For the sake of this site I am going to have to do a lot of product research and catalogue reviewing. Going through headwear suppliers and fashion retailers, through entire product lists and previews, all so I can find the best recommendations for caps, beanies and other hat options.
And then of course pass those on to you.
This being the case I have decided to write this specific article for myself.
It is important when you make any fashion buy that you have an overall idea of your wardrobe and the type of style you are trying to achieve.
Whether you are someone that dresses on the smarter side or you like to keep up with urban wear and street style, everything you add has to go through the funnelling question of: ‘Does this work with what I am going for?’
I also have a list of do’s and don’ts when it comes to hats specifically. One that I have accumulated through a lot of trial and error, after many a hat tried on and literally days lost walking between different retailers. Thank god I eventually switched to finding top tier headwear over the internet.
The combination of the question of ‘does it suit my style?’ and the general preferences I have picked up form what I refer to as: my taste checklist.
I encourage you to form your own version of this. What follows is a rough idea of mine.
This is the most important one. Not just for hats but for anything that I would buy for my wardrobe. Most fashion gurus, or bloggers, that I read emphasise fit. It must look good as per current trends and fit your measurements. Spotting that a particular item does not fit a guy well is the first and easiest thing to notice when assessing if a person has good style.
For a start I recommend that every guy serious about his style buy a tailor’s measuring tape and take all the major measurements you are going to need. You can also have this done for you in some retailers. This simple step makes navigating size guides so much easier. Guesswork is unhelpful when it comes to fit.
The measurement for your head is done by holding the start of the tape at the middle of your forehead and wrapping it round over the top of your ears. Take a tightly held measurement and a looser one so you know what size would be for both. For reference my hat size measurement is 23.5 inches.
When talking about style there is that old obsession with comfort, as if it somehow cannot be achieved in combination with good style. Nailing the fit is how you merge comfort with your best presentation. The two do not have to be at odds. And when it comes to wearing a hat for any length of time comfort is part of my criteria.
Beyond the measurement the other thing that determines a hat’s fit is how it fastens to your head. This is called the closure. The bulk of my collection are baseball caps these are usually held by some form of adjustable strap. Or alternatively, as is my preference, you can get stretch fit hats. I go into more detail about this aspect of caps and which is the best choice in this article –
Structured > non structured.
This is largely relevant to baseball caps, truckers and snapbacks. The front panels of these hat types are made from a stiff material called buckram which gives the hat its structure. There are also caps you can buy which are unstructured and will form to the shape of your head. Hats with their own structure are better, as long as this structure can fit to the shape of your head and not sit atop of it creating the illusion you have a bigger head than you actually do.
Structured front panels on the left, unstructured on the right.
Profile (if the hat is structured)
Mid profile is the best option.
Profile relates to how the hat slants from the top of the hat down to the brim. A high profile hat has a steep slant whereas with a low profile hat the slant is shallow. A mid profile hat achieves the best of both worlds. High profile hats often make your head look bulkier than it needs too. While low profile doesn’t give the hat enough presence to the point that it may as well be unstructured. Go with mid profile if available.
Best practice is not to go for anything too garish.
This is the area most important to ask whether the piece will match the rest of your wardrobe and the colours you like to wear primarily. As such I typically go for hats in the neutral colours for men; black, grey, navy blue and olive. A solid black option will go with basically anything. Sometimes its best not to overcomplicate your options.
These two are a big nope from me.
There are ways to work in colourful hats though, and I will cover that in future articles.
Nothing too loud, or uncool.
You don’t want to be a walking billboard for some multinational clothing giant. As such stay away from hats that are just the brand name making up 80% of the front panels.
Stick mostly to wool and cotton blends when it comes to the material. The hats must blend in with everyday textiles. A common mistake I see is an over reliance on sporty hats. These are typically made of glossy spandex like material which doesn’t match well with street style or smart outfits – save the sport brand hats for hiking, running or golf where they belong.
For the recommendation I am going back to the first hat that ever made it past my taste checklist. The brand is Volcom. A skate and snow apparel company from California. Their famous stone branding is one of those logos that looks great as part of your outfit as opposed to overshadowing the rest of it.
The hats are manufactured by Yupoong so they meet all my criteria regarding fit and quality of the material.
- Stretch fit
- Cotton polyester blend
- Available in neutral colours
- Structured 6 panel cap
The first one of these I picked up was in covert green, which is still available. My picks for colour are: the covert green option, the black option and also the asphalt black option with the muted logo.
Volcom is a brand that understands what makes a great baseball cap. Grab one of them here:Volcom Cap (affiliate link)
I really can’t speak highly enough of this particular brand. I have owned 4 of their caps to date.