Popular fashion can have a serious sense of humor — what was once considered totally uncool can quickly become the latest must-have product of the moment. Case in point: the dad cap.
In case you hadn't heard, those slightly tattered, somewhat ill-fitted baseball caps that you are most likely to see on good ol' Dad have now reached "it" headgear status. While a dad cap is really just a baseball cap — snapback hats, strapback caps, and fitted baseball hats included — its distinguishing features are that it has a slightly loose fit, curved bill, and low profile.
So which dad cap style is best for you? Aside from personal taste, it's really a matter of material and fit. Baseball caps come in any number of fabrics, from natural fibers such as cotton, wool, leather, and suede to synthetic materials including polyester or nylon. While lightweight textures such as cotton or nylon might be great for keeping cool in the heat and during lots of activity, a thicker textile such as wool or suede will keep you warm in cold weather.
Snapback hats, strapback hats, and fitted caps are all part of the dad cap clan, but they each have a distinct style. (Hint: It's in their name.) Take a look at our handy hat glossary for even more must-know terminology.
A snapback baseball cap is one that snaps in the back to adjust the fit. This style has been made highly popular by New Era, the official hat supplier of MLB (Major League Baseball). A strapback baseball cap is one that adjusts with a strap rather than a strip of plastic snaps.
Finally, a fitted baseball cap has no snaps or straps, so it cannot be adjusted to fit. This makes it even more important to measure your hat size properly before choosing any hat. Check out our list of the do's and don'ts of wearing a baseball hat to get it right every time.
Even though the dad cap trend is more about comfortable function (and a dash of irony) than cutting-edge glamour, there's no reason you can't have fun with it. Get ready to take the dad cap craze to the next level with our guide featuring everything from stylish strapback hats in unexpected finishes to relaxed yet refined snapback caps.
These Dad Caps Are Tops
You don't need to have kids to shop these laidback lids made from materials that range from cotton and wool to leather and polyester. You can also check out more options you'll love in our list of the best baseball caps for dads.
Cotton Dad Cap
Proving that mellow doesn't mean messy, Perth by Stetson is a classic dad cap that will work for you anytime of year. The pre-curved bill and distressed cotton blend score major dad points for a well-worn, lived-in look while the cotton twill sweatband and buckle-back strap won't let you down in the comfort department. Don this all-American baseball cap with your New York Yankees tee and favorite pair of Nike Court Royales or Adidas Originals for a timeless yet on-trend take. And don't forget to keep it clean with our top tips for washing a baseball cap.
Wool Dad Cap
Tired of all the Nike, Fila, and Supreme logos? No problem. This fuss-free Russ baseball cap by Stetson features an inconspicuous embroidered logo that exudes low-key style. Crafted from structured wool felt to keep you warm during those cool months, this fitted dad cap also has a cotton sweatband to ensure supreme comfort every time you wear it. Choose from navy, burgundy, black, and olive (shown) and be sure to peruse our guide on how to clean a wool hat so your dad hat lasts season after season.
Leather Dad Cap
You could always go with a basic black dad hat in cotton, but why not step up your dad cap game with a leather and suede winner? Made from genuine leather (buffalo front panels, pig suede back panels), Bray by Stetson is a sleek strapback dad hat featuring an antique T-slide backstrap and comfy cotton sweatband. Pair this with a Calvin Klein button-down shirt, khakis, and Vans shoes for a weekend look that keeps it cool and casual. For more leather hat options, check out our new arrivals.
Polyester Dad Cap
With its wide profile and flat bill, Salute by Brooklyn is an adjustable snapback hat that definitely gets the dad cap stamp of approval without falling into the trucker hat trap of mesh madness. The subtle shadow camouflage print and monochromatic stitching forgo any flashiness, making it a versatile pick that can be dressed up or dressed down. Pair it with an Oxford shirt, fitted blazer, and trousers for a prepped-up ensemble or top off your NASA T-shirt and boardshorts for an effortlessly easy-going outfit. If brands like Diamond Supply and Santa Cruz are part of your regular wardrobe, then this hat is a must. For more ideas, don't miss our list on the best snapback hats.
Keep It Cool
The quintessential dad cap is a slightly loose baseball cap more concerned with function than fashion, but there are many different takes on this good-humored trend.
Aside from snapback, strapback, and fitted ball cap options, you could try the bucket hat, which is the epitome of ironically cool dad hats. Also called a booney hat, the bucket hat has become among the most coveted must-have hipster hats beloved by celebs, fashion acolytes, and hip-hop artists alike.
Just steer clear of the tacky trucker hat and too-tiny trilby, lest you appear to be trying too hard. After all, when wearing a dad cap or any trendy topper, the bottom line is to have fun and not take yourself too seriously while still looking incredibly cool.