May 9th, 2018, 09:53 AM

Baker Boy Caps: The Eternal Accessory

By Anabel Bachour
Image Credit: Instagram/ Bella Hadid
The clothing statement from the 16th century that started as a law, and is now the trendiest headwear.

When someone says that the 90s trends are making their return to the 2018 fashion industry, there is a lot of evidence to prove that. The hip-hop, streetstyle aesthetic is still very present – their looks included a lot of blazers, oversized sweatshirts and a lot of funky styles that we still see today. Thus, it’s clear fashion repeats itself. But, if someone told me that a men’s fashion trend from the 1571 (Yes you read it right, the year 1571, Queen Elizabeth I’s era) was still making its mark, I would be a bit surprised.

The baker-boy hat, or what is also known as the poor-boy cap, the newsboy cap, The Jay Gatsby cap, or The Shelby’s men cap (if you were a fan of Peaky Blinders) is a trend that’s lasted centuries. It kept making an appearance, once or twice every decade. In modern times, it’s a staple of womenswear and the Parisian style trend. The cap got its popularity in Europe in the late 19th century and early 20th century. However, at that time, it was worn by adult men and young boys. As one of the many names it has would suggest, the cap was worn by newspaper delivery boys.

The style originated under the rule of Queen Elizabeth I in 1571. She sought a way to stimulate the Irish and British wool trade, so she passed on a law obliging males over six years old, upper class excluded of course, to wear woolen caps on Sundays and holidays to help England’s wool trade. The law later established the flat cap as a staple of Irish/British working-class clothing culture. After approximately 30 years, with the increase in Irish people immigrating to the United States of America, the cap brought its influence to the American fashion of the 19th and 20th century.  


Today. 4 years of us 🌹✨ @cluse #FallForCLUSE #cluse

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By the year 1910, the cap became very common among all working classes, it was not only being worn by newsboys, but also by dockworkers. At the same time, as the caps were becoming a working-class trend, they were establishing a position in the upper-class fashion. The cap became associated with well-to-do country sportsmen, drivers, and wealthy golfers.

The cap made a comeback and became popular among women and fashion houses in the 2000s with past French icons like Brigitte Bardot, Ines de la Fressange, and Jane Birkin, and supermodels like Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, wearing the caps for fashion shows or their daily lives. Today, it could be argued that the Hadid sisters dominated the trend and became its biggest fans. Bella Hadid was seen multiple times wearing the hat with almost every outfit, from denim, leather, to army print jumpers. As for Gigi Hadid, her first collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger included a lot of baker-boy hat styles and looks, and the cap pulled them together.

Image Credit: Ines De la Fressange, Jane Birkin, and Brigitte Bardo -, [respectively] 

The hat has also been worn on the red carpet by celebrities like Rita Ora, at runway shows on guests like Diane Kruger, and also by runway models during ready-to-wear shows and couture shows alike. It has been modified to include different fabrics, patterns and textiles, including fur, leather and corduroy, to suit the collection’s inspiration and styles. It has made an appearance in the shows of John Galliano, Prada, Miu Miu, Dior and more.


la la la ✨

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The next time you go to your closet to put on your hat before you walk out of the door, think about the rich history it might have.