Which brim style for you?
February 20, 2010 12:22 PM   Subscribe

BaseballCap Filter: Should the brim be curved, or flat?

Does one style (or the other) send a message?
posted by Rash to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (32 answers total)
 
To me (middle-aged suburban guy), a brim should be gently curved. Like an umbrella, or even shallower than that.

The message I get from either a super-curved brim or a totally flat brim is "I am trying to be cool."
posted by AgentRocket at 12:28 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sure, it sends a message about what social groups you identify with (e.g., people who wear their brim curved, or people who don't). Unless of course you just prefer your brim one way or the other, and don't care what other people think. In sum, no, there is no "should" that is relevant to brim curvature.
posted by found missing at 12:31 PM on February 20, 2010


So what are the flat-brimed (and curved-brim) social groups?
posted by Rash at 12:35 PM on February 20, 2010


The flat brim (with stickers, of course) is very young, urban/hip-hop/etc. Example: here
posted by wrok at 12:39 PM on February 20, 2010


In my - limited, New England-centric - experience, it goes like this:
Gently curved = traditional, mainstream
Very curved = was trendy about... 15(?) years ago
Completely flat = first started noticing it was trendy a couple of years ago, so it's probably got a limited shelf-life, coolness-wise

I've spoken to at least one older gentleman who associates the flat brim with "hoodlums". Said gentleman is probably (I think) confusing "cool" teen culture (and it's generally teens & young adults who worry about this stuff to the extent of painstakingly keeping their brims either very curved or very flay) with antisocial behavior. My $0.02, as a non-baseball-hat-wearer.
posted by pammeke at 12:40 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


* flat, that is. Unsure what a "flay" brim would be. D'oh.
posted by pammeke at 12:41 PM on February 20, 2010


If I'm playing baseball, I want it curved to cut down on glare.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:41 PM on February 20, 2010


I'm an early-20's suburban guy, and I agree with AgentRocket, particularly on the very flat brims.

Personally, I think what you should do depends on your head shape. If I didn't curve my hats, they would not fit my head well, because the shape of a flat brim doesn't match my head (which is smaller than most). With the right curve (which you'll have down to a science with practice), you can get a hat to fit your head very, very comfortably.
posted by kjackelen05 at 12:43 PM on February 20, 2010


A brim definitely needs to be curved. The flat brim phenomenon is a recent development that had its origin in the hip hop /rap movement of the 90's and early 2000's (my opinion).

If you look at photographs of ball players from decades ago, you'll notice that there's always been at least some amount of curve to the brim.

In terms of message sending, I'd wager that a completely flat brim indicates the wearer is attempting to be more fashionable and trendy. I would expect that anyone wearing a hat with the brim curved to the side would experience some discomfort due to the sides of the brim pressing down due to the curving, hence it's more comfortable to wear the brims flat. (This from my own experimentation). At some point, the guys wearing their hats forward adopted the flat approach. (thankfully not all - me a purist)

It is becoming more main stream to an extent, as I've noticed many of my university's baseball team players will wear their brims completely flat.

So from that perspective, it's just a style trend that is gaining more of a mainstream appearance and sending less of a "message."

Of the people who I see off the ball field wearing flat brim hats, and generally off to the side or off to an angle, they do seem to be going for the aforementioned "trendy" style or more a hip hop style.
posted by Atreides at 12:44 PM on February 20, 2010


Very-curved brims means you're from the '90s.

Completely flat means you're one of those guys who says 'dude bro' a lot and likes to scratch himself in public.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:45 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Flat = urban hipster
Super-curved = redneck
Gently-curved = everyone else
posted by rhizome at 12:45 PM on February 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


The flat brim (with stickers, of course) is very young, urban/hip-hop/etc.

That's how the kids in Brooklyn do it.
posted by R. Mutt at 12:45 PM on February 20, 2010


Here are two Yankee pitchers, same age (born Aug/Sept 85), one with curve, one without. What conclusions can we draw?
posted by found missing at 12:46 PM on February 20, 2010


In my opinion, they should only be worn when playing baseball. Or maybe in intense sunlight. But that's it.

I see a lot of young guys in Chicago wear them very flat. In fact, the style seems to be as if it just came off the shelf in the store. They even leave the metallic stickers on them.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 12:47 PM on February 20, 2010


I say curved. I used to curve brims by tying them around a baseball overnight.

Does one style (or the other) send a message?

I’ve heard it said that the flat-brim-with-stickers look is essentially a display of wealth. The idea is you’re so fabulously wealthy and your hat is so unbelievably new that the stickers haven’t even fallen off yet. Obviously that’s not the message that everyone who does it is consciously sending, but I think it makes sense.
posted by Garak at 12:55 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Flat was once something to be teased about, like blue jeans that were "too new" and not yet beat up and honest-looking. Back in those olden days (like, you know, the 1980's) there was an entire art to curving a cap gently without it looking forced... but these days flat is increasing cool in a fake-gangster hip fashion sort of way, sort of like baggy pants or labels hanging off clothing.

