Boys' Hats: Definitions

Figure 1.--This tin-type portrait of an unidentified American boy wears a rounded-crown hat. Note the brim all around the hat. This was a very popular style for American boys during the 19th century. It is undated, but looks to have been ntaken about 1870.

The hat is a shaped head covering with a crown and brim. Hats were common made with shaped material while more supple material was commonly used for caps. Thus more care was needed for hats while a boy might stuff his cap in a pocket. Some definitions suggest that the hat often or usually had a brim. We are not sure, however, just what kind of hat did not have a brim extending all around the crown. Without a brim or with only a partial brim, we would classify it vas a cap. The term hat and caps are sometimes used interchangably, but there are differences. The essential difference being a cap is a close-fitting head covering resembling a hat, but differing principally because of the absence of a brim or by having a brim that only partially circumvents the crown. These partia brims are called bills, peaks, or visers. Generally speaking, a cap is a more formal garment than a cap. Thus caps came to be more commonly by boys than hats, but in the 19th century, boys very commonly wore hats. It is the brim, however, that differentiates the hat from the cap and other headwear with out any form of brim.


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Created: 7:35 AM 9/2/2010
Last updated: 7:35 AM 9/2/2010