Flat cap, Gatsby hat, newspaper boy hat, driving cap, bonnet – this evergreen and classic hat has a multitude of names, and the reason behind it lies in its rich history.
Its roots can be traced back to the 14th century in Northern England, when a new law of the English parliament enforced all males over six years of age to wear a woollen cap on Sundays and holidays. Though the objective was to increase domestic wool consumption, the uncalled-for rule targeted the working class and excluded nobility.
By 1597, when the act was finally repealed, the bonnet had become a staple in every common man’s wardrobe. The next resurgence was seen during the 19th and early 20th centuries, when flat caps were commonly worn in Britain and Ireland. By this time, young men of all classes wore flat caps.
The trend soon came to North America around the 1890s, when it became a standard for boys to wear at school, with casual wear and even with suits. The cap also made an appearance in American hip hop subculture, with both men and women wearing the cap.
The style gained popularity in southern Italy, as well as in Turkey, where it became the main headgear for working-class men.
Today, fashion connoisseurs are well-versed with the hat’s cultural history, and they recognize its classic, universal appeal. While wool has predominantly remained the most common choice of fabric, lighter versions in cotton and linen have also emerged.
And that’s the greatest advantage of a flat cap – the quintessential headgear works well for every season. Woollen flat caps are a functional choice for the chilly days of winter, while its lighter counterpart makes an ideal pick for a balmy summer day.
Yet another reason why the cap needs to be in your wardrobe is its universal appeal and ease of styling. Men of all ages can pull it off, as these leading celebrities prove. Ahead, we bring you seven stylish men who showcase different ways to pull off a flat cap.
The former English footballer regularly flaunts his wide collection of flat caps, in tartan and tweed. His styling trick of mixing and matching flat caps in different patterns with his vibrant outfits is one we all can take sartorial notes from.
The American actor opts for a colour-coordinated look with his minimal black flat cap teamed with a black jersey.
The Canadian star’s woollen flat cap makes an ideal partner for a hike during the autumn/winter season.
The Australian actor’s approach is perfect to bookmark for every summer! The combination of a simple white vest with neon shorts and a flat cap is super easy to emulate, and showcases how the headgear can be incorporated into everyday wear.
This still of Ryan Gosling from the 2004 movie The Notebook is still serving up style inspiration today. The actor contrasts a military green cotton flat cap with a rugged dark blue shirt.
Are you a creative soul? Show off your artistic side like Johnny Depp, who opts for a rather bold look – a striped flat cap teamed with a matching T-shirt.
Dwayne Johnson’s black woollen flat cap is a must-have in every man’s wardrobe. Not only is the colour a classic, but its versatility allows it to be paired with both formal and informal wear.
TOP GEORGE CLOONEY IMAGE: SHUTTERSTOCK