You might not think about it every time you see someone sporting a trucker hat, but this famous headwear has a surprisingly rich history. Once a symbol of working-class America, the trucker hat has been embraced by celebrities and fashionistas alike. Let’s discover how this humble hat has become an iconic fashion statement.
What Is A Trucker Hat?
A trucker hat is a type of cap with a mesh back and a foam front. This makes it more relaxed and more breathable than a knit baseball cap. Trucker hats often feature embroidered logos on the show, with many looking similar to those of the trucking companies that produce them. The hats are also popular among people who like to keep their style simple. In addition, they help protect the wearer from the sun or rain. There are also types of trucker hats that are more whimsical, such as those decorated with images of animals. Many of these hats are produced by online companies.
The Humble Origins of the Trucker Hat
Before the 1970s, truck drivers typically wore a mechanic’s cap that featured the logo of the company they worked for. The trucker hat experienced its first foray into popular fashion in the 1960s, when counterculture groups like the Beatniks, the Diggers, and the Yippies adopted the hat as a symbol of working-class rebellion. It became a popular accessory at rock concerts and on the streets of San Francisco. By the decade’s end, trucker hats had become synonymous with the hippie lifestyle.
The mechanic’s style gave way to the lighter, more breathable five-panel mesh Richardson 112 hat. They became ubiquitous among truckers as free promotional items from truck stop vendors.
How the Trucker Hat Became an American Icon
Throughout the last quarter of the 1900s, trucker hats came to be a symbol of rural, working-class culture. Known somewhat derisively as “rednecks,” these were the small-town folk who kept the country moving throughout the post-war economy. Later, they embraced their “country roots,” and symbols like the trucker hat spread into other industries like farming. Outside of America, the trucker hat took on a nearly stereotypical mythos as the ultimate accessory of all working-class Americans.
How the Trucker Hat Became a Fashion Statement
By the late 90s, the skater and hip-hop subcultures adopted the trucker hat as an alternative fashion statement. When these subcultures exploded in popularity in the early 00s, the humble hat became a Haute accessory. And it’s not hard to see why. The hat has always served as a visual shorthand for status, providing a marker of class and taste. However, in the early 00s, this signifier became much more literal when big-name fashion brands like Versace, Chanel, and Fendi produced trucker hats. The hats’ popularity waned through the 2010s, returning to the truck stops and discount retail shelves of rural America.
The Return of the Trucker Hat
More recently, the 2020s have seen an uptick in popularity once more. Influencers like Kendall Jenner have been sporting old-school Von Dutch brand truckers, lighting a fire for the trend once more. In response, businesses are again buying up Richardson hats in bulk, hoping to cash in. However, whether this trend will be sustainable remains to be seen. For the group of die-hard fans, there will always be a place in the wardrobe for the humble trucker hat.
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