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The Wall Street Journal recently published an article that asks if men can wear baseball caps without looking like they’re about to shotgun a couple cold ones with the boys before playing K Sigs in the annual Greek dunkball tournament. There are certainly more intellectual and compelling debates the WSJ could be addressing, but I wouldn’t choose to comment on the opinions of some sweaty journalist who thinks they have the hottest take on the trade war with China. I could care less if the U.S. goes bankrupt; what I really want to know is if I can wear a baseball hat with a blazer and still call it business casual.
The article “Can Men Wear a Baseball Cap Without Looking Like a Frat Boy?” gives arguments for both sides of the debate. The side in favor claims that baseball hats are as American as “… Apple Pie, Paul Rudd movies and surreal Super Bowl commercials …,” and I have to agree. Baseball hats serve as canvases for your favorite brands, which supports capitalism, which is American as fuck. Throwing on a baseball hat makes it so you don’t have to wash your hair before going out in public, which means you have more time to lay around and do nothing before you go out, which is also American as fuck. Most baseball hats are even adjustable for when you inevitably add an inch of flab to the circumference of your head after alcoholism and poor dietary decisions catch up with you, which is — undoubtedly — American as fuck.
The truly American value of baseball hats is the only valid point that this article makes when it comes to the perceived maturity level of a man wearing one. The side of the argument against baseball caps is as pretentious as they come. Apparently, it is inappropriate for men with full-time jobs and actual money to wear them. The article suggests trying something more “sophisticated,” like “… a beautifully made fedora with a grosgrain ribbon.” Because apparently if you don’t look good enough to roll with someone like Gene Kelly or Mr. Peanut, then there’s no way you’re a real man. The article even goes so far as to say that you shouldn’t wear “… some old vintage hat,” adding that wearing a dirty ball cap “… is not attractive” if you aren’t 10 years old.
I’ll admit that most fraternity men don their favorite ball caps for a night out of the house at least once per week, but that doesn’t mean that throwing one on automatically turns you into a 20-year-old with a coke problem. And even if you are a 20-year-old with a coke problem, you’ll make a lot more friends wearing a greasy baseball cap than you will wearing a fucking fedora.
As Washington State’s Mike Leach once said in a tweet, “A Man’s relationship with his hat, is a unique thing. I keep them forever.” A baseball hat isn’t meant to be a fashion statement; it’s meant to tell a story about who you are as well as archive your memories. All the stains, holes, burn marks, and faded spots on your hat don’t make you look less grown up or responsible; they serve as proof that you’ve experienced things that have helped build you into a man..