From movies to music and sport stadiums to the red carpet, it’s safe to say this pop culture staple has made its mark. Hell, the country band Old Dominion even wrote a song about it. The snapback is a classic and versatile accessory that can compliment almost any look. Almost. Despite its unassuming vibe, there are some dos and don’ts for styling a snapback (we’ll get to that).
But in order to really rock your snapback, it’s important to know how it got here. So grab your popcorn, because this one isn’t just for the history nerds.
Snapbacks: An Origin Story
The Birth of an Icon
It might come as a shock, but the 1800s brought us more than the Civil War, prairie dresses, and Yellowstone spin-offs.
Imagine, for a moment, you’re a player in the newly emerging sport of baseball. Only problem is that swinging a bat and keeping that straw hat on your head just doesn’t work. So, in 1860 the Brooklyn Excelsiors borrowed a trend that had really only been sported by horse racing jockeys up until that point: a snug-fitting cap with a front-only brim.
What a concept.
From Field to Streets (And Everywhere in Between)
For a good hundred years the snapback kept its status quo as a sporting hat without venturing much further into the world of fashion. Eventually, though, brands such as New Era and Peck and Snyder (which later became Spalding) began marketing their caps to the general public. Then in 1978, an issue of Sports Magazine featured the New Era cap and opened the door for the snapback to make its way onto the heads of the general public.
Cue the 1980s and Hip Hop music.
When the Hip Hop artists decided to make the snapback part of their signature look, the rest was history. It marked the beginning of a steady rise through the fashion ranks, and the growing popularity was about to come to a head (pun intended).
The Golden Ages
Can you even picture the 90s without the snapback? It’s doubtful. Pretty soon everyone who was anyone was wearing one, forwards, backwards, and even sideways (we can thank Will Smith in the Fresh Prince of Bel Air for that). It seemed that the accessory had found its permanent place in everyday fashion.
And then came the early 2000s.
The Dark Ages
It’s no secret that the early 2000s were a dark day in fashion history. We had excessively layered clothing, lace-up jeans, fedoras, and dresses over pants (*shudder*). But on top of these fashion disasters we saw a decline in the snapback’s popularity, which leads us to question the sanity of basically everyone at that time.
Were the snapback’s glory days over and gone?
A decade into the 2000s, the world realized that it had made a tragic mistake and brought back the snapback with newfound love and fervor. It was a close call, and one that we hope history keeps us from repeating. New brands began to emerge that offered styles for everyone, not just sports fans. Finally the snapback was a closet staple for one and all.
Mastering the Snapback Style
But how does one wear a snapback if they aren’t pitching in the Major Leagues or rapping to a sick beat? Think less giant t-shirt over baggy pants, and more casual, everyday style.
Dressed Up Casual
Pairing a solid, dark-colored snapback with a button-down shirt and some chinos is totally acceptable and totally rad. Are you going for a game of golf later? To a meeting with a high-end client? To the club? Nothing says effortlessly cool and classy quite like this look.
Dressed Down Casual
Throw that snapback on with some jeans and a tattoo shirt and you’re good to go.
The snapback is the perfect accessory for that gym mirror selfie and is sure to get you all the likes. Probably.
With a Hoodie
We totally get why Justin Bieber basically made this look his uniform. Name a better duo. We’ll wait.
If you can coordinate your snapback with your tattoos you know you’ll get extra points from us. And since we’re on the subject, tattoo merch like snapbacks from your fav tattoo clothing brand completes the look.
The biggest issue facing the ladies when it comes to sporting a snapback is–you guessed it–the hair.
- Classic pony, high or low
- Double braids
- Minimal accessories
- Low messy bun
- Beachy waves
- Messy braids
- Straight hair
At the Beach/Pool
Nothing pairs better with your favorite bathing suit than a snapback and some sunnies. Whether you’re lounging at the beach or sipping your favorite beer at the pool party, the snapback will keep that pesky sun out of your eyes and keep you looking cool, no matter how hot it is.
With a Dress
We love a casual, flowy maxi dress with a messy bun and a snapback. It’s cute, but it’s also comfy.
How (Not) to Wear a Snapback
- Sideways. Unless you’re Will Smith.
- With formal clothing
- With a bent brim
- Bold snapback with a bold outfit
- Featuring a sports team you don’t follow
- With the sticker
- With crazy, unkempt hair that hasn’t been brushed since last Tuesday
- At a wedding
- At a funeral
This fashion icon has truly stood the test of time and emerged from history as a champion. The snapback continues to compliment today’s trends and rescue victims of bad hair days everywhere–no wonder we love it so much. With such an endless variety of ways to style a snapback,we’re confident that it’s here to stay.