Listen: Dad Hats Need to Die

Jay Z once declared that Auto-Tune should die. Now, I am here to announce that dad caps are officially over.

As the Auto-Tune of fashion, the dad cap is something that can be worn anywhere and everywhere whether you’re grabbing a piping hot cup of matcha at Cha Cha Matcha or at a Drake show. Similar to how the Auto-Tune can make every single person’s voice turn into a monotone robot, the dad cap has the same effect to making anyone’s outfits seem effortless thanks to its simplicity and practicality. It’s no secret that everyone – you and I included – have drooled over the dad hat as 2016’s “It” accessory. But now, I’ve had enough of it.

Before I can go on, “dad caps” were just your standard issue baseball hat that was traditionally worn in the field. Created in 1860, the baseball hat was made as an alternative to full brim straw hats, which weren’t as durable as today’s cotton incarnation. Outside the field, not many people bothered to wear the baseball hat as it was only meant to be seen on the sluggers. In the late 1960s, the cap became an advertising tool for customers to promote companies who produced it. Not to mention, the dad hat had a universal appeal as the snap clasps were designed to fit the heads of every single size whether the circumference of the wearer’s head was big or small. From there, who would resist the idea of wearing a hat featuring a team logo for public use? New Era, the manufacturer of baseball hats since 1954, decided to take it to the hilt by distributing them in 1979.

The popularity of the dad hat peaked in the ‘90s when everyone from Spike Lee (who commissioned a custom order to New Era for a red Yankees hat) to Tupac wore it. However, it became associated with dads after they started wearing them. It was no longer cool to wear a dad cap from 2003 until 2015. When Drake wore a cap that said “How’s My Mixtape?” to promote If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late on Instagram, the spark was reignited. Everyone you know from the Bad Gal, Hailey Baldwin, Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and countless other celebrities started wearing it. Even Kanye West, Wiz Kahlifa and Kim Kardashian wore the hat! Then, it became the hottest piece of merch in music history thanks to Beyoncé.

At that point on, every single store from ASOS, Topshop and Barney’s started selling dad caps since spring. Then, the sheer atrocity kicked in when EVERYONE started wearing them this summer. You name it: Instagram “models,” tourists and construction workers. Hell, I’ve even seen the dad cap at tourist shops in Times Square! Must we not ignore that the ever-problematic Donald Trump jumped on the bandwagon to promote his campaign slogan in camouflage, black, white AND red versions of the same darn cap? I shook my head at the sight of seeing cheap reproductions of Kanye’s “I Feel Like Pablo” cap at China-based wholesale e-tailer Ali Express, which currently sells for a mere $9.28. The price of a knockoff compared to the real deal was a huge $30.72 difference.

Apart from the fact that dad caps are common sightings, what I really cannot stand is the fact that there is this whole validity of “coolness” that’s stamped on you the moment you wear it. Considering that we are now in an era where social media creates, perpetuates and influences fashion, there is so much pressure to earn more likes and followers based on what we wear. Frankly, I don’t feel any “cooler” if have the same cap as Rihanna. Instead, I feel like I’m trying to look “cool” rather than actually being “cool.” Any time I want to pull out my dad cap, I stare at it with guilt and contempt.
At this point, it no longer feels special to own a dad cap. Before you raise your phones to post your latest #ootd, please ask yourself if it’s worth ‘gramming it.

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