Different Hat Styles and How to Wear Them
Hats are an American sportswear staple. First introduced by the Brooklyn Excelsiors in 1860, sportswear hats were practical solutions for baseball players to block the sun out of their eyes. Decades later, when televised games became a norm, baseball hats became a way for fans to proudly represent and support their favorite teams.
Now, people of all backgrounds and lifestyles enjoy wearing these hats. They’re loved across all genders, ages and occupations — baseball players, casual wearers, truck drivers, high-end designers and others don baseball caps to shield the sun, show off their style or display their team spirit.
The great thing about hats is their versatility. You’ll find a slew of hat styles, like snapbacks and fitted hats, across various designers. Of those designers, well-known brands like ’47 and New Era take charge with notable hats such as the ’47 FRANCHISE and New Era 59FIFTY.
Discover more about these two brands and the types of hats they offer, as well as how and where to wear them, below.
Different Types of Hats
Depending on your style and personal preference, you may prefer the way one type of baseball hat fits or looks over another. Some different hat styles and how to wear them include:
The snapback is one of the most iconic hats. A snapback hat refers to the cap’s backing rather than the overall style. Its defining quality is an adjustable closure that has plastic snaps — you can adjust the hat to your head size by snapping the plastic closure onto the snaps.
Snapbacks come in a variety of styles. They can resemble a premium hat with structured panels and a flat rim, or they can be dad hats and fit loosely with a pre-curved brim. Because of the versatility, snapbacks can work with casual, streetwear, sportswear or high-end fashions.
Strapbacks are extremely similar to snapbacks. Instead of having a plastic back strap with snaps, strapbacks either have an adjustable fabric strap or a Velcro strap. You’ll typically see high-end hats, like the New Era brand, use strapbacks over snapbacks because they use more luxurious fabrics. Like snapbacks, strapbacks range in appearance, so styling options differ.
3. Fitted Cap
Fitted caps are equally versatile as snapbacks and strapbacks. The biggest difference is fitted caps don’t have an adjustable backing. Fitted caps often come in centimeter sizes, so it’s useful to know your proper hat size.
Typically, fitted caps are more structured so they can fit more snuggly to the head. Their brim styles differ but are usually straight or slightly curved. Designers like to intertwine fitted and premium caps because of fitted caps’ clean designs.
Because fitted caps are typically more high-end in terms of sportswear hats, consider wearing fitted caps to a stadium game with your favorite authentic jersey, or use it as an accessory with your going-out outfit.
4. Premium Cap
Premium hats blend the worlds of sportswear and high fashion. They’re stylish caps made of quality materials and luxurious fabrics, usually with a minimalistic design. Typically, brands specialize in premium caps, like the New Era brand.
Examples of premium caps are baseball caps made of velvet or satin or ones that are highly structured and clean-looking. A good example of a premium hat is New Era’s 59FIFTY hat.
Because premium caps are so fashionable, you have the green light to wear them with a semi-formal outfit, like a loose-fitting blazer and fitted black trousers. The accessory will add a touch of personality to your dressy look. You can dress these hats down, too, with your favorite game day outfit or out to a casual dinner with your family.
5. Trucker Cap
Truck drivers are such big fans of baseball caps, they revolutionized their own style. Trucker caps are similar to snapbacks, except they have a mesh backing that makes wearing the hat more comfortable and breathable. They were especially popular in the 1970s and carried into the 2020s by celebrities like Ashton Kutcher.
People consider trucker caps to be extremely casual. They’re the perfect hat to own if you prefer casual options over premium styles, and they’re great for outdoor recreational activities, thanks to their breathable materials.
6. Dad Hat
If you see a baseball cap and think, “That’s something my dad would wear,” then it’s probably a dad hat. But these hats are in fashion again thanks to the resurgence of vintage styles. Dad hats are simple designs with an unstructured body, faded appearance and are slightly oversized. Because they’re so casual, consider pairing dad hats with an everyday outfit, like a white t-shirt and faded denim jeans.
How to Properly Measure Your Hat Size
When you put a baseball cap on your head, you’ll instinctively know if it fits. When a baseball hat fits right, it won’t feel so tight that you lose circulation or so loose to cover your eyes or easily fall off your head.
Most hat styles are adjustable, available in one to three sizes, which you can easily customize to your head size. But there are certain styles, like fitted caps, that come in centimeter sizes. For these hat styles, it’s essential you know your correct hat size.
Properly measure your hat size by following these simple instructions:
- Acquire a fabric tape measure.
- Wrap the tape measure around your forehead, around the area where the widest part of the hat will sit. Avoid wrapping the tape too tight or your hat will fit too tight, as well.
- Look in the mirror and record the circumference of your head in centimeters. Typical hat sizes range from 54 centimeters to 65 centimeters.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 two more times.
