Look around the room, I bet you there’s a boy wearing a cap
In libraries, in lectures and even in nightclubs
Back in the late nineties and early noughties, it was generally accepted that the skater-boy look was cool. Think Nike SB, think Vans, think beanies and baseball caps on backwards. Then came Jack Wills and the lamentable trend of elasticated chinos and polo shirts. Finally though, we have come full circle and the “no-fucks-given” look of old is back. Everyone is wearing ripped jeans and, God help us all, fucking baseball caps. Everywhere. In libraries, in lecture theatres, in bars, in nightclubs.
In the UK we are (un)fortunate enough to not experience year round sunshine. We are blessed to not suffer through men leering at women from behind mirrored sunglasses all the time. In other words, especially in winter, the average Joe requires little to no protection from the sun visa vie their eyes. Yet sure enough, you could walk into any university library, club night or chilled gathering and find a plethora of men donning baseball caps.
There are perhaps two distinct baseball cap wearers. The first is the least troubling of the two. Dressed in a Ralph Lauren cap, a quarter zip fleece and smart jeans they are smart and sophisticated. They will have a signet ring most likely and smoke rollies. Naturally they study politics or maybe history of art. They drink lager but they would never be seen to engage in any form of lad culture – they were raised bette. They go out to enjoy themselves with friends and appreciate the music they listen to.
The second is far more familiar and far less pleasing. We are talking a Nike baseball cap, an oversized hoodie (always in black or camel), a smelly vintage shell suit jacket and either ripped jeans or tapered “joggers”, clutching a red stripe. Most likely they will study Business Management or Sports Science. Drinking expensive brandy and coke and getting ripped off for a small amount of very low grade MDMA, they go out to pull with a ket spoon and a fake signet ring to attract attention. They definitely don’t go to music nights for the ambience or the track selection. The morning after they will message their lads group chat to ask “did anyone smash?”
But the greatest distinction can be made depending on how you wear the cap. Those who wear the hat facing forward are very secure in their fashion sense, they know that they are going against the grain and yet they don’t care. Those who wear them backwards are a completely different animal. The little tuft of hair that pops out by the strap on the cap is inevitable and unflattering.
Aside from their total lack of aesthetic value, caps must surely provide no discernible benefit to the wearer. In the absence of sunshine, certainly they are not wearing them to shield their eyes from the rays. If they wanted to keep their head warm (highly unlikely given the temperature of any public library anyone has ever entered), they would surely wear a beanie or trapper hat (as popularised by the infamous Dappy).
As such we are led to certain assumptions about the wearer. Perhaps we could assume that they think they look cool. But how do we define cool? If cool meant that everyone followed the trend of the times, then we would all have boycotted the use of £5 notes, marched on the NUS with flaming pitchforks and be sending animated GIFs of ourselves to all our contacts. But as any self-help book will tell you, you shouldn’t follow the crowd. So we know definitely that the wearers of these caps are not doing it to look cool.
Perhaps then, we could argue that they all have terrible hair. That might explain the wearing of a hat in a situation that does not warrant it. But these boys are wearing hats alongside clothes of the choicest fashion. Surely, no one who spends £80 on a T-shirt with a useless zip on it has no time to do their hair surely?
Finally, would it be so outrageous to suggest that all of these gentlemen are closeted baseball players? Silently and unknowingly awaiting their call up to the MLB, ready to drop books or drinks at any moment to catch that home run. We will never know.
What we do know, is that if you’re wearing a hat named exclusively for a sport that isn’t played in the country that you reside in, and if you’re wearing something featured in 5/6 of the first google images for a search of “guy dressed like a twat”, then you must be doing something wrong. It’s the next step for the guys who stack bottles in their window in first year, it’s an expression of a true lost boy.