matter
Going for a 20-mile trail run? Rafting down your local river? Heading out on a backpacking trip? Cotton won’t be your best friend.
Cotton is heavier and it takes forever to dry once it gets wet. If you’re doing any outdoor activities, polyester or nylon may be a better option. Not only can these wick moisture away from the head, but they dry very fast once they get wet.
The material is also very lightweight and can do well to protect your head and face from UV rays on sunny days.
Hats made for outdoor activities often have vented or mesh side panels, allowing heat to escape and fresh air to enter your headspace, cooling and drying your noggin.
No, you don’t have to wear a beanie when the temperatures drop. You can keep up your baseball cap style by wearing one made with a thicker, insulating material.
It’s easy to find hats made of wool or suede. While you would never reach for it in the summer, it will keep your noggin toasty in the winter, while still providing you with a visor and a classic Americana look.
Wear it Forward
While you may have done it as a kid all the time, you should almost never wear your hat backward. It’s the unspoken sin of baseball caps.
They are meant to be worn forward, and forward alone, as that is how they look best.
Only wear it backward when a particular activity requires it, such as when the bill keeps bumping into something, or if the wind is going to blow it off your head.
Caring for Your Cap
For caps to last a long time, you need to care for them, just like any garment of clothing that you own. Hats get just as dirty as everything else since your head sweats.
For a quick refresh, you can fill a bowl with warm water and a bit of laundry detergent. Mix the water to distribute the detergent, and let your hat soak in it for a few minutes.
Then, run it under clean water, or let it soak in non-soapy water to get the detergent out. Hang it out to dry without wringing it, which can destroy the shape. You can perform this cleaning method on a weekly basis to keep your favorite hats from getting too gross.
But if your hats are suffering from serious sweat stains or stink, you’ll need to wash them a bit more aggressively.
You can do this by purchasing a cap washer. This simple frame will hold your cap in place, so you can put it in the washing machine or dishwasher for a true, deep clean without destroying the shape and fabric.
Use a mild detergent, warm or cool water, and a gentle cycle to clean the hat without going crazy.
Baseball Caps Are Part of Our Culture
Baseball caps are essential to the American lifestyle. They are just as iconic as cheeseburgers and the Statue of Liberty. Everyone needs at least a few of these in their closet.
Even if you’re not a “hat person,” You’ll find yourself wearing one at least once in a while.
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