In Praise of the Unstructured Ball Cap

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Right around this time of year (it is the first official day of summer after all) I always come across these stories that praise the “purity” and “simplicity” of this season, but quite frankly I just don’t see it. Fall, winter, those seasons make sense to me. It’s cold, you put on a jacket. It’s really cold, you put on another jacket. It’s really, really cold, well you don’t leave your apartment. But summer on the hand, summer is a problem.

Hockney

Details (that seven letter word that seems to encompass every single thing you read about on blogs such as this) are always paramount (or so we say) but in summer their importance is heightened. There is a reason Hillary and Norgay are still brought up for simply looking so damn cool during their Everest expedition – there was a lot to see in their outfits but there was also a lot to miss. In summer, we don’t have the luxury of hiding behind layers, so there’s less room for both experimentation and error. Which is why in my eyes, the only real solution is to lean more towards the casual side of the spectrum.

steinberg

It’s just easier to think less about your standards: shirts, shoes, trousers, etc. and focus more on the little things. As a result, each summer I focus on a seemingly inconsequential add-on that makes all the difference, and this summer it’s the baseball cap. At the risk of forever justifying my friend’s claims that I’m a sixty year old man trapped in a twenty-one year old’s body, I’ll admit that the first thing that springs to mind when I think of the ideal cap, is some old sun-stained hat that my dad used to wear to my little league games when I was in grade school. But to put this search into terms that aren’t so literally tied to “dad’s style,” I turn to these two above photos that I found on Brian Procell’s old blog (as an aside Procell’s new store is one of the best vintage stores I’ve ever come across) of David Hockney, and Saul Steinberg.

Paris

The two caps on these artists heads check all the right boxes – they’re shallow, have perfectly proportioned brims, and appear to be totally unstructured. Bonus points to Hockney for pulling off one of his trademark stripe on stripe pairing. While I wouldn’t go for baseball hat with a suit combo ala Harry Dean Stanton in Paris, Texas (above), as that’s best left for elderly Madison avenue Trads in blobby Aldens (in the modified last of course), the unstructured cap has become my off the clock best friend. Some of my peers swear by Ebbets Field, but my personal favorite comes from Club Monaco (at the top), which I’d like to believe is Aaron Levine’s subtle nod to his one of this past endeavors – the short lived Hattan project with another household name (that is if everyone in your household is one a strict diet of menswear blogs) Ian Velardi. Is it “dad?” Absolutely, but I can guarantee your dad looked more comfortable in his unstructured cap than a lot of people do in their unstructured suits these days. That is unless you Brunello Cucinelli, the one man who can pull off both. At the same time.

Cucinelli

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3 comments
  1. mross said:

    Apolis makes my favorite right now.

  2. MKS said:

    The only problem, only one, with an unstructured baseball cap is an unstructured cranium. It’s as if the fontanels never sealed and left sink holes; the cap then looks shriveled like a dried plum.

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