- Take the average of the three measurements for the most accurate hat size.
If you don’t have a fabric tape measure, you can take a length of ribbon, string or a similar thin fabric that doesn’t stretch. Follow the steps above, marking where the material wraps around your head. Remove the material and measure it with a ruler or measuring tape.
Look for size charts that convert the centimeter measurement to the appropriate hat size when you shop for fitted caps or similar styles. Some brands will list their hats in centimeters, inches or a numerical hat size.
How to Style Almost Any Hat
Fashion is a world of interpretation. You can style caps however you want, but there are some general hat guides you may want to consider:
- Take the sticker off the brim, with one notable exception: When you purchase a baseball hat, especially from a recognized designer, it will come with a sticker on the brim. Most people take the sticker off, although there’s no written rule that says you have to. Some people do like keeping stickers on their collectible hats, however, such as the New Era 59FIFTY.
- Make sure your hat fits properly: You don’t want your hat to look too small for your head. But you also don’t want it to fall over your eyes and look too big. Find a hat that fits right for the best appearance and make adjustments if you have a strapback or snapback style.
- Opt for simplicity over flashiness: Hats are an accessory meant to complement your outfit. Simple styles can also match for items in your wardrobe, letting you wear your hat more often. Of course, if your style leans more bold or flashy, you’re free to choose the cap that complements your preferences.
- Keep your hat clean: A dirty or ill-kept hat will take away from the natural appeal of your hat. And some hats are an investment and have high resale value, so you’ll want to keep them clean to maintain their value. Some caps may have tags with washing recommendations, so be sure to follow those instructions to keep your hat well-maintained.
Where Can You Buy Officially Licensed Sports Merchandise? Rally House!
Rally House offers collectors and casual wearers specialty sports goods, including hats representing NFL, MBA, NHL, MLS and NCAA teams. We have a passionate team of sports lovers who can help connect you with the right style of hat to represent your favorite team. As you read our list of different types of hats, follow our links to browse some of our most sought-after merchandise.
The Most Sought-After Brands and How to Style Them
Hundreds of different brands produce their own hats. Of those brands, some of the most sought-after are ’47 and New Era. Both have a rich history and background of producing hats made of high-quality materials and featuring well-loved designs.
’47 Hat Types and Styles
Twin brothers Henry and Arthur D’Angelo migrated to Boston, Massachusetts, from their hometown in Italy. At the young age of 12, the entrepreneurs noted the apparent love for sports in their new community and established a single street cart selling sports memorabilia, starting the era of the ’47 hat brand.
Today, their brand is much larger than a street cart, now a licensed partner of MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, MLS, USSF and college sports teams. Some of their most notable hats are:
’47 CLEAN UP Hats
One of the first hats ’47 introduced is the ’47 CLEAN UP, still considered one of their most classic and best-selling styles. The hat is a classic strapback with relaxed, structured paneling and a slightly curved brim, all of which make this style comfortable and easy to wear.
At the front of the hat is an embroidered logo of your favorite sports team. And on the side of the hat close to the brim is a small embroidered ’47, representing the hat’s roots. Some of the most popular sports teams on ’47 CLEAN UP hats are the New York Yankees, Anaheim Ducks and Boston Red Sox. You can also find this style in classic colors without any embroidered sports logos.
Because the ’47 CLEAN UP hat is so versatile, you can pair it with almost any outfit. Go casual with a classic hat color, such as black, and pair it with a denim jacket, white t-shirt and khaki pants. Or embrace the sportswear appeal and wear an embroidered ’47 CLEAN UP hat with a matching sports jersey to the next game.
Browse Rally House’s selection of ’47 CLEAN UP hats by visiting our product page online.
’47 FRANCHISE Hats
Another hat ’47 is known for is the ’47 FRANCHISE. Unlike the ’47 CLEAN UP, the ’47 FRANCHISE is a fitted hat — without any adjustable features — adorned with an embroidery of your favorite sports team’s name. Like the ’47 CLEAN UP, these caps put your team’s logo on the front and the smaller ’47 logo on the side. And because these hat styles are fitted, they have more room on the back to feature an additional logo, showing off your team pride from all angles.
The ’47 FRANCHISE is a sportier version of the ’47 CLEAN UP. Next game day, step your sportswear game up by fashionably repping your team on your head. Pair it with a casual outfit or your favorite sports jersey.
Explore our ’47 hats online and browse our available merchandise to find a fitted hat that puts your favorite team on display.
New Era Hat Types and Styles
In the ’20s, German immigrant Ehrhardt Koch asked his sister for money to start his own fashion headwear business. What started as an aspiration grew into a new era of headwear, especially after the boom of baseball hats in the ’30s. Koch blended the world between sportswear and high fashion, creating sportswear hats with unique structures and high-quality materials.
