Cap Shape 101

Cap Shape 101

So, you know how shopping for jeans is a nightmare? How every brand has different cuts and different style names? And how sometimes the size you like in a slim fit is not the same as the size you like in a relaxed fit? Caps are just the same. Over and over again customers in the shop ask us what the name of a shape is so they can find more like it online. But every store and every brand names caps differently. I have done what I thought was impossible, taking on my own magnum opus for your benefit: a Taxonomy of Cap Shapes.

Man in a dark newsboy cap and bright t-shirt on a dark background

As far as I can tell, no other hat store has taken on this challenge (hat manufacturers are a different story – like the jeans thing). The idea is to take all the styles across all the brands we carry and categorize them by similarities. There are a thousand minor differences in brim length, separation between the bill and the body of the cap and the fullness on the sides. This means that all hats that share a name won't have an identical fit, but, with this taxonomy, we can more easily include recommendations for other hats to consider if you like the shape and fit of a particular hat

The one thing that we hear questions about over and over again in the shop is wanting/not wanting fullness on the sides. People either love or hate a full-bodied cap. The first proper cap I bought myself was a slim newsboy style made by Grace, a now defunct-in-the-US Japanese brand that remains an inspiration to me that shows up in many of our exclusive Brim brand hats. At the time, super fitted duckbill caps were trending (head-hugging 6-panel caps with no separation between the bill and the cap, usually with a curved bill that resembles a duck’s bill, thus the name). I never liked how a duckbill looked on me; they always made me think my face looked long. Over the years, my preferred caps have gotten fuller and fuller. At the moment I’m settled on a Traditional Newsboy. I’ve been wearing the orange herringbone from City Sport more days a week than there are days in a week.

three patterned newsboy caps on a penny counter

I’ve organized our taxonomy here by shape, or roughly how many panels a cap has and how big those panels are. The all-important fullness on the sides is greatest at the beginning reducing towards the middle (2-Panel Ivy Cap is the narrowest) and widening out again at the end.


Big Apple  the classic 1970s style oversized 8-panel newsboy
Traditional Newsboy  traditional full-bodied 8-panel cap with a deep fit and pronounced brim
Newsboy moderate-bodied 8-panel
Hatteras modern slim 8-panel newsboy
Spitfire slouchy 8-panel newsboy cap with a soft stitched brim
6-Panel Newsboy narrowest fitting true newsboy with the button top
Relaxed Fit Newsboy soft brimmed deep fitting casual 8-panel cap with no button
2-Panel Ivy Cap deep, close fit, with two top panels for one of our most head-hugging shapes
Slim Fit Ivy narrow brimmed style with fitted panels on the sides and back for smooth shaping and minimal bulk
Vintage Flat Cap retro workwear shape with a long brim and relaxed fit; rolling the brim creates a shape similar to our Slim Fit Ivy
3-Panel Flat Cap 1970s inspired boxy shape, reminiscent of the classic Kangol 504
Driving Cap vintage full-bodied flat cap with separation between the bill and the body of the cap, giving it a longer appearance
Traditional Flat Cap full sides and a flat bill with minimal separation between the brim and the body of the hat


Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.