Not too long ago, I broke down in detail the very specific appeal of what we here at Esquire HQ call the “summertime cap.” Sweat-soaked and perfectly broken-in, the summertime cap as I envisioned it was almost always a classic six-panel, often one you picked up in a random visitor’s center en route to a family vacation you’re already dreading as soon as you get into the car. Well, reader, I have a confession to make: I may have spoken too soon.
See, the summertime cap isn’t so much a style as it is a feeling, an abstract and often difficult-to-articulate sense of warm-weather goodwill tethered to memories of summers bygone. The six-panel may indeed remain the purest expression of the form, but the summertime cap can be any hat you choose to endow with that spirit. And if you’re fed up with throwing on the same old snapback every day, there’s a bevy of other styles vying for coveted front-of-shelf space in your closet.
Sure, the tried-and-true six panel might be the most approachable of the bunch—at least at first glance—but summer’s always been the time to let loose a little, and if hats you’d never consider wearing otherwise are suddenly looking a whole lot more reasonable, you’re not alone. What, after all, is summer if not one long opportunity to dine at a veritable Venetian table of hat styles? It’s no fun to limit yourself to only one dessert, and you do yourself a grave disservice by ignoring the rest of the goodies out there.
So not to wantonly mix metaphors here, but it’s high time you crowned (ha!) a new contender for the summertime cap of 2020. Let’s dig in.
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Today’s safari hat is a far cry from the hard-shelled versions favored by intrepid expeditioners of yesteryear. A not-so-distant cousin of the humble bucket, the safari typically features a slightly floppier brim than its better-known relative, along with a signature adjustable drawstring.
The snapback is the hat style you’re likely most familiar with, and there’s few modern-day proponents of the silhouette that pull it off with more panache than Tyler, the Creator. The consistently fire snapbacks he releases through his Golf Wang line are further proof that right now there’s no one doing it better.
The trucker isn’t all that different from a standard snapback, but it typically features fewer panels (the portions that make up each part of the hat) and a breathable mesh back. Tremaine Emory’s take boasts embroidered floral detailing for some added oomph.
Come summer, a crisp fitted will never not be the play. Supervsn subtly updates a classic New Era silhouette via a stylized trademark label—no actual L.A. affiliation or affinity necessary.
The bucket hat is an all-time summer silhouette—and a personal favorite around these parts—that remains one of the best options for those looking to expand their repertoire beyond the standard collection of classic baseball caps. Daily Paper’s lightweight red, white, and blue take is the perfect solution to any mid-summer style woes.
If just about the only thing you could think of while watching The Last Dance was MJ’s enviable collection of berets, you, my friend, might be ready to invest in the style yourself. Sure, the beret isn’t the most conventional of caps, but that’s a big part of it’s appeal. There’s never been a better time to lean into a slightly out-there look, and in a style courtesy of Saint James, the first name in authentic French design, there’s no excuse not to embrace your inner Jordan.
The panama is an old-school, decidedly elegant hat I immediately associate with images of, like, extremely pompous and deeply problematic British colonialists chomping on cigars in ill-fitting three piece suits. Reclaim the panama, people! It deserves so much better. The hat might not be as beloved as some of its more wearable brethren, but paired with a fresh tan and lots and lots of linen, there are few headwear styles more summer-ready.
The 5 Panel
The 5 panel tends to be a fan favorite among the streetwear set. A-Cold-Wall*’s typically extra take is made entirely out of a water repellent nylon so you don’t have to worry if it blows off your head and ends up half-submerged in some ghastly saltwater/seaweed mix.
The 6 Panel
A 6 panel is *a few hasty back-of-the-envelope calculations later* one panel more than its 5 panel counterpart! More panels, more fun. Off-White’s pre-distressed take looks like it already put in the work, so you don’t have to.
The statement hat is an often-tricky-to-pull-off flex that, when executed effectively, immediately elevates even the simplest of outfits. A word to the wise here: In order to avoid veering into lifestyle influencer territory (and trust me, you don’t want to veer into lifestyle influencer territory), make sure the rest of your fit is relatively pared-down, and then proceed with confidence.
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