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Trucker hats are a staple in the agriculture, construction, and transportation industries, though celebrities are spotted fairly regularly sporting the look. Both Victoria and David Beckham, Justin Timberlake, Ashton Kutcher, Pharrell Williams, and many others have donned a trucker hat on more than one occasion.
But what makes the trucker hat such a fashion staple? What is there to love? Four main areas make the trucker hat stand out in the universe of popular headgear: the ventilation, absorption, customization, and versatility are almost unparalleled when compared with other types of hats.
A Brief History
Before we delve into those virtues, let’s begin with a brief history of trucker hats. They have been circulating for more than 50 years across the United States as a promotional item. Feed stores and beverage companies would give away the cheaply made hats and get practically free advertising in return. Agricultural stores and many trades (electricians, plumbers, construction companies, etc.) still give away trucker hats with minimum purchases or as free promotional items.
While truck drivers, construction workers, and agricultural laborers enjoy the trucker hat for its function, the hat’s form has taken the front seat in pop culture in recent years. The trucker hat style was adopted by hip hop and punk culture in the early 2000s. The hat has since broken into mainstream apparel with the wearers enjoying these benefits:
Ventilation is one of the main reasons to wear a trucker hat. Most ball caps have five or six panels of fabric that join up at the top under a cloth-covered button (called a squatchee because #themoreyouknow). In a traditional baseball cap, all of the panels are made of the same material, but in the trucker hat, the panels on the back and side are made of mesh fabric instead of cotton or wool. Some companies even make a trucker hat where all of the panels are made of the mesh fabric for exceptional ventilation.
All of those little holes make the trucker hat one of the best ventilated, coolest hats available on the market. Additionally, the crown of the trucker hat is usually taller than other caps, which creates more airflow and cools down the top of the head more quickly.
Trucker hats are also famous for keeping the sweat out of your eyes. Most baseball caps have a degree of sweat absorption, but none of them wick away moisture like the trucker hat. The front panels are usually made of a lightweight foam that sucks up extra sweat like a sponge, leaving you free and clear to see whatever life throws at you. Paired with a wide brim to keep the sun out of your eyes, the inner sweatband makes for a very functional accessory.
Like I mentioned earlier, trucker hats have a large area in front that is essentially a blank canvas for anything your heart desires. The foam acts as a stiffening agent so that you can have designs of your choice embroidered on the front. It also does well holding patches, pins, and other personalized decorations.
When companies use custom trucker hats to spread their promotional message, they can do it for next to nothing by embroidering or silk-screening in a single color. On the flipside, fashion brands can use colorful embroidery and designs to create a more fashionable or flamboyant accessory.
Trucker hats will probably never be an appropriate part of formal wear or business attire, but they are definitely versatile in other parts of the fashion world. Not only do they come in every color and style under the sun, but they also have that large front panel that is perfect for highlighting your favorite company, band, or cause.
The brims are also highly versatile. Trucker hat brims are usually a little bit bigger than standard ball cap brims because they were originally designed to keep as much sun out of your face as possible. The brims are usually straight or slightly curved, but they can be as curved as the wearer wants. The styling of the brim has varied over the years, from the very curved look in the early 2000s to the very broad and flat look of the late 2010s. As styles have changed, so has the trucker hat in pop culture.
Trucker hats typically have a snapback or hook-and-loop closure system that makes the hat nearly one-size-fits-all. This versatile feature makes it easy to switch hats between wearers. Snapbacks have a near cult-like following, and some hats can be sold for hundreds and even thousands of dollars if rare enough. The trucker hat phenomena has crossed from being a low-cost promotional item into being a customizable accessory from fashion designers.
No matter your reason for wearing a trucker hat, the style is one that continues to prompt either feelings of nostalgia or provide practical reasons for its wear. It is possibly one of the easiest and least expensive ways to promote your brand and get free advertising.