WHAT ARE DAD HATS? (OVER)EXPLAINING THE NEW (UN)COOL

  • Nov 2, 2018

WHAT ARE DAD HATS? (OVER)EXPLAINING THE NEW (UN)COOL

 

What are Dad Hats?  Put very simply, they are unstructured, curved-bill caps with fabric strap, buckle closures that feature simple decorations, like small iconic images or lines of text, centered on the front panels. Put in context, Dad Hats are a reaction to everything that recently made hats cool. Dad hats fly in the face of 3D-foam stitched, multi-process, multi-location decorated flat-bill, snap-back, specialty finish hats.

They are floppy, plain, cheap and ultimately look like a trade-show giveaway from the ’90s- and that’s just what they’re supposed to be. They are uncool- but that’s what makes them cool. When you want to look too cool to care, a soft-crowned cap with a snarky saying or a meme-worthy iconic image is the easiest way to say ‘this is me, and I don’t need to try that hard, because you know what I mean’. For decorators they are easy to decorate, fast-running, unsized products made with inexpensive blanks; in short, they are just about perfect. 🏆

Erich Campbell in a Black Duck Dad Hat - Everyone gets stitches

It’s unfortunate that everyone knows I’m not this cool.😐

In my October article for Printwear Magazine, I run through a fast tour of the dad hat, complete with examples of the iconic imagery, the styling, and ideas for how to get them decorated to look their intentional less-than-best. If you want to read more in-depth, please check out the full article. For skimmers and schemers looking to get right to the point, below are the steps to get your dad hat decoration on point.

dad hat featuring a new mexico red chile embroidery

This chile is actually bigger than many dad-hat icons- for me, it’s says ‘hot’ like the pepper emoji, but keeps it local as only an NM red chile can, but you knew that, right? 🌶

Steps to get that Dad-Hat Style

Start with the right blank.

No matter the finish, make sure it has that slouchy look, rounded crown, and that sweet slide-buckle closure to get the classic dad-hat look.

Structured hat versus unstructured dad hat blank.

None of that structure on the left- you want all sag like the vintage gift-shop hat on the right.

Keep the decoration simple.

Though there are a ton of variations out there, this is the best time to leave the foam at home and go with a small, straightforward embroidery. This is the only time I’ve seen decorations smaller than a postage stamp on a cap front, but for this style, it works.

Dad hat with New Mexico Flag Icon

Tons of world-wide flag hats have these tiny decorations- this New Mexico flag fits right in.

Make it clever.

These may be understated hats, but they have a statement to make. If the thematic note is inside-joke with a little extra confidence, you know you’ve hit dad-hat gold. Your target market should have to be a little in the know to ‘get’ it; but the great thing is that’s what defines your target and makes the hat desirable.

strap-back-and-buckle-closure

That’s the stuff- check out that self-fabric strap closure. All class.

If you want your hats to follow in the steps of those that grace the heads of Rihanna, Drake, and Kanye himself, you’ll be in good company with big brands and boutique streetwear creators alike. If you can hoop a hat correctly and keep your needles moving, all it takes is a little tongue-in-cheek humor and a little swagger to make your dead-stock or dead-simple hats into a the dad-style lids nobody will admit that they love, even after they’ve bought every color. 😉

 

WHAT ARE DAD HATS? (OVER)EXPLAINING THE NEW (UN)COOL
What are Dad Hats? Shows a picture of a soft-crowned hat with an embroidered Chile motif

 

What are Dad Hats?  Put very simply, they are unstructured, curved-bill caps with fabric strap, buckle closures that feature simple decorations, like small iconic images or lines of text, centered on the front panels. Put in context, Dad Hats are a reaction to everything that recently made hats cool. Dad hats fly in the face of 3D-foam stitched, multi-process, multi-location decorated flat-bill, snap-back, specialty finish hats.

They are floppy, plain, cheap and ultimately look like a trade-show giveaway from the ’90s- and that’s just what they’re supposed to be. They are uncool- but that’s what makes them cool. When you want to look too cool to care, a soft-crowned cap with a snarky saying or a meme-worthy iconic image is the easiest way to say ‘this is me, and I don’t need to try that hard, because you know what I mean’. For decorators they are easy to decorate, fast-running, unsized products made with inexpensive blanks; in short, they are just about perfect. 🏆

Erich Campbell in a Black Duck Dad Hat - Everyone gets stitches

It’s unfortunate that everyone knows I’m not this cool.😐

In my October article for Printwear Magazine, I run through a fast tour of the dad hat, complete with examples of the iconic imagery, the styling, and ideas for how to get them decorated to look their intentional less-than-best. If you want to read more in-depth, please check out the full article. For skimmers and schemers looking to get right to the point, below are the steps to get your dad hat decoration on point.

dad hat featuring a new mexico red chile embroidery

This chile is actually bigger than many dad-hat icons- for me, it’s says ‘hot’ like the pepper emoji, but keeps it local as only an NM red chile can, but you knew that, right? 🌶

Steps to get that Dad-Hat Style

Start with the right blank.

No matter the finish, make sure it has that slouchy look, rounded crown, and that sweet slide-buckle closure to get the classic dad-hat look.

Structured hat versus unstructured dad hat blank.

None of that structure on the left- you want all sag like the vintage gift-shop hat on the right.

Keep the decoration simple.

Though there are a ton of variations out there, this is the best time to leave the foam at home and go with a small, straightforward embroidery. This is the only time I’ve seen decorations smaller than a postage stamp on a cap front, but for this style, it works.

Dad hat with New Mexico Flag Icon

Tons of world-wide flag hats have these tiny decorations- this New Mexico flag fits right in.

Make it clever.

These may be understated hats, but they have a statement to make. If the thematic note is inside-joke with a little extra confidence, you know you’ve hit dad-hat gold. Your target market should have to be a little in the know to ‘get’ it; but the great thing is that’s what defines your target and makes the hat desirable.

strap-back-and-buckle-closure

That’s the stuff- check out that self-fabric strap closure. All class.

If you want your hats to follow in the steps of those that grace the heads of Rihanna, Drake, and Kanye himself, you’ll be in good company with big brands and boutique streetwear creators alike. If you can hoop a hat correctly and keep your needles moving, all it takes is a little tongue-in-cheek humor and a little swagger to make your dead-stock or dead-simple hats into a the dad-style lids nobody will admit that they love, even after they’ve bought every color. 😉

 

by  on Friday, October 28th, 2016


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  • Tags: dad hat