Hats are an underrepresented style staple that most people throw to the wayside. Despite their almost constant use within the modern guy’s day-to-day wardrobe, they aren’t treated with the respect that they deserve; and if we’re being honest, we’ve taken note. Not only do caps help to keep our hair and scalp protected from the sun’s harmful rays, but they also act as stylish accessories that can turn even the drabbest outfit into something a bit more presentable. The issue lies within our limited understanding of which styles to use, and at what point they become preferred over their counterparts.
Luckily, hats have been around for longer than many of the iconic style essentials that we’ve become privy to today, giving them a long and robust history that we can tap for additional inspiration and knowledge. Whether you’re a fan of more symbolic, era-savvy styles like the semi-formal fedora, or modern, everyday-wear options like the snapback or Boonie, we’ve decided to hand-select some of our favorites from around the industry in hopes that you’ll find the perfect model to round out your personal wardrobe. Below, we’ll dive into three different styles of cap — casual, semi-formal/formal, and outdoor. After pulling five interesting models from each section, we’ll focus on the traits that make them a solid choice for your own perusal, and hopefully, give you some insight regarding today’s most prominent headwear pieces.
For The Everyday Wearer
BDG Boonie Bucket
If you’re up-to-date on all the recent trends within menswear, it’s likely that you’ve seen more than a few individuals wearing a Boonie/bucket hat. The 1990s staple is back and better than ever, and BDG has capitalized on its popularity with the aptly-named Boonie Bucket — a stylish, 100% cotton accessory that’s been catered toward casual wear. Wearers will find that the Boonie is inherently comfortable, thanks to its unstructured crown and wraparound seamed brim, but if you’re worried about the hat’s outdoor performance, never fear; it’s also ready for any river trip you can throw at it, courtesy of its fully-adjustable drawstring.
Howler Brothers Shaka
Howler Brothers’ Shaka might be the envy of all your brew-loving friends, but it’s also a prime example of a casual cap that’s been built to take on endless days of indoor/outdoor activity. Each unstructured snapback features a soft, comfortable crown, a relaxed internal structure, and a glare-reducing under-brim treatment to keep your eyes (and face) safe from the scorching sun. Plus, the hat’s aesthetically-pleasing khaki colorway and “hang loose” iconography are sure to let others know that you mean business — or, that you’re there to party.
Patagonia excels at the design and production of many of the world’s most illustrious outdoor gear pieces, but every now and then, they love to create something that’s a bit more casual. Of course, the company’s seemingly “basic” Waterfarer cap has some hidden traits that make it more formidable than your common, everyday snapback. When days in the city have become boring, the Waterfarer is the perfect model for your upcoming kayak, fishing, or surfing endeavor, thanks to its fast-drying recycled nylon construction, a floating brim that deters loss in the rapids, and a darkened under-brim area to reduce glare from the sun. Since it’s bound to get hot, Patagonia has also included a low-profile sweatband for additional moisture management, an adjustable strap for personalized fitment, and a leash anchor point, allowing you to stow the cap safely until you need it next.
Norse Projects Logo-Embroidered Cotton-Twill Baseball
Norse Projects has a knack for taking things that are ultra-simplistic and then turning them into bold style statements. The brand’s minimalist Logo-Embroidered Cotton-Twill Baseball cap, for example, is adorned with nothing but an “N” logo — and yet, it still stands out as one of the more cleanly-tailored pieces of headwear that we’ve stumbled upon in months. Each example is crafted from durable cotton-twill and boasts embroidered, white-thread branding, ventilation-enhancing eyelets, and a pliable bill that can be formed and fashioned into a variety of different shapes for the ultimate in sun-blocking efficacy. Pair that with Norse Projects’ reputation for unparalleled build quality, prestige, and designer roots, and you’ve got a hat that will quickly become one of your most utilized accessories.
