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April 4
Author: Spiff
Put On a Dad Cap

Your father is starting to get sick of you. First you took away his sneakers, those gray New Balance 990s bought on that trip to New York when you were just a kid; then you asked him for his 501, the ones he had held on to for decades and were his favorites; and now you ask to borrow his cap. Yes, the cap as well...

Back in 2016 the dad caps became vilified among the street stylers of the great fashion shows. Everything seemed to suggest that it would be a passing fad like so many others. A cap without any structure except the visor, with a certain capacity for advertising, worn down, and up until that moment had a use limited to traditional Sunday father wear; those fathers who grilled burgers for you, beer in hand, who wore strappy sandals and bermuda shorts in the summer, and for whom there was no concept of pimkie.

The caps were stigmatized, especially by my mother, and wearing a dad cap was less cool than buying you a Prius. But the figure of Ralph stayed on the mind, and the store you were visiting by the American, a store that had a corner with his famous pony caps. Perhaps Ralph's was the only cap that was spared. A kind of Prius made by Ferrari. The rise of preppy style in these last five years, placed the Bronx native in a starting stage which can influence a multitude of brands.

Accompanying that trend throughout the Ivy look, the 90s arrived, and they came to stay. The most classic brands, far from distancing themselves from the trend, as with so many occasions, it seems that this time they parted the seas. The dad caps took center stage, and new collections of the brands seemed to be taken from a nineties catalog of Polo Ralph Lauren. 

Vintage Polo Ralph Lauren ad

This is not something that I discovered by chance, well, actually, yes. That chance which piques your interest. Suddenly I observed that certain influencers from the classic menswear scene roamed the streets of Florence, and accompanied their raglan sleeve coats with unstructured caps that looked very similar to the caps that were used for advertising purposes. To be honest, it was somewhat shocking. Most likely as a result of coming from a culture so given to etiquette, prejudice and establishing dogmas that are too strict and, why not call it what it is, stale. Those boys, so well dressed - tweed fabric, Edward Green shoes and button down collared shirts with knit ties- they completed their outfit with nineties caps, and although it shocked me, it did pique some interest.

Interest does not always have to be linked to admiration or something that triggers a trend for followers, it is simply interest; interest in why such a trend had even emerged among these presumably well-dressed boys. Then I started reading. There is nothing better than reading, nothing is comparable to reading; it makes you an expert in something that just a few minutes ago you did not know about. And I discovered that which I mentioned a few paragraphs ago, a preppy trend passed through a 90s thermomix. Yes, we could define it that way.

If, for every time my mother told me "son, take off your cap, you're going to go bald", I had a euro, most likely I would be sailing the seas of the Côte d'Azur aboard a stunning yacht. Probably not without reason, and I say probably, because although one has read and re-read threads regarding baldness on the internet, one never comes to consider himself an expert in the field. To be honest, I'm giving it less and less importance. Sometimes resigning yourself, or what others call "loving yourself," is the most comfortable thing to do. Otherwise, there is always the option of the cap, beret, hat or whatever God wants you to stamp on your heads. But caps aren't just a great accessory for those of us who are building up our years, caps are great overall: they protect us from the cold, they clean us up… Yes, although it is hard to believe, they clean us up. Sometimes you do not have time to get your hair done and there is nothing better than a cap to hide that mess under it. They protect us from the sun, they give us options to play with one garment or another, they give us a certain mysterious, adventurous, athletic, bohemian aura...

I am not always a defender of the cap. In fact, I think that many times a cap can definitely ruin an entire look. Today, I reserve it for more informal occasions, where denim, knitwear and leather jackets or raincoats, are the protagonists. Tomorrow God will say. well, I recently saw it with a blazer (picture below), and what the hell, I like it.

But how did the baseball cap come about? You don't have to be too scholarly to think that its origin is in baseball. If not, why else would they call it a baseball cap…? Indeed the first caps appeared in 1849 on a baseball field, more specifically as part of the uniform worn by the New York Knickerbocker Baseball Club. Popular belief makes us think that the origin of it was based on protection from the sun, but no. At that time every respectable man covered his head in public, and baseball players were nothing less. Those first caps were made of straw, but as baseball gained popularity in the United States, they began evolving. First wool, then in a rigid cotton known as buckram. It would be in 1860 when we would see the first prototype more similar to the modern cap. The culprits, the amateur team Brooklyn Excelsiors.

But what was the trigger for an accessory, which was only reserved for said sport, suddenly became a household name for those who inhabit this planet? The question is even more striking considering that we are facing one of the most reviled accessories in history.

John F. Kennedy Jr., wearing a cap, accompanied by Carolyn Bessette

Obviously the first hypothesis should be in line with the sport itself, baseball. As the years went by, it became more popular. It is currently the most popular sport in the United States.The second, and no less important, that of the 60s and 70s, and advertising. Yes, it is in these years when a multitude of agricultural companies decide to stamp their logos on caps, thus giving rise to trucker hatsThe third, influencers from the eighties, that is, actors and rappers.First Tom Selleck with his Detroit Tigers cap, characterizing Thomas Sullivan Magnum, and later, a young Tom Cruise, starring in Top Gun and making the cap a much more respectable and acceptable element in American culture. Hip hop was the defining influence, and from there, its singers, many of them donned in baseball caps. It then became a cultural element, a tremendous marketing tool, a symbol of identity; the cap was everything.

And although we have been living with it for years, and all of us, I repeat, all of us, have one in our homes, it has continued to be despised, especially in certain classical circles. Those same circles, which now, as we have commented before with that 90s trend, and most likely due to the eagerness to recover past traditions, have relaxed, and have given the much maligned cap a chance.

Today I have in front of me the new collection of dad caps by Berg & Berg. We already talked about their belts, and today about their caps, and tomorrow God knows, because the truth is that we are before one of those brands that leave their mark. That cocktail of Alain Delon's sixties classicism and minimalist normcore in the Nordic style, with a nineties flavor; it's just mesmerizing.

Spring Summer Lookbook from Berg & Berg

Leaving a bit of the chromatic palette that we are accustomed to behind, which I love, because beige, navy blue, white, cream, and gray are always synonymous with success, the new collection of caps surprises with three colors, which are undoubtedly geared towards the summer season; brick, navy blue, green and pale purple.

All caps are made from cotton with a low-profile, adjustable fabric strap closure. I especially like it, because it gives added value, the detail of the logo engraved on the metal clip. A logo that, by the way, is also on the front.

But what makes them really special, apart from what I have said, is the creative proposal behind the brand. Looks where the shirt, the blazer and the cap, not only have a place, but also defend themselves with a highly satisfactory result. At first glance they can be confusing for the simple fact of not having that creative potential behind it, but seeing them in action, they work, and beautifully so.

SS 2021 Berg & Berg

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