Nobody wears baseball caps in London, and most certainly not indoors.
Sure, a few can be spotted speckled wandering near Westminster Abbey and seen walking up-and-down Regent Street due to being tourism hotspots, but rarely is a baseball cap spotted resting on a local's head. Seeing a local Londoner wear a baseball cap would be equivalent to finding a unicorn aboard a cruise ship. It's easy to find a multitudinous amount of shops selling them, advertising the American dream with each flat-bill and Yankees logo, but rare to spot a person brave (or stupid) enough to don one.
While walking to work recently, I overheard an incredibly stylish man walking past me, with perfectly quaffed hair and a velvet jacket, telling a friend how men who wear ball-caps are fashionably ignorant and have a complete lack of self-awareness. I was wearing one of my favorite baseball caps at the time and couldn't help but feel he was talking about me. At the same time though, I didn't really care because I imagined a scenario in which a moving van or produce truck might come blasting through the rainy intersection and cascade muddy puddle water all over him. Perhaps, at that moment he might be the one who feels fashionably ignorant. I assume he was a fan of poet and The Libertines frontman, Pete Dougherty, who said, "There are fewer more distressing sights than that of an Englishman in a baseball cap." in the song Time for Heroes. The moment passed, and so did he, right into Vogue House.
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Hat-making has been a part of London's history for quite some time. In 1571 it was written into Tudor law that any male over the age of six had to wear a wool cap on Sundays and holidays. Although, it was primarily aimed at spurring on the wool trade. If you were a male and caught cap-less a fine could be imposed on you. How does a country go from imposing fines for hatless heads to making sure no respectable man covers their hair with a ball-cap? Is it to spite the fact that Americans coined the term and invented the form? Is it due to trouble-makers, also known as 'hoodie's, wearing them to disguise their faces? When asking colleagues about why ball-caps aren't condoned, I came across two terms that I hadn't heard before, NEDS and CHAVS. One person mentioned it could be due to the fact that similar to hoodies, many NEDS and CHAVS are known for wearing baseball hats. Being the American I am, I asked what those classifcations meant and was told that NED stands for Non-Educated Delinquent and that CHAV stands for Council Houses and Violence. Typically a NED or CHAV comes from a lower-class, working and blue-collar background. Dressed in rebellion and smelling of alcohol, these individuals are often praised by their peers for their recklessness and risk-taking behaviors, but to those who manage the system, they are looked down upon.
Perhaps, that's why there aren't so many caps in London. Could it be that it's typically younger people who wear ball-caps because by doing so they are giving a metaphorical finger to the system and that it's not accepted because of that stereotype? Why is it that CEOs of major tech companies in San Francisco can come to work dressed in hoodies and ball-caps and be respected by millions, yet when in a city like London, that was once known for embracing hats, now diminishes them to be suitable for society's lowest common denominator?
I wear my hats all the time. Partly, I do it because I simply like them. I enjoy the stitching and unique patches; the colors and often the brands and minds that designed them. I also wear hats to keep warm and hide my unkempt hair. When looking around the office, I never notice another ball-cap. If someone does decide to wear one, it's like experiencing a full solar eclipse. It's captivating and you're almost unsure of what to make of what's happening; whether you're totally in awe or trying to make sure it doesn't ruin your corneas. My boss says it's cool and not to stop. I wonder if he's being nice, but I take it as truth. Who knows, perhaps others might start wearing them as well, if it is indeed, cool.