The Evolution Of The Baseball Cap
Named after it’s practical sporting origins, the humble baseball cap has come a long way from the baseball field. First donned in the late 19th century, early versions combined wool and leather, while at the time, baseball players were wearing everything from boaters to pill box style caps.
The initial styles only loosely resemble the caps we see today. Over time, modifications have been many - both for style and aesthetics. First came the addition of air holes for breathability. Next, the change of fabrics from pure wool to polyester for the further comfort of baseball league players. Nowadays, baseball caps are made from anything from cotton and spandex, to a poly blend, and beyond.
One of the biggest game changers has to be the extension of the peak, for not only functionality and aesthetics, but for the way it changes the shape of the hat to accommodate one thing - a brand logo.
By 1901, the first logos made their way onto the front of the caps, becoming a part of the team’s uniform, and helping to differentiate between teams. Fans who wanted to show support for their teams would buy their team’s cap - and so the team’s exposure increased. When corporations latched onto the advertising potential of the humble cap, sponsors flooded in thick and fast, vying for a few inches of valuable space on a team cap. For this reason, you might say baseballers were the first influencers!
It was around the 70’s and 80’s that the first promo hats started to appear, in particular, handed out by agricultural companies. The style often handed out is what's now commonly referred to as a trucker cap - it all makes sense!
Change in attitude
You know what they say; once something lands in Vogue, it’s only a matter of time before it reaches the mainstream.
Always ahead of their time, Vogue latched onto the cap for it’s almost anti-fashionability, helping to bridge the gender cap gap, and presenting the baseball cap to a whole new legion of fans. It didn’t hurt that it’s extended peak helps to protect fair facial skin from the sun’s harmful rays.
Famous heads donned icon or nameless hats in what would become iconic photos of Royals, celebrities, and holy figures adopting what was once functional sporting attire, to next become a status streetwear symbol, before dispelling amongst the masses.
The mass appeal of baseball caps has converted them over time from a practical piece of uniform, to a statement piece, and in 2020 to a modern wardrobe staple with transformative powers.
A person’s choice of baseball cap style, occasion, and attitude have the ability to entirely convert the status of the wearer - from outsider to insider, average joe to baller, princess to stylish athlete. Your average Millenial will own a wardrobe of caps - but so will their grandfather. The baseball cap is undeniably an accessory that unites.