Even among some pro ballplayers, there's a flat-brim group: they seem to be the very young guys, who probably also wear many gold chains to the ballpark. A lot of them seem to be from urban California, too, so jump to your own conclusions.

In the Spring 2009 (Volume 17, Number 2, I can't find it online) issue of The Journal of Baseball History and Culture*, the Equipment Manager for the SF Giants talks about the increasing preference in recent years for the flat bill among his young players. Again, Californian.

Among fans, it's a contentious topic.

(Oh, and Joba's hat is flat because CC Sabathia is his hero. Yes, really. A lot of kids wear extra-baggy uniforms because they came into the game worshipping Manny Ramirez. So you can't generalize too too much.)

* Yes, this is a real academic journal. Suck it, football fans.
posted by rokusan at 1:02 PM on February 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


Flat - people who wear conspicuously new clothes
Curved - people who wear conspicuously old clothes
posted by box at 1:04 PM on February 20, 2010 [7 favorites]


The two poles are pretty much the New Era 5950 and the Twins Franchise, with most other caps falling somewhere in the middle. People keep the stickers on their 5950s, while Franchises are sold already worn and faded.

Also, New Era 5950s and similar caps are patterned to be worn flat (or close to flat), while Twins Franchises and similar caps should be worn curved (and are often sold 'pre-curved').
posted by box at 1:08 PM on February 20, 2010


For 'should be worn curved,' please read 'are patterned/sewn/cut to be worn curved.')
posted by box at 1:10 PM on February 20, 2010


re: flat brims: I’ve heard it said that the flat-brim-with-stickers look is essentially a display of wealth. The idea is you’re so fabulously wealthy and your hat is so unbelievably new that the stickers haven’t even fallen off yet.

I've actually heard that it means that you've just stolen it, and are therefore tough. But maybe that's something this guy I knew made up, which wouldn't be surprising at all. I just think it looks silly.

I say gently curved. It's what happens naturally when a hat gets broken in. The super curved look was popular with college crowds in the 90s, even then I felt it was trying too hard.

For whatever it's worth, I worked 7 years in professional baseball (albeit the minors, but they were still "real" ball players). All the baseball caps I wear are gently curved, but I don't wear them for style, I wear them to keep the sun out of my eyes while I'm exercising outside or at the beach.
posted by AlisonM at 1:15 PM on February 20, 2010


I’ve heard it said that the flat-brim-with-stickers look is essentially a display of wealth.

Like AllisonM, I've heard that the flat-brim-with-stickers look, and sometimes with price tag still on, has something to do with shoplifting.

Anyway, "The stickers are so popular that New Era's New York retail store keeps on hand extra rolls in every size for customers whose tags may have worn off."
posted by iviken at 1:19 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


No love for the v-shape?

Yeah, yeah, I know, it was lame back when as well....
posted by madajb at 2:12 PM on February 20, 2010


In my Toronto hood, I'd say that homies, hipsters, and homos wear flat brims.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 2:31 PM on February 20, 2010


flat brim on wide or square face=ugh.

Curved is generally more flattering on nearly everybody.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:56 PM on February 20, 2010


I'm still wearing mine pretty tightly curved, because it keeps blowing rain off my glasses.
posted by toodleydoodley at 3:12 PM on February 20, 2010


I'm starting a trend where the brim is curved up, half-pipe style. Trend setta.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 3:16 PM on February 20, 2010 [2 favorites]


"I'm starting a trend where the brim is curved up, half-pipe style. Trend setta."
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:16 PM on February 20 [1 favorite +] [!]

Fresh Prince.

Another advantage of curved brims is that, you can roll the brim, and stuff it in your back pocket, with the sweat band and cap sections hanging out, where they'll dry somewhat, while you're taking your swings at bat with your batting helmet on your sweaty noggin.

Flat brim wearers don't think that far ahead, generally.
posted by paulsc at 3:35 PM on February 20, 2010


Fresh Prince

No No No

Mine is worn curved along the longitudinal axis, so that if you imagine a little skateboarder on it, he's skating from your right eyebrow over to your left. Will Smith's little skateboarder is skating forward and backwards with respect to his forehead.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:04 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


I say curved to your liking. Start out with a gentle curve first. Baseball hats fit better with at least a little curve. Plus you can sit the front higher on your head ( back lower) if you feel the need. I rock the brim back and forth making the curve more pronounced ( squeezing the brim sides together) as I squeeze it. The rocking is important so as not to "break" the inside of the brim. Not too much curve though, thats just wrong.
posted by Taurid at 9:25 PM on February 20, 2010 [1 favorite]


Flat brims make me think of Lou Piniella.
posted by illenion at 8:01 AM on February 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Thanks all. I only have one of these and its brim is very flat... guess I'll try curving it slighly for a better fit and maainstream appearance.
posted by Rash at 2:33 PM on February 21, 2010


No love for the v-shape?

The VERY FIRST baseball cap I ever bought, one of the older kids (trying to be a mentor, I realize now) took it from me and broke the brim. He said it was the way to go, and I gamely went along for a bit before I realized it was lame. (I was like six, in my defense.)

So yeah, gently curved.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:31 PM on February 24, 2010


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