Men's Caps From the 1920s

Written by b. maté
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Men's Caps From the 1920s
Both men and women wore berets in the1920s. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

What a man wore on his head in the 1920s said a lot about his station in life. While older professionals wore conservative hats, factory workers and younger men wore caps. The working class often wore newsboy and flat caps, as did young boys. Those who were worldlier opted for either the flat or peaked caps, which were two hats adopted by fashionable young men.

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Popular among the working class French men and women of the 1920s, the beret was one of the only rimless caps worn. Though the beret is commonly associated with France, it actually has roots in the Basque area of Spain, where shepherds wore it in the 1700s. The malleable felt hat was being produced by at least 20 factories by the 1920s, and had grown extremely popular with French workers. The appeal of the beret is that it can be worn many ways, as the soft unstructured cap can be manipulated in many different positions.

Newsboy Cap

We associate the newsboy cap mostly with the youth, as there are many 1920s depictions of newspaper boys wearing this cap and calling out headlines to a crowd. But in roaring 20s, this short-brimmed hat was also worn by the working class man, such as factory workers. With the fullness in the crown, this hat resembles an oversized French beret with a visor. It differs from the beret as the crown of the newsboy cap is typically comprised of six pieces of woollen fabric patched together -- a beret is cut from just one piece of felt.

Peaked Cap

The peaked cap, also called the forage cap, was a common hat of the 1920s. Traditionally the cap has military roots; Russian soldiers have worn it since the 1810s. In the1920s, the peaked cap got a less austere makeover and became a fashionable hat for young men. Worn by workers and dandies, the peaked cap is a structured hat that has a flat round top and a mid-sized brim. The cap can be fashioned out of herringbone, tweed or plaid woollen fabrics, but it is reinforced to be stiffer than other caps made of the same fabric.

Flat Caps

In the 1920s, older men in the UK wore flat caps, which originated in Ireland and Scotland. Classically known as a bonnet, and later the "Ivy", the flat cap has a rounded top that is almost seamlessly attached to a short brim. Normally fashioned out of wool or tweed, these hats were originally worn by the working class men including fishermen and seamen. But by the 1920s, the cap was adopted by Londoners, and commonly topped the heads of fashionable young men of any class. Of course, when the flat cap was worn by fellows in high society, it was normally in a casual context.

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