Newsboy Caps vs Flat Caps

by Kat Coyle

What’s in a name?

It’s been said that fashion follows cycles. Styles will disappear for a few years, only to reappear as ‘vintage’ and find life again. Yet, there are some pieces that seem to never fall out of favour, such as men’s caps.

There are many names for casual yet stylish men’s hats: flat caps, newsboy caps, gatsby hats, baker boy hats, duckbill, caps, cabbie hats, eight panel hats, and so on.  You might be surprised to hear that while some of these are synonymous, others are not. There’s actually several different styles hidden in amongst those names and we’re going to explore the differences between them.

When did men’s caps come into fashion?

While most people associate these hats with the 1910’s and 20’s (thanks, Peaky Blinders!), their appearance as a style icon is actually a few centuries earlier. 

These hats came into fashion in the 1500’s thanks to an Act of Parliament that instituted a fine for any men over the age of 6 that did not wear a woollen cap on Sundays and holidays. While this was only enforced for about 25 years in order to boost the wool and sheep farming trade, it had a lasting mark on UK fashion.

What’s the difference?

Today, many people use the term ‘flat cap’ as a blanket description of all these types of caps, but there’s actually several distinct styles:  flat caps, newsboy caps, duckbill caps, and baker boy caps.

Flat Caps are sewn together in the back, using fewer and larger strips of material than a newsboy cap. There will be minimal bagginess or ‘poof’ to flat caps, compared to their cap-cousins.

Patchwork Flat Cap in Grey and Navy

Newsboy Caps are connected at the crown of the head instead, often with a button. This often results in 8 pieces of fabric, loosely resembling pizza slices.

Men's Green Herringbone Newsboy Cap

A duckbill cap has more of a rigid, domed shape than the others, though it is attached at the top, much like a newsboy cap is. The duckbill often doesn’t have a button connected the ‘pizza slices’ of fabric which may help to distinguish it.

Brown Tweed Duckbill Cap

Baker Boy caps are often said to be synonymous with newsboy caps, however within the Heritage Tradition stock, the baker boy caps have a slightly shorter brim and lower back and will create a profile that is subtly different from that of the newsboy caps.

Men's Grey Baker Boy Cap

How do I style a cap?

Try some on and find out which profile works best for you - some will have fuller profiles and it’s up to you to decide which style you prefer. You can also think about lightly curving the brim to fit your face shape better.

Most importantly, think about the fabric patterns and what outfit you plan to wear this hat with. You want to ensure your hat doesn’t contain patterns or colours that will clash with your existing wardrobe.

Caps in this style can be used for casual or more formal wear so it is a very versatile look. You can take inspiration from David Beckham, ‘Peaky Blinders’, or Samuel L Jackson who is known for wearing a flat cap backwards.

Peaky Blinders Style

Make it your own and be sure to check out our wide range of men’s caps.