The cap: The ultimate streetwear accessory

If you are a fan of the streetwear style, you have probably already dressed with a cap. If it was not frequent, a few centuries ago, the cap is now an essential element of streetwear. So what does history tell us about the cap?

tenshi streetwear cap

A history that goes far back in time

Headgear was once used not only for fashion, but also for utility. The story goes that the first head covering was used a long time ago by people who existed 18,000 years ago. At that time, they would have used squirrel tails to cover their heads. This hypothesis was put forward following the discovery of the remains of Arene Candide, which lay near the caudal vertebra of the squirrel. Moreover, the use of the headgear would go back to the Cro-Magnon era. Whether it is the skeleton found in Italy or the Cro-Magnon hypothesis, there is no formal evidence to confirm it.

The headgear was used in antiquity to distinguish people of different social ranks. It was a cap made of leather or wool known as pilos. Not only used in society to mark nobility, the pilos symbolized the elevation of the soul of believers to the heavens.

Today, the preferred material used in the manufacture of headgear is felt or straw. However, long ago, linen and wool were used.

France knew the appearance of the beret, one of the civil headgear whose shape reminds that of a cap. Made using the same technique as the Arab fez, the beret is believed to have originated in the Middle Ages. As far as military headgear is concerned, we will talk about the shako, which is similar in every way. Several French armies adopted the shako during the 19th century.

The wearing of headgear went through a period of crisis during which it was forbidden to any man over the age of 6. This law was passed in England around 1571, but made a special exception for aristocrats. Failure to comply with this law was punishable by a fine of 17 pence. Over the years, as bourgeois and aristocrats opted for superior hats, the cap became an icon of social struggle. The cap will return later to make a greater impact.

Year 1895 in England, the cap will be put in bad position after its appearance on the campaign poster of the first president of Labour party. This politician will only come out with bad notices from the House of Commons. This was a turning point in the evolution of the cap.

A turning point in the wearing of the cap

The 19th century will be the scene of the expansion of the wearing of the cap among all types of workers. The cap became the symbol of the workers who associated it with all types of uniforms. This expansion was noticed among railroad workers, conductors, drivers, newspaper sellers. Absolutely all the workers had indulged in the wearing of the cap. However, the city fashion will be impacted only later.

the worker's cap

At that time, the cap was used strictly in a professional context. Policemen, soldiers, workers, the cap had become a work accessory. If you know the famous detective Sherlock Holmes, you will have noticed the presence of a cap for lack of tweed beige very refined unlike the ordinary cap made of wool carded and flexible. The years 1984 have seen in France the adoption of the flat cap for the national police.

Also known as the gavroche, this cap is a cap of Irish origin popular for being the symbol of the titi parisien. The titi parisien is an expression used to refer to a child who is mischievous, mischievous and prankster with a thorough knowledge of the city. Francisque Poulbot gave his name to the gavroche thanks to his illustration of the Parisian titi. We then use "Poulbot cap" to designate the gavroche. In some European countries such as Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom, the gavroche has become a real symbol to recognize schoolchildren and students.

In the 19th century, a variation of the "gavroche" was born. With a small visor and a slightly curved appearance, the gavroche became popular in the northern part of America and in Europe. It is in fact its arrival in America that will allow the rise of the cap. It was first adopted by newboys, commonly known as newspaper sellers. Then, the American working class adopts it to mark the revolt.

baseball cap

However, this did not do much for the cap's entry into the fashion world. It wasn't until 1930 that the cap was adopted by a growing sport: baseball. It was the ambassador who took the cap beyond the borders.

The cap, the symbol of baseball

With a domed visor and branded with the Major League Baseball teams, the cap became popular all over the world. Babe Ruth, thanks to his immense talent, conquered the hearts of millions of fans and also contributed to the popularity of the cap between 1910 and 1930. It is important to remember that baseball did not require the wearing of caps, but it was a matter of course. Indeed, the cap became essential to face the sun rays that could become very annoying for the one who wants to catch the ball. Today the cap is undeniably an essential component of the player's costume.

The caps used in baseball are inspired by the Sherlock Holmes model and were made from wool and leather for the visor..

The Detroit Tigers were the first team to print their crest, an orange tiger in full run, on the cap. This first step was taken in 1901 to the delight of fans. It wasn't until 1903 that improvements were made to the quality of the cap. The visor was reinforced and then lengthened from 1920. The New Era brand became involved with the Cleveland Indians in 1934 to provide them with quality caps.

During the 1940s, the shape of the cap underwent changes. This time it was the crown. It grew in size, but its use and the way it was perceived changed greatly.

About a decade after the baseball teams, agricultural groups have realized the importance of the cap and are exploiting it for advertising purposes. Just like the baseball teams, the agricultural groups imposed their logos on the caps. This practice will be a huge success during 1970 and 1980.

As it developed, the cap was not only a part of everyday life, but also of the wardrobe. This has not failed to impact the cinema and television which today make the cap an accessory that goes far beyond the symbol of the working class. Several stars appear on film sets wearing the cap. We can mention Tom Cruise during the shooting of Top Gun and Tom Selleck during the shooting of Magnum and Mac Gyver; to name only those. In France, Brigitte Bardot promotes the wearing of the cap among women.

Several models of streetwear cap

The cap is therefore totally immersed in fashion and its impact is growing. Streetwear has also been impacted by the incursion of the cap through hip-hop. In the 1980s, the cap boomed at the same time as rap. We witnessed the arrival of Tupac, Dr. Dre and others. Here again, the New Era brand is the leader.

The streetwear cap exists in different models :

The fitted

This model with flat visor created in 1954 is used mainly in baseball. The fitted caps are custom made. The prototype of the fitted caps is the 5950 model created by New Era ideally for the players of the Major League Baseball. New Era made it its flagship product throughout 1978. At that time, due to the comfort of the cap, the fitted was the first to reach the wardrobes. Since this cap is custom made, it may not fit everyone, but many people will find it to their liking..

The snapback

This is one of the improvements of the cap that has a snap on the back. This would allow the tightening or loosening of the tightening as desired. The visor in this case is flat and fits the streetwear style very well. It is one of the most used models in the world of hip-hop and rap.

The strapback

This model is identical to the snapback cap which has a snap on the back to adjust the tightness. However, the strapback is different from the snapback in one and only point. The snap is replaced by a strap that can be leather or sometimes scratch.

The docker hat

docker hat

Also known as the "docker's cap", the visorless cap originated among the working class.

Indeed, the dockers are people working in the port, whose primary job is to load and unload ships. They are also known as longshoremen. These workers spend most of their time on the ships in the cold, damp and wind. In these conditions, it is obvious that a visor would be too much. This is how the cap without a visor was born.

The docker's cap will then leave the port to spread to all working classes around 1950. The docker's cap will impact not only the working class, but also the musical world. We witnessed the adoption of the docker hat style by famous bands such as The Monkeys and Mike Nesmith in the 1960s. The docker hat will therefore know a meteoric rise not only among teenagers, but also among adults.

This beanie is essentially characterized by its large brim and a small, rounded cap. The lapel is easily noticeable because of the long hours at work that the workers spent in sweat. The beanie then won the hearts of skateboarders and rappers to finally take a place of choice in our wardrobes. Today, the docker hat is still in the news, whether it is the multicolored model or the sober model. 

More must-have streetwear :