How to Wear a Baseball Cap Without Looking Like a Douchebag

Listen up or just lose the lid.

1| Pick your panels

Avoiding douchebag territory starts with picking the right one. There are two general types of caps based the number of panels: six-panel caps and five-panel caps. Six-panels are the standard baseball hat construction. Snapbacks, fitted caps, and those god-awful trucker hats usually fall under this category. Five-panels, on the other hand, have their roots in horse racing and polo rather than baseball, and usually have a lower profile. 

How to do it Pick the one that suits your head shape best: six-panel hats tend to suit a face with a wider jaw and a taller forehead, while the shorter five-panel hats tend to suit the opposite. Just don’t ever wear a trucker hat. If you so much as consider purchasing a trucker hat, take a hard look in the mirror for a minute and tell yourself that you’re better than that, because you are. Then you can put the gun down, and proceed with your day.


Six-panel snapback: Triple Play by Carhartt

Five panel hat: Strike Hat by Carhartt

2| Bend the brim a bit

The arrow-straight brim was all the rage back in the late 2000s and early 2010s, around the same time that prepubescent Justin Bieber was merely gestating in the womb of his worldwide fame, before he became the full-grown adult douchebag that he is today. But we’ve come a long way since then. Purposewas actually pretty decent, and just a little bit of curve on the brim of your hat will keep you from looking like a dirtbag.

How to do it It’s best to pick a cap with a very subtle bend and just let it wear out naturally as it becomes more curved over repeated use. But if you like, you can bend a straight brim by hand, too. Just don’t get carried away, because too much bend is no good either.

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3| Materials matter

The standard cotton canvas baseball hats are always a solid choice, but suede and leather can make a cap look more refined, more upscale, less douchey.

How to do it Just be sure to avoid materials like patent leather, and you should be okay. It doesn’t have to be water-repellent cashmere, like this one by Hermès, but you get the picture.

4| Go bright but not loud

We’re usually partial to darker and more subtle colors, but the baseball hat leaves room for a little more playfulness and character. Strong reds, blues, greens, and yellows are fine. Even prints and patterns can work, as long as they’re simple and in good taste.

How to do it Don’t ever let it get loud: Steer clear of hats that have too much going on, like oversized embroideries and unnecessary accoutrements (looking at you, New Era).


5| Keep it clean

When it comes to hat-wearing, few things are more off-putting than sweat stains. If you don’t want to look like the kind of guy who wears his hat to the gym, make sure that yours is always clean.

How to do it Tossing a hat in the wash tends to deform it, so just brush it with an old (but clean) toothbrush, and warm, soapy water. Then leave it to dry under the sun.

6| Wear it right

The tilted hat is just about as douchey as a popped collar, which is the single douchiest thing that a man can do with any article of clothing. Stick to the standard brim-front stance, and occasionally allow for a backwards-brim stance.

How to do it Few other pieces of style advice are as rigidly mathematical, but when it comes to caps, it’s zero degrees or 180 degrees. Everything else is douchebag territory. It doesn’t matter how fresh you think you are.

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7| Take it off inside

Call it old-fashioned, but there’s room yet for a little of your grandfather’s etiquette. When entering a building, starting a meeting, sitting down for a meal, or joining in anything somber like a prayer or a national anthem, take your hat off as a matter of respect.

How to do it Hat hair sucks. Keep a comb handy.

Review: How to Wear a Baseball Cap

1. Six-panel hats suit a face with a wider jaw and a taller forehead, while five-panel hats suit the opposite. 

2. Let the brim wear out and become more curved naturally.

3. Premium materials like suede and leather make a cap look more refined.

4. Strong colors and even prints and patterns can work, as long as they’re simple and in good taste.

5. Clean it: Brush it with an old (but clean) toothbrush, and warm, soapy water.

6. Stick to the standard brim-front stance.

7. Take it off inside. Don't be a douche.

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Miguel Escobar
Assistant Features Editor for Esquire Philippines
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