Neighborhood Dusters Convertible Logo-Print
Neighborhood’s Dusters Convertible Logo-Print cap is a love letter to streetwear, and as such, it boasts one of the more utilitarian aesthetics on our list. Drawing influence from the brand’s notable catalog of urban outerwear, the hat boasts a detachable front face mask for those colder treks through town, mounting points for attachable side flaps, and a lightweight cotton/nylon shell that’s been ventilated for increased airflow during the warmer months of the year. Like many of Neighborhood’s products, each Dusters cap is crafted with care in Japan, where trapper hats like these are commonplace. If you’re looking to enhance your city-savvy look, and hope to do so alongside a company that’s renowned for its urban utility, this is the cap for you.
For The Dapper Gentleman
Pineapple & Star Genoa Bowtie
Fedoras get an abnormal rap, these days, but that doesn’t change the fact that they’ve remained one of the most popular (and renowned) “formal” hat styles in the world. Regardless of their connotation, Pineapple & Star’s Genoa Bowtie variant represents the iconic headwear style in the best way possible, calling upon a sleek, short brim, a centered logo plaque, and a size-adjustable inner area clad with elastic. Each example is crafted with a premium paper braid, and woven to maintain its shape over years of wear. There are even small, breathable sections to enhance airflow, and UPF 50+ sun protection to ensure that your head (and face) are protected from the sun. Getting a bit windy outside? The Genoa Bowtie also includes a detachable chin cord strap, which you can implement to keep it secure during those abnormal gusts.
M&S Christy’s Foldable Straw Panama
As another timeless style that’s helped to shape the world of headwear, the Panama hat has seen consistent use within more nostalgic circles. The Christy’s Foldable Straw Panama, on the other hand, has been crafted for wear by the fashionable masses, thanks to its summer-savvy silhouette, foldable design, and attractive price point. Each example is constructed from 100% toquilla palm and features a sun-smart fabric to keep it protected from the sun’s damaging rays. Of course, it also has your best interests in mind, as well, thanks to its UPF 50+ rating.
Stetson Route 66
Is there a name that’s more renowned within the world of headwear than Stetson? We don’t think so. Everywhere we look, the brand’s iconic styles demand respect, and over the years, they’ve decided to branch out from their timeless, western-inspired designs to create hats that are more contemporary than their generational counterparts. The Route 66 is one such model. Instead of capitalizing on the westernized shape of the company’s alternative silhouettes, the Route 66 boasts a crushable outdoor-inspired demeanor, a Drilex sweatband, and a welted edge, giving it a premium look and feel. To elaborate on its contemporary charm, Stetson has included a water repellent treatment, travel-friendly foldability, and a soft fur felt construction that’s stylish, tasteful, and true to the brand’s outlaw influence. The best part? Like many of Stetson’s hats, the Route 66 is made right here in the USA, courtesy of Texas’ finest headwear connoisseurs.
Lock & Co Hatters Glen Wool and Alpaca-Blend Flat
Lock & Co Hatters’ Glen Wool Flat cap is an homage to the genre’s most nostalgic English styles. Looking to the past for its stylish inspiration, this alpaca-blended essential features a heritage design, insulating wool, and a satin lining, making it one of the most formal (and luxurious) on our list. Pair that with the cap’s navy wool construction, and a silhouette that’s been adopted by many of the UK’s most prolific individuals, including soccer-player David Beckham, and it becomes clear that each of these artisanal models is destined for a life of inherent prestige. If you’re looking to maintain a high profile and want a hat that can look the part, search no further than the Glen.
Paul Smith Bright Stripe Trilby
We’re rounding out our semi-formal/formal list with the Paul Smith Bright Stripe Trilby. If you’ve been around the space for long enough, it’s extremely likely that you’ve been exposed to Paul Smith’s work. As one of the most prominent British fashion designers on the planet, his renown spans a plethora of different clothing genres, including headwear. The trilby you see here is an exercise in his stylistic understanding, calling upon a narrow brim, tonal stitching, and a grosgrain band to create a fashionable wool model for the modern gentleman. Chivalry certainly isn’t dead, especially in the case of aesthetically-pleasing headwear.
