Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Dior, Kangol: what do all of these…
There are three kinds of people where New Era hats are concerned:
- If I’m going to spend money on a ball cap, it’s going to be a New Era hat.
- I know I’ve seen that logo somewhere before…
- What the heck is a New Era hat?
Even if you fall into the second or third category, the chances are pretty good that you have seen a New Era hat and would probably even recognize it if someone pointed it out to you. Wildly popular, the New Era brand has a long history in the American hats and sports world.
A Brief History
Believe it or not, the New Era Hat Company has been around for a hundred years this year! Ehrhardt Koch started it in Buffalo, New York, with just a few employees and a couple thousand dollars. By keeping up with the current styles, creating a quality product, and aggressively “pitching” their hats to Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, by 1993, New Era hats became the only licensed hat for the MLB. Now, 27 years later, the New Era Hat company has exclusive rights to MLB, NFL, NBA, Australia’s Big Bash League, and the Canadian Football League, in addition to other, smaller deals. It’s safe to say that New Era hats are the alpha male of the headgear world.
What do the different styles numbers mean?
As you’re getting acquainted with the New Era hats, the first thing you’ll notice is the somewhat cryptic code for the different types of hats they offer. Below is a table to help you compare the various cap styles and their characteristic attributes.
|59FIFTY||Fitted||Flat||Yes||Rigid, reinforced panels to help keep the shape|
|9FIFTY||Snapback||Flat||Yes||Rigid, reinforced panels to help keep the shape|
|39THIRTY||Stretchy sweatband||Curved||Yes||Rigid, reinforced panels to help keep the shape|
|9FORTY||Adjustable with buckle or Velcro||Curved||Yes||Rigid, reinforced panels to help keep the shape|
|9TWENTY||Adjustable with buckle or Velcro||Curved||Yes||Soft, non-reinforced|
|29TWENTY||Fitted||Curved||Yes||Soft, non-reinforced||Throwback logos|
|9TWENTY||Fitted||Flat||Yes||Soft, non-reinforced||Throwback logos|
|Trucker||Snapback||Curved||Yes||Form reinforced crown with surrounding mesh panels|
New Era doesn’t only make baseball caps, though that is what they are best known for. They also make bucket hats and knit hats.
- Bucket: These are probably the swankiest bucket hats you’ve ever seen. They come in a variety of styles, colors, and team affiliations. Not only do they come in the traditional cotton, but they also come in corduroy and satin finishes.
- Knit: Your knit hat from New Era is guaranteed to keep your head warm as you support your favorite team, no matter the weather. You can get knit hats with or without pompoms, with or without a cuff, as a skull cap, with a cabled or flat design, and either plain or with team or movie logos. If you get team logos, be sure to look for the league embroidery on the back as well.
What are the trademarks of a New Era hat?
Due to their popularity, it’s becoming more common to run into New Era hat impersonators, so be sure to know what you’re looking for. Keep in mind, though, that the knit and bucket hats may be missing a few of the characteristics that you are guaranteed to find on the official baseball hats.
- Sticker: The metallic sticker on the top or bottom of the visor is probably the most recognizable feature of any New Era hat. Most are gold, though you might find them in silver or other colors that match the hat. Each sticker will show off the New Era logo as well as the hat’s size and style. If it’s a sports team, you might also find a holographic sticker somewhere on the hat.
- Lining Tape: The inside of the ball caps and bucket hats should have characteristic New Era lining tape that sports the logo and style of the cap.
- Tags: Inside of each hat, there should be at least two tags: one that says the hat’s size and one that shows off the New Era logo.
- Embroidery: Each New Era hat should have a crisp New Era logo embroidered somewhere on the hat, and if it is a sports hat, it should also have the league logo embroidered somewhere (usually on the back).
- Official MLB Field Hats: In addition to the other characteristics above, Official MLB field hats should have the New Era logo on the inside pin of the squatchee (the outer, cloth-covered top button), as well as a holographic “authentic” sticker somewhere on the cap.
New Era hats are highly recommended for a reason: they are just great hats! If you used to find yourself in the second or third category mentioned in first paragraph of this blog, hopefully now you can place yourself solidly in the first. If you’re in the market for a high-end ball cap, a New Era hat is an excellent product to wear both day-to-day and for special occasions.