Bringin' Back the Flat Cap

Bringin' Back the Flat Cap

For a hat with as much heritage as the flat cap or newsboy cap, it’s as "in style" as it’s ever been. And though its roots date back centuries, the iconic look has come roaring back in recent years, powered by the likes of Cillian Murphy’s star turn as British gangster Tommy Shelby in acclaimed TV series “Peaky Blinders.” It’s a look that bridges the gap between workwear and refined style with ease, and it’s one that every gentleman can stand to add to his wardrobe. 

We’re willing to bet your daily pursuits look a little different than Mr. Shelby's, but that’s not a problem: The flat cap, or newsboy cap, is a cap for all seasons. 

A Cap With History

Though popular culture often portrays the flat cap as solely a 19th and early 20th century phenomenon, the roots of the flat cap can be traced back much farther. Originally called a "bonnet," the flat cap made an appearance in late 16th century England as a common head covering of the working class. In fact, a law was even passed requiring “non-noblemen” to wear a flat cap on Sundays and holidays, which lasted a few decades before it was finally repealed. The reason behind this bizarre legislative move was simple: bolster the British economy by increasing the demand for wool

It took a few centuries for the flat cap to become the purview of both the working man and the wealthy, who wore the style for country sports (often alongside other sporting pieces, like hunting coats). The hat was also worn on the links by golfers in the early 20th century.

Fittingly enough, the newsboy cap or flat cap was widely popular about 100 years ago, but it’s coming back into vogue in a major way as a refined, versatile option for the modern gentlemanAs consumers have turned back towards heritage styles, be it well-made selvedge jeans, USA-made flannel shirts or durable leather boots, an interest in all things historical has followed: 

The flat cap has hard-working heritage that pairs nicely with other workwear staples, be it the denim overshirt, the tweed vest, the blue jean, the henley or some combination of all of the above. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have popular television shows and celebrities like Brad Pitt donning a newsboy cap rather famously. 

It’s also proven a stylish choice for hip-hop icons, who valued brands like Kangol. The flat cap or newsboy cap, with its dressy-meets-everyman appeal, is a cap of distinction and timeless appeal. 

What Is A Flat Cap Or A Newsboy Cap? 

Although sometimes used interchangeably, not all newsboy caps are flat caps (or driving caps), and vice versa. The flat cap features one-piece construction with side seams, and the body of the top of the cap rests above the brim. 

The top of the cap is either sewn on or snapped on (or in the case of Peaky Blinders, modified rather creatively to suit the Shelby family’s many pursuits – to put it charitably). 

With newsboy caps, the construction is more full and boasts eight panels. Among the plethora of flat cap and driving cap options, the full 8-panel newsboy cap has perhaps the most distinct working class roots among a variety of professions. 

For a clear look at the differences between each, see our Donegal Tweed Newsboy Cap in comparison to our Donegal Tweed Driving Cap

How and When to Wear a Flat Cap or Newsboy Cap? 

You could certainly say that flat caps or newsboy caps are more casual than other statement-making hats, like the fedora. They’re also well-suited for winter, particularly options that we sell here at Anatoly & Sons, as their tweed construction is toasty and warm. Other flat caps or newsboy caps can be made from a variety of fabrics, be it wool blends or even leather or lighter fabric blends suited for the warmer months. The durable and yet supple nature of tweed, however, is an ideal fit for a stylish, dependable flat cap. 

As to when to wear a flat cap or newsboy cap, the distinction comes down to occasion. The more sleek of a flat cap could lend itself well to rugged-yet-refined pairings: For instance, a herringbone or wool-blend suit is a fitting companion alongside a flat capWearing a flat cap or newsboy cap (or indeed, a cap of any kind) at a black tie function, however, is a move to be avoided. Otherwise, any outfit with rich, substantial texture, especially in the fall and winter months, can prove a fine pairing for your new favorite cap. 

• Our Donegal Tweed Newsboy Cap in Camel, for example, would style nicely with an ivory-hued shawl cardigan or our Denim Traveler Jacket

• Our Tweed Driving Cap in Grey, on the other hand, would pair nicely with everything from our Chocolate Turtleneck Sweater to our Shawl Collar Sweater for a tasteful, timeless look. 

Classic outfits like a waxed field jacket or functional pieces like a hunting coat are also a worthy pairing with either a newsboy cap or a flat cap. The look has a touch of dashing country elegance, along with real-world utility. 

The snug fit and low brim of a newsboy cap or flat cap also proves highly functional, keeping the sun out of your eyes while driving (like a much more refined baseball cap). The curved brim also adds structure and substance – curve yours like Tommy Shelby of Peaky Blinders, or opt for a cap with a straight brim for a look that’s a touch more elegant. 

A Color and Pattern for Every Season

Particularly with our stylish selection of caps at Anatoly & Sons, you’ll find an array of classic looks and crisp, modern styles to suit every taste. 

• Donegal tweed as a fabric already offers rich, eye-catching flecked texture, like our Donegal Tweed Newsboy Cap in Olive Green.

• Other options sold through Anatoly & Sons, like the understated, stylish Tweed Driving Cap in Green, forgo the texture of Donegal tweed in favor of a more streamlined (yet no less appealing) look. 

• Patchwork flat caps are also a timeless option, featuring plenty of color and pattern across one cap.

• Other newsboy or flat caps often feature plaid patterns, the kind you might see on a traditional sport coat. 

For maximum versatility, a cap in a neutral, distinct color (like charcoal) might prove the most reliable option for easily wearable style. Charcoal, dark grey or even olive or tan wear well with navy, black, blue, dark brown and shades like light grey – and that goes for the full spectrum of menswear, from your tasteful V-neck sweater to denim blue jeans or a handsome blazer. 

What To Know About Our Caps 

As for us at Anatoly & Sons, we’re proud to work with John Hanly to stock and sell finely crafted flat caps and newsboy caps. 

The company dates back to 1893, when Dennis Hanly and his son John founded a vertical woolen mill in North Tipperary. Buying fleece from local farmers helped jumpstart the operation, and although times have changed, there’s a distinct sense of history and heritage when you wear a cap from John Hanly. 

Its penchant for quality also runs deep, which is never a bad thing to have in your wardrobe, and if you’re going to opt for a distinct style like a flat cap or newsboy cap, you should certainly ensure it’s well-built. 

That heritage informs its luxurious-yet-rugged quality in terms of fabric, construction and fit, all things we appreciate at Anatoly & Sons. 

Conclusion: A Move of Distinction

The flat cap has an illustrious history that spans workwear, elegant dressing, country sporting occasions and now, modern-day style. Whether in tweed or in a seasonally friendly fabric, the flat cap is an appealing move that separates the modern gentleman from the pack. 

And when worn with classically rugged pieces like a waxed hunting coat, it can turn into a field-ready style move. Elsewhere, it also adds a sense of taste and refinement to textured cold-weather staples, be it the shawl cardigan, the fisherman sweater or the herringbone blazer. 

When choosing a flat cap, versatility is key, but so is personality: A color or pattern that speaks to you and works within your wardrobe is always a wise move. And although it might seem like only a man like Tommy Shelby can pull off the flat cap, that’s far from the case:

Our selection at Anatoly & Sons could become the gateway for your new favorite accessory. 

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