the flat cap

The flat cap is a light and floppy cap, traditionally made in tweed or wool.

Originally worn by Irish and British farmers in the countryside, the flat cap has gradually spread through all social classes.

Nowadays, it has become a fashion accessory whose popularity hasn’t stopped growing in the last years. Many celebrities are regularly seen wearing this flat cap over generations, from the Beatles in the 60s, Robert Redford in the 70s to Madonna, Beyonce or Johnny Depp these days...
The flat cap (or Irish cap)

The flat cap - Its story

Created in the 14th century and known as a bonnet, the flat cap was common amongst rural working men. In 1571, a Bill was passed that any man or child over the age of six years old had to wear a woollen cap on Sundays and holidays. The cap had to be made in England.

If it was breached, the punishment was 3 hefty farthings for every day the cap wasn’t worn! Unfairly, people of nobility were exempt, although it turned out they came around to this particular headwear by themselves.

This extreme law whose goal was to boost the country that was struggling in the wool trade, was repealed in 1597.

However, wearing a cap was already part of the working men’s culture by that time so a large amount of people continued to wear it.

In the 17th century, the flat cap appeared in the USA thanks to the British and Irish immigrants who came through Ellis Island. The cap takes, then, two new identities, becoming known as the driving cap in reference to the taxi drivers in New York and the ivy cap, due to its relation with the Ivy League Schools of New England.

Bettmann Corbis' picture “Lunch atop a skyscraper”, on which we can see 11 ironworkers eating lunch, casually perched atop a steel beam hundreds of feet above Manhattan, has been shown around the world and has contributed to make the cap famous and be a whole part of the American culture.
The flat cap (or Irish cap)

The cap has become popular not only in Ireland and Great-Britain but also in Europe and in Northern America. At the end of the 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th, men and boys of all classes were wearing the cap and particularly among the working class.

As the 20th century progressed, the cap also became popular with the upper classes. The material used to make those caps was finer and the cap was only worn during leisure activities.

In the 2000s, the cap became a fashion accessory. Made of leather, tweed or wool, it inspires the high fashion designers (Chanel, Dior, Agnès B etc.). Celebrities of vastly different fashion styles, are seen wearing the cap: Samuel L. Jackson, Justin Timberlake, Brad Pitt, David Beckham but also Harry Styles or Prince William.

The flat cap - A fashion accessory

The traditional cap is a must of the headwear fashion: it has crossed decades without losing its attractiveness.

This traditional cap has a classical shape and a style that is both casual and timeless, which allows us to customise a great amount of outfits for the city or the countryside.

It is usually made of wool or tweed but we can also find them in leather, cotton or other fine materials (alpaca, silk etc.).

The cap has the unusual characteristic of being able to look both vintage and modern, depending on how you wear it.

Among the flat caps, we can find the Irish cap: it is made in a thick material woven in Ireland (such as Donegal tweed) to protect oneself from the bad weather of Ireland where the four seasons can be seen in one same day.

The Irish cap is traditionally a classic flat-topped cap. There is a variation formed with 8 panels (the Eight-Panel Cap) that are sewn together to make a circle on the top of the cap, held together in the centre by a cloth knob or a button. It can also have 6 panels (the Six-Panel Cap).

The flat cap is both elegant and stylish and can suit anyone: each man should have at least one flat cap in their closet.

It shows many advantages:

  • it protects from the cold but gives at the same time a fashionable look, even sophisticated,
  • its visor in the front protects your eyes from the sunlight,
  • the flat cap suits anyone, regardless of the age,
  • it is suitable for any occasion, be it a wedding, a party, work or just leisure,
  • it matches any colour, including white.
The flat cap, a fashion accessory

The flat cap is a must-have of the masculine style, summer or winter, worn by young and older people. It has become a mid-point between the ultra-casual baseball cap and the dressier Fedora style hat.

Coming from the street culture and worn by city hipsters, the flat cap asserts its identity in the men’s wardrobes. It enhances a look that is definitely modern.

This iconic hat is seen as well on women who have adopted it. When the boyish fashion appeals to women around the world, the cap is the perfect example of an androgynous and freed look, with a glamorous and sexy touch.
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