Jeremy Allen White caps
Jeremy Allen White is a big fan of the humble cap. @dodgers

IN THE LAST FIVE years or so, menswear’s much-opined departure from streetwear has caused many fashion casualties. Skinny jeans and showy logos are things of the past. Shares in brands like Yeezy, Air Jordan and Supreme are at an all-time low. Even certain high-end labels like Off-White, which built its name on a streetwear-led aesthetic, seem as if they’re catering to a dwindling audience of sneakerheads.

However, as hoodies have given way to chore jackets, loafers have re-entered the menswear zeitgeist and sweatpants have exited it (at least as they pertain to public-facing fits), one enduring accessory has remained an essential: the humble cap. Whether it’s a beaten-up dad hat or a box-fresh baseball cap, it hasn’t just retained an enduring presence in our cupboards, this year, its popularity seems to have skyrocketed with a vengeance. And we’re not just wearing them to and from the gym. We’re slapping them on with jeans and trench coats, loafers and shirts. We’ve been aware of their ability to hide bad hair and make us look deceivingly sporty for a long time, but the cap also lends an immediate air of cool to an otherwise smart fit. And that seems like a fresher revelation. 

Firstly, caps are an accessible entry-point to brands and designers whose pieces tend towards too-expensive. You might not be able to justify spending thousands on a Marni bag, but you can most certainly talk yourself into buying the Italian brand’s logo cap. But beyond the status symbol factor, caps are also an easy way to add a bit of colour or textural diversity to an outfit; they are unrivalled in their ability to bring a fit from one end of the smart casual spectrum to another – something that hits when we’re taking more and more cues from the big dressers of the ‘80s and ‘90s, like Denzel Washington and Nicolas Cage.

Hats are also a great way to express loyalty and allegiance, a desire we’ve seen manifested in the recent dominance of merch culture. Things have, of course, moved on slightly from a time where Covid had us hoovering up hats, mugs and bags from our favourite small businesses in a well-intentioned effort to keep them thriving, but hats remain our favourite way to express our interests and our passions – whether it be indulging a hobby or subculture you’ve been into since your teens, repping a multi-billion-dollar sports franchise, as our friend Jeremy Allen White so often does, or giving love to your favourite small restaurant. 

As these grassroots trends go, luxury brands, as well as more casual, contemporary designers, have taken notice, and are tapping into this moment where caps with cool fits feels more of-the-moment than ever. Here, we take you through some of our favourites to drop in recent times, as well as a selection of timeless picks that’ll never go out of style.

Our Legacy black ballcap

There’s a timeless, grungy allure to a weather-worn black hat, all the more so when logos and embroidery are taken out of the equation entirely, something Swedish menswear savants Our Legacy nail here with their knack for minimalist luxury. The 50/50 nylon/cotton blend ensures it’ll endure the elements and, like its wearer, age gracefully no matter what.

Adidas cotton baseball cap 

Even when it comes to fashion caps, you really can’t beat a classic. This light blue option from Adidas will keep you feeling just the right amount of sporty as you move through your weekend.

Orlebar Brown ‘Beesley’ cotton twill cap

It would be remiss of us to leave out Britain’s most beloved purveyors of luxury resort-wear, who we recently teamed up with on the Sydney launch of their latest resort collection. This Euro-summer ready number is crafted from soft cotton twill with a towelling inner band to dial up the luxury.

Song for the Mute grey washed denim cap

When it comes to cool kid hats, the more beaten-up, the better. Caps that look like they’ve dragged backwards through multiple hedgerows seem to be all the rage at the moment, and if you want to hop on the trend, you could do far worse than this effort from local heroes Song for the Mute, which puts grungy denim to great use.

Los Angeles Dodgers cap

As the official headwear partner of the AFL, AFLW, NRL and the Australian Open, as well as the makers of some of the world’s biggest sporting leagues official caps (NBA among them), New Era knows its way around headgear. Your fastest ticket to getting Jeremy Allen White’s look? This LA Dodgers cap in seasonal brown.

Polo Ralph Lauren chino cap

Perhaps the most enduring fashion cap of all, and a foundational member of modern day Americana style. Grab one in a neutral tone, and it’ll never go out of style.

Metalwood studios 6-panel cap

Their much-sought-after camo caps are notoriously hard to get their hands on, but LA golf wear brand Metalwood, which infuses its links-ready threads with a sensibility inspired by the rebellious streak of noughties skatewear brands like Supreme and Stussy, comes through clutch regardless with a collection of caps as at home at fashion week as they on the fairway.

Celine Homme logo-appliqued cotton gabardine baseball cap

No, that’s not a Cubs hat. It’s ‘C’ for Celine, and if you know, you know. With a classic five-panel profile, popping this cap is the best way to get in on Hedi Slimane’s ultra-minimalist aesthetic, without dropping three months’ rent on a bigger ticket item.

Which brand is famous for caps?

Given caps are accessories with such universal appeal, it’s hard to pinpoint just one brand that’s famous for the design. But New Era Caps, which has been around for over 100 years, is certainly one of the most respected makers of caps in the world – it’s the official hat maker for the biggest sporting leagues in the country, let alone the world, and its designs have been worn by iconic celebs from Spike Lee to A$AP Rocky and Paul Mescal.

What is the best colour cap for men?

A cap is more than a practical item, it’s an accessory, and therefore, you should approach your colour selection as such. Opting for black, navy or grey is always a safe bet, because it will pair well with whatever you own, no matter the day or occasion. But for those wanting to wear the cap as a fashion statement, why not choose something a little more worn, embroidered, tie-dyed or bedazzled? The options are endless. We recommend having some fun.

How to look good in a cap?

When it comes to looking good in a cap, there are no hard or fast rules. Don’t overthink the shape of your head or the length of your hair – instead, try a few different shapes (some caps, like the LA Dodgers and NY Yankees merch, are super boxy, while others will stick closer to the shape of your cranium) and trust your gut when it comes to what suits you best.

Esquire participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.


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