New Era began outfitting big league baseball teams with hats in the ’50s. Over the years, New Era expanded their big league reach, now outfitting MLB, NHL, NFL, NBA and Minor League Baseball teams. Some of the most coveted New Era baseball hat styles are:
New Era 59FIFTY Hats
New Era is most known for its 59FIFTY hats. The 59FIFTY hat — the official cap of Major League Baseball — has a high structured crown reinforced by a front panel structure, giving the hat its notable shape. The front visor is flat, but users have the option of gradually curving it over time. Many people enjoy the hat’s natural shape, and most prefer leaving the New Era’s iconic gold sticker on their brim.
Know your hat size when buying a New Era 59FIFTY hat because it’s fitted, meaning you don’t have a strap or plastic snap to adjust the frame snuggly to your head.
The New Era 59FIFTY hat has a more high-end, premium style. Because of its high standing, you have the go-ahead to pair this hat with more fashionable outfits, like streetwear or high-fashion attire. Wear the New Era 59FIFTY as streetwear with a wide-legged short, fitted sweater and statement sneakers. Or wear it high-fashion with a black, loose-fitting blazer, fitted black trousers and a crisp white shirt.
Browse Rally House’s selection of New Era 59FIFTY hats online today.
New Era 39THIRTY Hats
Branching off the 59FIFTY design, the 39FIFTY is a less structured and more breathable baseball hat style. It’s a fitted cap but has a spandex sweatband that allows the cap to fit more snuggly to a user’s head. It also has a pre-curved band, saving users the additional steps of curving their 59FIFTY.
Because the New Era 39THIRTY is a casual style, it’s a great option to wear with casual clothing or streetwear attire. And, because of the enlarged embroidered sports name and logo on the front of the hat, it’s great to wear to game-watching parties!
Check out Rally House’s selection of New Era 39THIRTY hats by visiting our product page online.
New Era 9FIFTY Hats
While the 59FIFTY is a fitted cap with centimeter sizing, the 9FIFTY has an adjustable backing available in two wide-spanning sizes. From the front, the 9FIFTY is comparable to the 59FIFTY, sporting the same wide and straight brim, enlarged embroidered sports team logo and side New Era logo.
Since the hats are so similar, you can wear them both the same ways, although some would argue that the adjustable back makes the 9FIFTY more casual than the 59FIFTY.
Visit our New Era 9FIFTY hats online and browse our available merchandise.
New Era 9FORTY Hats
The 9FORTY is a seamless combination of the 39THIRTY and 9FIFTY hats, taking the best features from both. It’s a well-fitting snapback, strapback or Velcro back with a pre-curved brim and less structured paneling. These caps are available in traditional styles with an all-fabric backing, or you can find them with mesh backings for more breathability, too.
Of the New Era hats, the 9FORTY is considered a more casual alternative. New Era as a brand, however, offers premium hats you can pair with your favorite casual outfit or sportswear. And you can always dress up the structured paneling and wear it when going out to a casual dinner with your family.
Browse Rally House’s selection of New Era 9FORTY hats online today.
New Era 9TWENTY Hats
Of the previously mentioned New Era hats, the 9TWENTY is comparatively more casual. It has a pre-curved brim, adjustable back strap and lightly structured crown. It’s meant to fit a little looser, almost like a dad hat. Although the 9TWENTY is still considered a premium hat, New Era purposefully designed the hat to pay respect to the original baseball cap design.
The New Era 9TWENTY is a casual hat. Wear it on game day, or wear it to represent your favorite sports team as you run errands or grab a quick bite to eat.
Discover what makes New Era 9TWENTY hats so great by browsing Rally House’s available options online.
New Era Casual Classic Hats
The New Era 59FIFTY hat is a well-structured premium hat that blends the world of high fashion and sportswear. On the other end of the spectrum are the New Era Casual Classic hats, which have a more dad hat appeal. The New Era Casual Classic hat has a pre-curved brim and unstructured paneling. It’s meant to feel extremely comfortable to wear, fitting a bit looser on the head.
Because this hat is so casual, it’s best to pair it with an equally relaxed outfit. Complement it with a t-shirt and faded pair of shorts, and you’re good to go.
Visit Rally House online and browse our selection of New Era Casual Classic hats.
Shop MLB and NFL Hats at Rally House
A big part of American culture is sports, especially baseball and football. Rally House offers hundreds of different MLB and NFL hats, plus other big leagues like NHL, MLS, NBA and NCAA. We even offer coveted styles like the ’47 CLEAN UP and the New Era 59FIFTY.
Styling these hats is easy. Wear our casual styles with your favorite casual outfits or sports jerseys. Or, for more premium hats like the New Era 59FIFTY, dress them up with your favorite streetwear or going-out attire.
Looking for a particular style? Shop all of our hats online today, or browse our listings by league, team, state or style to make your search easier.