For The Avid Explorer
Nike Aerobill Tailwind Cap
Nike’s Aerobill Tailwind cap was built to take on the outdoors, and as one of the brand’s most performance-focused models, it’s no wonder that some of the world’s finest athletes swear by its design. Each warm-weather hat boasts a strategically-placed laser perforation for enhanced breathability, a moisture-wicking interior composition, and a lightweight, 50% recycled polyester fabric construction, making it as sustainable as it is stylish. There’s also an adjustable closure that can be adjusted with one hand, helping you to find the perfect fit when you don’t have the time, or the ability, to remove the cap mid-flight. Did we forget to mention that each of the cap’s technical additions has been included following extensive 3D heat mapping, research, and strenuous development? We might have left that part out.
Patagonia Duckbill Running
Patagonia is gracing our list, once again — but this time, it’s with a function-focused outdoor variant known as the Duckbill Running cap. As its name suggests, the Duckbill is a revered running example that takes on all of the attractive traits of its sprint-savvy counterparts, while still remaining stylish enough to sport during a day on the town. Each example boasts a lightweight, 100% recycled nylon construction, a foldable, packable structure, and a dark under-bill, helping to deter glare and keep your eyes focused on the path ahead. The hat’s brim and crown, however, have been crafted using 100% recycled Baggies fabric, resulting in bold, front-facing paneling, while the rest of the wondrous headpiece adopts a breathable mesh that helps to promote heat dissipation during long treks. To round things out, a 100% recycled Capilene Cool Trail fabric headband has been introduced to deter odor and sweat, while also keeping its wearer as cool as possible.
Columbia Bora Bora Booney II
Like the Boonie bucket that we mentioned earlier in this guide, Columbia’s Bora Bora Booney II is an iconic style tailored toward the outdoors. While the BDG model is perfect for everyday casual wear, this ultra-wide-brimmed model is a has been built for long days in the sun, thanks to its textured nylon poplin shell, UPF 50 solar protection, and polyester headband, which helps to wick sweat and moisture from your forehead before it finds its way into your eyes. Luckily, this band does double duty, acting as a cooling system during those hotter days, and complementing the Booney’s comfortable demeanor. To ensure that your hat doesn’t fall victim to a gust of wind, Columbia has also outfitted the Bora Bora with a secure adjustable chin strap and drawcord, allowing you to focus on the task at hand, without having to worry about your runaway headwear.
Ciele Athletics GoCap
In many ways, Ciele Athletics’ GoCap can be likened to Patagonia’s Duckbill. Both are catered toward running, and both boast that timeless, minimalist profile that we’ve come to expect from the industry’s most prominent short-billed models. The GoCap, however, is a bit more interesting due to its unique construction principles. Alongside its protective UPF 40+ sun protection, pliable brim, and reflective detailing, this one-of-a-kind cap also boasts REPREVE — a recycled performance fiber that’s become renowned within the world’s athletic community for its lightweight, quick-drying demeanor. As a result, each stylish hat weighs in at just under 62 grams, while still providing wearers with a full suite of adjustable qualities that can help them to get the most out of their protective piece of headwear.
Nonnative Explorer Embroidered GORE-TEX Bucket
Nonnative’s Explorer Embroidered GORE-TEX Bucket might look like a casual model, but you’d be wrong to believe that it was only meant for the fashion-focused aficionado. As its name suggests, this rugged, safari-inspired outdoor bucket hat boasts a healthy helping of lightweight and waterproof GORE-TEX Fabric, giving it all the gumption it needs to take on a variety of different ecosystems. Whether you’re planning to wear it on an urban mission, or out on the lake, Nonnative’s Explorer is sure to impress, thanks to its 100% polyester construction, subtle embroidery, and grosgrain internals. Plus, with a handcrafted silhouette that’s been constructed with care by some of Japan’s most artisanal headwear providers, you can be sure that your hard-earned money is going toward a product that will accompany you for years to come.
The 20 Best Sunglasses For Men
Now that you’ve found the perfect cap to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays, head over to our guide on the best sunglasses for men, where we break down the best pieces of eyewear to enhance your immunity and keep you stylish all summer long.