Ivy Caps vs. Newsboy Caps

Ivy caps and newsboy caps are both a classic style choice, but many discerning fashionistas don’t quite know the difference between the two styles and when to wear them. Much of the confusion about these styles arises because the two are quite similar, but there are some key differences that you should know when shopping for a new flat cap. Here’s the scoop on what makes ivy caps and newsboy caps different and what you should know when you’re trying to decide between the two styles.

What is an Ivy Cap?

Dating back to 14th century England, the ivy cap is a popular type of flat cap that boasts excellent function with minimalist style. Ivy caps are generally made from wool, cotton, leather and other high-quality fabric blends. As their name implies, they feature a flat panel and rounded shape. Most ivy caps attach in the front to a hard brim that both provides protection from the sun and helps the cap keep its shape.

Ivy caps are generally made from solid-colored materials or from classic patterns such as plaids and herringbone. They’re sewn from the back forward and are generally made from two to three strips of fabric. The top of the hat is made from one solid panel of fabric so that it boasts a smooth, seamless appearance. On some ivy caps, a small snap holds the body of the cap down to the brim. Other caps are finished with a small stitch to attach the cap to the brim. Almost all ivy caps are lined in silk or satin for added comfort and warmth.

These popular caps have made appearances everywhere from the golf course to the state house to team uniforms in the Olympics. While they may be hundreds of years old, they remain one the most popular styles in the world.

Also Known As…

As you shop for an ivy cap, you may notice that this popular style goes by other names too. The most popular include flat caps, golf caps, cabbie caps, driving caps, bicycle caps and crook caps.

Because it’s such an old style, you might also notice that there are many variations on the ivy cap that are popular today. The most common riffs on this classic style include Oxford bonnets, Canterbury caps, ascot caps, duckbill hats and Kangol caps.

What is a Newsboy Cap?

Featuring styling similar to the ivy cap, the newsboy cap emerged in the late 19th century and has remained a popular fashion choice on and off since that time. These caps are generally made from wool, cotton, leather and other high-quality fabrics. They are made from fabrics in a variety of solid colors and patterns. Some contemporary newsboy caps feature panels made from different fabrics for an eccentric twist on this classic look.

While newsboy caps boast an appearance similar to ivy caps, one of the chief differences between the two styles lies in construction. The newsboy cap is significantly fuller than a flat cap because it is made from six to eight different panels of fabric. These panels are sewn together from the top of the hat down to the sides. If you look at the cap from the top down, you might notice that these different pieces look somewhat like a sliced pizza. Almost all newsboy caps are finished at the top with a button that conceals the meeting point of the various panels of fabric. They also feature a flat, stiff brim to which the cap snaps or is stitched.

While their name marks them as synonymous with the newsboys of bygone days, these caps have been worn by boys and men of every age. Like ivy caps, they’re popular on the golf course and can be seen in the pages of many contemporary fashion magazines.

Also Known As…

As with ivy caps, newsboy caps are known by several different names. The names that you’re most likely to see as you shop include Gatsby caps, eight-panel caps, baker boy caps, apple hats and pageboy caps.

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Ivy and Newsboy Caps in North America and the U.K.

Ivy caps got their start in Great Britain in the 14th century and then became popular in North America during the 19th century. Ivy caps were worn by men of all classes and were particularly popular in Northern England. The ivy cap made the journey across the Atlantic to America in the late 19th century. In North America, the cap was often worn as part of a school uniform and remained popular among men of all ranks until the 1930s.

While similar in style to ivy caps, newsboy caps don’t have nearly as lengthy a history. They first emerged in Europe and North America in the late 19th century and were particularly popular among young boys at first. In fact, they were worn by many of the young men known as newsies, hence their name. Between 1910 and 1920, newsboy caps became popular with men of all ages and classes. They were widely worn by both industrial tradesmen and by gentlemen of the upper classes who sported them during leisure activities.

Choosing the Right Cap: It’s All About Style

Like many historic styles, both ivy caps and newsboy caps have made a resurgence on the fashion scene in recent years. Deciding which style is best for you is all about finding the look that matches your personal taste preferences. If you like a full look with button decor and playful sensibilities, a newsboy cap is likely the right choice for you. These hats are now available in a wide variety of colors and patterns, but classic solids remain very popular.

If you’re looking for a more understated look or want to emulate pro golfers, the ivy cap is likely the best choice for you. Featuring less fabric than a newsboy cap, they offer a slightly slimmer profile and are great for casual outings and leisure activities. Ivy caps are available in both solids and patterns, but classic prints such as herringbone remain among the most popular fashion choices today.

7 comments

  1. What are some good quality brands for Ivy hats to check out? I want some that are more fitted on the head, not ones that billow out. I am a thin guy so ones that are made in a smaller size would be great.

    1. Hey Derek,

      What you’re looking for is an ivy cap instead of a newsboy cap. I would recommend, Walrus Hats or Stetson, those are the two best in terms of quality and price. Be sure to keep seasonality in mind as well. If you’re planning to wear it in warmer weather for spring or summer, go with a linen, cotton or polyester cap. If you plan on wearing it in the fall and winter when the weather is cooler, go with a wool or felt cap.

      Walrus Hats Flat Caps

      Stetson Flat Caps

      If you have any other questions, feel free to let me know.

  2. I’m looking for a cap like newsboy, but it more round on top. What I mean is like someone smashed it down on top and hangs over some. Example in the movie Rocky when he’s in Russia is wearing one. I’ve got a big head just don’t know exactly what I’m looking for.

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