What is a Newsboy Cap or a Flat Cap?
A flat cap is a rounded cap with a rounded and short front brim and a soft fabric structure. There are primarily two types of flat caps. The first is a traditional flat cap with a single-piece construction. It has a level and trim silhouette. A triangular side profile is created by extending the cap body over the brim and sewing it to the top edge of the brim.
The second type of flat cap is commonly referred to as a newsboy cap. Newsboy caps are designed and constructed by sewing together eight triangular panels to the center of the top of the cap and sealing it with a cloth button. This gives the cap a more volumized and loose silhouette compared to the true flat cap. Other names for the newsboy hat are Paddy, Wigens, Duckbill, Dai, Sixpence, Vergon, Cabbie, etc. that vary for different locations.
(Longshoremen in 1940s New York)
Choosing the Right Newsboy Cap for Your Style
A flat cap complements all face shapes, and if sized right, they can suit formal, informal, and casual attire, irrespective of your occupation or age. A newsboy cap or flat cap makes a softer statement and is much less intimidating than bigger hats like the Fedora Hat. Though traditionally made of wool, flat caps can be worn year round depending on the material and your local climate.
The Right Fit
Make sure that you check all different sizes and pick the cap that is a proper fit for you. It should not be too tight, nor should it be too loose, as this would depreciate your style. The right fit is one where the sides of the cap stick to your head right above your ears with the brim placed low on your forehead, shading the eyes.
The Right Material
If you’re familiar with the history of the flat cap, you would know they originated in an effort to boost the wool industry. Wool, therefore, is the preferred material, though cotton and tweed are also popular. Materials like denim or leather stray from the classic style of the flat cap and are a bit harder to pull off. Some more affordable flat caps may include a blend of materials, and can still give you the quality, classic look the style is known for.
The Right Design
There should always be a little contrast between your outfit and the fabric on the cap unless you have a tweed cap and an exactly matching tweed jacket, or a suit made from the same material as the cap. Try to avoid caps that are similar in color but not an exact match to the suit. It is better to complement the style instead of trying to be matchy-matchy. For instance, if you are wearing a plain suit, then a patterned newsboy cap could add interest. If you are wearing a style that is bolder or has patterns, then a solid-colored newsboy cap would balance out the outfit. The same goes for color choice.
The Right Way to Wear a Flat Cap
Flat caps and newsboy caps are a long-standing symbol of power, fearlessness, and confidence. They should represent the rebel in you while still looking refined. But that doesn’t mean they should be worn in a rebellious way. Men should wear flat caps just like you see in the show Peaky Blinders, straight and pulled down snugly above the eyes and ears. Flat caps should never be worn backward, though Samuel L. Jackson would disagree.
Ladies, on the other hand, have more flexibility on how to wear a flat cap and their choice of styles. An unpinned or snapped flat cap would lean towards a more feminine look. It’s more acceptable for women to wear them tilted a bit to the side, though turning them backward is still considered a faux-paus by most.
Back to The Peaky Hat Blog