Nantong Foremost Garments & Accessories Co., Ltd.
Nantong Foremost Garments & Accessories Co., Ltd.

What's the Difference between Hats and Caps!

Nantong Foremost Garments & Accessories Co., Ltd. Updated May. 12,2022

In the English language, there are a lot of interchangeable words and synonyms that can be confusing for someone who isn’t a native English speaker. Take, for example, the difference of cap vs. hat. People tend to interchange the two, but in reality, while a cap is a type of hat, a hat is not necessarily a cap.

What's the difference between a hat vs cap? What are their history about? Today I will solve the mystery for you!

What Is a Hat?

A hat is any round head covering with a shaped crown and a brim. Hats come in a variety of shapes and sizes and serve many purposes.

A hat is also an umbrella term for the headwear in different sizes and crowns. It is used for protection against sunlight and rain, ceremonial purposes, safety, or as an accessory.

When it comes to hats history, hats were a sign of your wealth and an indicator of your social standing. In the Middle Ages, wealthy Christian women wore draped veils and wimples as a sign of modesty as it was believed that revealing your hair in public was a sign of promiscuity.

Pleasant women wore wide hats over skull caps because it was more practical for them to wear while working in the field. Today, while there are still some hats that are used symbolically (e.g. a toga for graduation or a kippah for Jewish religions), many hats are mostly fashion choices rather than symbolic of one’s social standing.


Photo by Ivan Samkov

There’re many types of hats, and let’s look at some common ones:

Bucket hat:

A bucket hat is a hat with a narrow, downward-sloping brim. Often, the hat is made from cotton, denim, polyester and suede.

Straw hat:

A straw hat is a brimmed hat woven out of straw or straw-like materials from different plants, or synthetics. People often use it to protect sun burning, especially when going to beach, fishing and working outside. Some of the most popular straw hats are lifeguard hat, floppy hat and boater hat.

Panama hat: a traditional brimmed straw hat of Ecuadorian origins

Cowboy hat: a high-crowned, wide-brimmed hat, associated with ranch workers

Fedora: a felt hat with an indented crown and wide brim

Bowler hat: a hard felt hat with a rounded crown

Cloche hat: a bell-shaped ladies’ hat that was popular during the early twentieth century.

"What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language."  Miuccia Prada once said. Hats have been around for centuries, never really going out of style since their introduction into the world of fashion.


Photo by Marcelo Chagas

What Is a Cap?

A cap is a form of hat defined by its unshaped crown (meaning it simply follows the shape of the head) and, instead of a brim, you have a visor or bill at the front.

This is the traditional design of a cap, but other variations of hats that fall under cap have the characteristic of an unshaped crown and the lack of a brim. The prominent and distinctive feature of a cap is its peak and visor combination at the front. Today, caps come in a variety of designs, the more popular of which include the trucker cap, the snapback, and the baseball cap.

One of the most common examples is a baseball cap. Generally, it has a six-paneled crown and a short visor at the front. However, there are different types of caps that add variety to the wearer’s style; some have a structured crown, some have an unstructured one, some have a short visor, some have a long one, some might not have a visor or a brim at all.


Photo by Tobi

Given below are some examples of common caps.

Baseball cap: a soft cap with a rounded crown and a stiff peak in front

Trucker hat: a type of baseball cap, with mesh back

Snapback: a hat which is snapped in the back, and can be adjusted to fit

Deerstalker: soft cloth cap with peaks in front and behind, originally worn for hunting

Flat cap (cloth cap): a rounded cap, usually made from wool or tweed, with a small stiff brim in front

"Style is something each of us already has, all we need to do is find it." Diane von Furstenberg once said. Caps, they are popular in casual and informal settings, and are seen in sports and fashion. They are typically designed for warmth, and often incorporate a visor to block sunlight from the eyes, an important item for your daily wearing.

What's the Difference?

Generally speaking, the word "hat" refers to any hat that covers your head, with many styles boasting a brim or visor. A "cap" is a hat that comes in a specific set of styles, with an unshaped crown and (usually) a visor in the front.

Because of the brim and other parts of some hats, a cap is relatively softer compared to most hats. Plenty of hats are used as shade from the sun, but it also serves a purpose as a symbol or ceremonial item. Caps, on the other hand, don’t have brims, and its visor can only block one’s face from the sun.


Photo by Luke Pamer on Unsplash

The biggest cap vs hat difference is the nature of shade components they have. A hat has a circular brim that encircles the crown, while the cap has a visor or a bill at the front and, most times, nothing to protect the neck’s back from the sun. However, this is just a generalization and is not always true because not all caps have a visor, neither all hats have a brim.



Apart from this, other differences lie in crown fit, styles, purpose of wearing, and looks. Although there are many varieties of a brimless hat such as a Cocktail hat, Basket hat, and a Casque hat, even the brimmed hats have ample variety. From the expansively wide-brimmed Picture hat to the drooping brimmed Cloche hat to the hat with balls or the German Bollenhut.

On the other hand, caps have a lower variety when it comes to those with a visor. There is a much wider variety of caps without a visor, for example, the Coonskin cap, Forage Cap, or Icelandic Tail Cap. However, the caps with visors have limited styles and designs.

Below is the table to help you understand their difference:

Cap vs Hat

Comparison Properties



Distinctive Component

Caps generally have a visor;

Hats generally have a brim;


Generally made of softer material, such as cotton, denim, wool

It can be made of harder material such as beaver felt or straw


Relatively more stable because of the snug fit

Relatively less stable because of the loose fit. Most times, added stability is achieved using a chinstrap


Caps can have structured or an unstructured crown

Hats generally have a structured crown; however, there are exceptions, such as a bucket hat.


Usually for sports activities, such as baseball match, running, golf and so on, informal occasion.

Informal occasion and formal occasion; such as beach, fishing, party and so on.


Unstructured caps are easily foldable

Most hats are non-foldable.


To summarize, A cap is basically a brimless type of a hat. Its distinction is seen with the peak and the visor at the front. If you're looking for a formal, authoritative hat that shows distinction, check out the many hats worn over the decades.Anything suggestions,let me know.

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