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The 5 Baseball Cap Styles Every Guy Needs to Know

When it comes to this classic topper, what's your go-to style?

By Taylor Davies | Aug 20 2015

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Other than watches, there are few accessories men are more impassioned about than hats. Specifically? Baseball cap styles.

An SG reader put it quite succinctly in the comments of a recent post, “You’re either a hat guy, or you’re not.”

While this might be true—it’s not so simple. A quick poll of a few members of the SG braintrust (read: our guy friends) revealed that, for guys who give a lick about looking good, a well-chosen cap can go a long way. For some, it’s a personal signature and weekend fixture. For others, an easy way to put a casual finishing touch on an otherwise more put-together look. And then there are those who feel a baseball hat is only for keeping your hair out of your eyes while driving with the windows down and sunroof open.

Fair enough!

Practicality, personality, bald spots…the point is: there are a million reasons we love and fully support guys rocking a hat with style and confidence. When it comes to choosing your baseball cap style, everything from team loyalty to coastal heritage can come into play.

Below, we break down the 5 most popular baseball cap styles…

The Snapback

l to r: (sold out) similar: Todd Snyder x New Era, $78Nike, $30

Most guys we know prefer this style of hat. The snapback has been adopted within just about every “style camp” you can imagine, from streetwear to athleisure, preppy, hipster, California cool… We could go on. Our favorite versions (and the ones most highly endorsed by the braintrust) rep cities, teams or a select brand like Nike, for example. On a practical note, dark color caps will go with most anything, and hide most signs of frequent wear (sweat on the inner band, anyone?).

The Fitted Cap


59FIFTY, $38

At SG HQ we’re of the mindset that fitted caps are all about repping love. For a team, for a city, even for a well-loved brand. You can’t just pick a hat off the shelf because you like the color! That would be weird.

So choose your allegiance and get the size right (oversized hats are not a thing). Another note: Take the stickers off! We’ve had a lot of chatter in the comments about this topic in the past, and the consensus is definitely, peel ’em. Now.

The 5-Panel

 Manastash, $49 | (sold out) similar: American Eagle, $18

This hat is oh-so menswear. What started as a Brooklyn hipster-on-a-bicycle thing has become a surfer-hipster-city dweller-anyone-with-a-head thing.

So what’s the verdict? With the right look, we dig it.

We’d also add that this is probably the only style of hat that looks cool with an all-over print—in most cases anything overly fussy or busy in design looks foolish. So if you’re a fan of this style, seize the moment and get bold with pattern.

The Trucker Hat

Patagonia, $29

We were tempted to go with a hard-and-fast “No” on this one, but we’ll give graces for a few select styles. The trucker hat draws up cringe-worthy flashbacks to the Ed Hardy days for many of us, and the truth is there’s not a ton of style appeal to this type of hat. The mesh panel in the back does allow for a breathable, cooler fit, and perhaps in certain settings (Camping? On a boat? As a costume?) we could give the trucker a pass. Maybe. The jury is still out…

The “Dad Hat”

Polo Ralph Lauren, $45

You know the one we’re talking about…made popular for the young folks in the early aughts thanks to Polo Ralph Lauren, these soft-style hats have become a kind of signature for dad-style and über-prepsters.

While there’s nothing particularly wrong with this hat, there have been enough updates to this style to don a classic preppy cap without the unintended connection to the dad-bod phenomena. Opt for a logo-less cap in a unique hue or texture and if you’re so inclined, apply the snapback logo trend to your soft-style hat.

No matter which type of cap you rock—it’s a personal preference, after all— there are a few guidelines we should agree on.

How to wear with care:

  • Never wear a hat on a date.
  • Hats are for weekends, errands and ballgames, of course. As one of our friends put it, don’t wear a hat anywhere you wouldn’t wear a t-shirt.
  • When it comes to sports teams, brands and logos: Anything subtle and/or obscure get extra points.
  • Keep it clean—ladies rarely go for “grungy hat guy.”
  • “Take the stickers off, you heathens.”
  • Most important: be proud of the hat you choose and wear it with confidence…because a cap doesn’t hide you, it’s a huge indicator of your personal style.

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