An overview of the Irish Hat and Flat Cap
Hello folks. Aidan here from Gifts of Ireland. I'm personally a big fan of the Irish caps. I get lots of people saying that the type of cap suits me. So I added to my collection. It's amazing how timeless these caps are. I still picture my Grandfather with one hanging off his knee as he balanced a hot cup of tea on the other knee.
It can be a challenge to pick the right flat cap. But there are many to choose from and there is one that will certainly make you look like the discerning gentleman.
The Irish flat cap has been a classic amongst any Irish hat and it has done the rounds and now they never have been as popular as they are today! These brave fellas below seemed to have loved a good cap.
Workers acting like daredevils on a sky scraper.
What is an Irish hat called?
An Irish hat is called a flat cap. It is sometimes referred to as a peaky blinders hat, Newsboy cap, baker boy cap or scally hat and more. Do you know Irish actor Colin Murphy? Well he dons the Irish Newsboy cap in Peaky Blinders. Even though he's from Cork, I'll still say he looks good in it. His peaky blinders hat is not for everyone though.
What does an Irish hat look like?
It is a rounded hat with a stiff brim in the front. The brim is designed to help keep the sun out of your eyes. As well as that, it serves as a useful cap to keep the sun off the top of your head. A tweed cap is therefore a great accessory to wear not just in the winter months but also the right choice hat can be worn in the summer too. Their versatility makes them all the more popular. But on a very windy day, be cautious. I was climbing Croagh Patrick in Mayo and I had to walk 20 minutes to fetch my cap that blew away on me.
The herringbone pattern is a defining characteristic of the traditional Irish flat cap. If you buy a quality one it will be made of 100% Donegal tweed. Why is it called herringbone? Well the stitch resembles that of the herring fish skeleton!
Video of Herringbone weave flat cap in 360 degrees view.
The hat below is woven in a standard pattern. It has colored specs. Each hat like this is never the same as they are all handmade. This cap is great on a building site or great to give you the smart casual look on a night out. How versatile can you get! Conceptually a cap is like a blazer in that it can be worn to dress down a formal attire, or on the other hand it can be worn to dress yourself up from being casual to give you that smart look. If you feel confident enough to go Brad Pitt on it, then for sure, work away. If you look down at the live chat button you'll see that I am wearing a herringbone snap cap.
Tweed Irish flat Cap With No Herringbone.
Why Wear a Flat Cap?
You see, it's important to think of the practicalities of wearing a cap and not just about the style. In the summer you wouldn't wear a woolly hat. In the winter, you wouldn't wear a cotton hat. Generally speaking, Irish hats are made to serve style with purpose. They are fantastic in the rain. The droplets of a heavy shower rolls off the peak. So make sure to take the peak type into account. If you want a summer hat, go for a narrow curved cap with a small peak, and light on the head. I have a smaller neater cap for the summer which is fashionable but less functional. In Ireland, our summers are not so hot, so I can manage to wear one in comfort.
A curved cap. This has a small narrow peak. A nice choice for warmer days. If you are buying a cap for a younger person, this would suit him very well because it is a neat tidy fit.
The newsboy cap is quite a different looking cap. It is much wider and fuller at the top. It is characterized with its eight triangular stitched patches held together with a center button. This is not for everyone's taste because of its size. But it's certainly a fashion statement and perfect for the smart casual look. Personally, I don't wear one but that's just my choice. In terms of comfort, they are unique amongst the cap range for their 'room' inside for breathing. Have a look at this video of the newsboy with its snap open and closed at the front. Unless you want to look like a train driver, you should keep the snap closed.
Video of Newsboy Cap cap in 360 degree view.
The Irish walking hat is a great choice if you are heading for a walk in the woods. It's not for everyone. It is a different style completely. When choosing one, look to see if it's 'crushable' like the one on this lady below. They are more portable and are have a softer more relaxed rim. But if you prefer a more rigid one, it will keep out more rain and sun but won't easily fit in your pocket. You can view our new range of Irish walking hats here. These are crushable and they have a relaxed fit. We also refer to them as bucket hats. Would I wear one as a 42 year old? Personally no but that's just me. My wife said 'Aidan I can't take you serious with that' because it didn't suit my personality.
How to Buy a Flat Cap
Now that you have an overview of the types of hats, let's guide you on the questions to ask when selecting your hat. Unlike other types of hats, the fabric shell and sewn construction of the flat caps make it a much easier hat to fit. The brim is one defining characteristic of the caps and each style differs. Some have a soft curved brim structure and others are stiff. So depending on your facial structure you might want to take this into account. A curved brim is known to be a good young mans cap and the newsboy cap is one for all ages (Cillian Murphy definitely pulls it off very well in Peaky Blinders).
- Flat caps have traditionally been made from tweed or wool and cotton. So, rather than going with a leather or denim cap, we feel it's best to stick with what they were originally born from.
- In terms of comfort, it's important that the brim and the band around the hat fit comfortably across your head.
- Factor in breathing space for your head when considering what material to buy it from. A synthetic material such as polyester will give your head room to cool and breath.
- Are you buying one for summer or winter? We don't rule out wearing a flat cap for the summer months because if you live in a place anywhere like Ireland, then you'll never predict one days weather to the next! But a regular County cap is a good light choice for the warmer periods. Any of the caps work well for keeping you warm in the cold weather.
- Know the difference between the tweed patterns. A popular and slightly more expensive one is the herringbone tweed shown in the video above. It's an interesting and popular one but there are other weaves you can choose from. Personally I like to wear a herringbone weave. There are also other lovely ones with different flecks of color which give the impression of the landscape of Ireland. The patchwork style is literally patches of different tweed colors and patterns stitched together.
- Brand matters. For an Irish tweed flat cap, be sure to choose your brand wisely. Invest in one and avoid being too price conscious. It is worth paying a good price for a cap and the price usually reflects quality. A fine tweed weave is easy to distinguish from a cheaper one. Our customers
- If you're buying online, use our hat sizer below to measure your head correctly and accurately. Hats come in sizes S-M-L-XL and XXL so there is one for everyone.
Size guide to help you choose the right cap.
How to Wear a Flat Cap
If you wear the correct size, not only does it stay on your head on a windy day, it also will look flattering on whatever face shape you have. If it's your first time for a flat cap, it will seem a little top heavy at the beginning but wait till you fit it with your other attire and you'll look great.
- Wear it with casual or formal attire. They really are so versatile. Wearing one with a blazer or a waistcoat is especially slick. Or for a smart casual outfit it's also perfect.
- Contrast your colors. If it's a plain dark top you are wearing then consider a lighter cap. Or if it's a check or plaid cap then consider plain attire.
- Do not wear the cap back to front. If Samuel L Jackson is reading this blog, then Sam I respect your choice. However, for the Irish tweed flat caps...trust me do not wear them back to front.
- Wear your brim how you like it. The peak of the cap is an important definition of the shape of the cap from front view. Some caps like the curved County cap are a narrow brimmed cap. However if you have a wider brim on your cap, you can shape it a little to your liking.
- You will either buy a cap with a snap or no snap. With the snap, you have the option of pulling open the button at the front and wearing it unsnapped. However I advise that you keep it closed. The snap adds a nice shape to the cap when it's closed, but not when it's opened.
I hope you have found this to be an informative flat cap guide with tips that are sure to bring out the tweed gentleman in you.
We also have another blog which may help you learn more about the distinguishing factors of a newsboy cap. We also have a youtube channel with 360 degree views of the hats which you might like to see.
Hats off to you for reading to the bottom. Have a great day!