Want to know more about the hats worn in the Peaky Blinders mini series? Like what are the Peaky Blinders hats called and was it really popular back then?
The Peaky Blinders hat is called a flat cap, specifically it is a Newsboy hat or a Shelby hat (since it was the hat Thomas Shelby wore) and yes they were popular in England and around the world for quite some time during that era.
Why Were they Called a Peaky Blinders Hat
Why were they called Peaky Blinders hats? They earned that name because the gang members would put razors into their cap brims and use them as weapons, swinging them at an adversary whenever necessary. Note to self, don’t mess with anyone wearing a Peaky Blinders cap! That was just how they defended their turf back then, they really didn’t expect to start a fashion craze… but they did.
The Thomas Shelby hat, the one he wears in the show is named for obvious reasons! But maybe you have noticed this type of hat is now experiencing a revival. It’s a trend in hats today. Influenced by the wildly popular television series “Peaky Blinders”, all flat caps have become the hat of choice for men from London to New York. A familiar silhouette typified by its round, flat shape and stiff, small brim, it’s worn as an accent to practically any daytime attire. Indeed, Thomas Shelby’s ubiquitous hat rules! Real replicas of them are available today. Buy a Shelby hat here.
Yet long before the Peaky Blinders gang began building their family empire in crime, these Peaky Blinders hats and flat caps were worn by men who just seemed to exude swagger. Dating back to the fourteenth century in England and Ireland, flat caps — also known as Irish caps, Ivy caps and driver caps — were worn by working class men. In a time when a man’s hat was simply part of his daily wardrobe, this sturdy cap devised of wool took on macho appeal as the working man’s everyday hat.
Getting Peaky with it (Peaky Blinders Hats that is)
It’s when the more genteel version of the flat cap, designed in silk or cashmere, became the chosen hat for golfers among the country-club set that it gained the imprimatur of wealth. Now, that deft blend of machismo and elegance has given the contemporary flat cap the rugged charm that is part of its mass appeal. Even without razor blades hidden within them, in Peaky Blinders style, these hats slay the fashion world.
Nevertheless, it is their association with Peaky Blinders that has heightened the allure of these caps. As the thinking goes, wear this cap, adopt its swag. At least, that is the hope. You see, this cap is just part of an overall look that hearkens back to the 1920s, giving both the cap and the style vintage appeal.
Underscoring this premise are the people in the know. Interviewed by the website Clothes on Film, the costume designer for Peaky Blinders, Stephanie Collie, summed up the draw of Peaky Blinders style this way: “It’s all about wearing a good suit with confidence and not being afraid to be individual, to add little touches.” More often than not, the little touches include a hat.
In true Peaky Blinders hat fashion, the newsboy cap is the flat cap of choice today. Designed with a larger crown, it features a button in the center and a slightly longer brim. However, the popularity of the television show has reprised flat caps of all varieties while giving rise to the return of the three-piece suit as well. Unquestionably, this is a men’s fashion era largely defined by this suit and cap.
Thomas Shelby sets the Spotlight for Being Fashionable
To get the look, you need only glance at Thomas Shelby, the personification of the Peaky Blinders style. Virtually a uniform for Shelby, his three-piece suit is the standout example. Never before has tweed been such a dominant force in fashion! At once austere and definitively 1920s, that suit sets the tone for the rest of his attire.
The oversized overcoat with contrasting collar as well as the crisp, white shirt with the round collar — always detachable to ensure the look of a clean shirt despite repeated wearing for a week — are wardrobe staples for Shelby just as they were de rigueur for the well-dressed man of the era. A matching tweed flat cap completes this ensemble. Indeed, that cap is part of what delineates his look.
The transcendent appeal of these Peaky Blinders caps is part of their trendiness today. Photographed at a London party, Ethan Hawke, for instance, was the epitome of a contemporary Shelby. His fitted gray three-piece suit and white shirt, sans tie, were sleek renditions of their 1920s counterparts. Partnered with a herringbone tweed flat cap resembling our Italian-made Stetson STW224 Wool Blend Herringbone Ivy Cap, the entire ensemble had “Peaky Blinders” written all over it.
Famous Flat Caps Worn by Celebrities
Likewise, sharp-eyed fans will recall seeing David Beckham sporting his own newsboy cap in London. A grey herringbone one very much like our Shelby Wool Blend Newsboy Cap from Walrus Hats, Beckham paired it with an overcoat just as Tommy Shelby does. Breathtaking in its bad-boy magnetism, the beginnings of a beard added to this overall look.
Meanwhile, Benicio Del Toro’s tweed flat cap, reminiscent of our 242 DPC Wool Blend Ivy Cap, brought extra flair to the layered look of a plaid shirt, corduroy jacket and trench coat just as Idris Elba did with a similar but darker cap along with a striped shirt and tie, knit vest and overcoat. Striking! That’s the thing about flat caps: Superseding the formalities of fashion, they blend seamlessly with whatever you pair with them.
Interestingly, women have been beguiled by the Peaky Blinders fashion trends as well. With styles that encompass fitted dresses with flowing skirts, fur or fur-collared coats, high-heeled Mary Janes and always a fedora or wide-brimmed hat, the wardrobes of Ada Shelby, Aunt Polly and Grace Burgess are influencing fashion trends now. It’s a take on the 1920s that goes far beyond flappers.
Yet it is among men that this show has had its greatest fashion impact. Picking up where “Mad Men” left off in men’s attire, Peaky Blinders introduces a new era in fashion, one in which the tweed flat cap and three-piece suit reign.
Showing no signs of ending, the Peaky Blinders hat is a true 1920s trend that appears destined to be revitalized in today’s fashion scene, elevating them to the place in classic men’s fashion they well deserve.