It will probably never be said that I was a trendy kind of guy when it comes to fashion, at least since I quit wearing bell bottoms in the 60’s. Somehow the whole Baseball Cap fashion trend snuck up on me and apparently left me in the dust.
Growing up as a newbie BabyBoomer a baseball cap was worn playing little league during a game or practice and never much other than that. Who would suspect that a whole fashion trend was being hatched in some seedy loft in the garment district? I never got the memo.
As the growth of little league baseball created a mass of young Major League baseball fans, the powers to be in marketing realized there was money to be made on the domes of fans. What better way to inexpensively spread team loyalty than to market to their fanbase. As the trend continued major players in the sports market were quick to realize foreheads were a walking billboard for the likes of Nike, Adidas, New Era and the like.
The late 50’s saw the demise of the Fedora hat. A fashion staple that no man would leave home without. There was a certain finesse about a fedora and who didn’t want to emulate the looks of an Al Capone or an Elliot Ness? In strolls the Ball Cap the universal replacement for headware. An inexpensive solution to Bad Hair Days, bright sunshine and bald heads. The trend continued and designers jumped on board and Sales soared as manners plummeted.
Look around hats are everywhere and proper manners have gone by the wayside. A tip of the hat has become an old cliché’ rather than proper etiquette. Casual demeanor has brought the cap indoors, a manners no-no since the beginning of time. Never should a cap be worn indoors (unless as part of a uniform), in a restaurant or a church and should always be removed during the National Anthem or the passing of our country’s flag.
And wouldn’t you know it as soon as it becomes mainstream, change rears his head for the nonconformist and a splinter group evolves wearing the cap backwards, a trend I blame on Yogi Berra and other Major league catchers. Who knew they were the trendsetters? But we are a fickle lot so some began the wear to left or wear to the right style. Some say it’s gang related – I say it’s nuts. But wait let’s not stop there……We evolved farther and created the Tag- and- Label -left-on look. “Look at me, I made the big time and was able to buy a new hat!” Sorry Kids but Minnie Pearl invented that style 50 years ago.(Go ahead you can Google her)
Other than Blue Jeans I can’t think of a fashion trend that has endured like the baseball cap. Who knew a sport would trigger a change in wardrobe and manners. And come to think of it, the ones who need Baseball Caps the least are probably the Major League players, since most games are played indoors or at night. My hat is off to you Little Leaguer of the 60’s – You trend setter you! Me I’m praying for the return of the Fedora.