There comes a time in every man’s life when he looks at himself in the mirror and thinks: I need a wool pancake on my head. I don’t know if it’s hormones or some sort of existential crisis that spurs this choice, but I do know that every man I’ve ever loved — every hot celebrity I’ve ever swooned over — has at some point worn a newsboy cap and subsequently ruined my life.
This week, that man was Harry Styles. While attending a show of Jeremy O. Harris’s Slave Play on Broadway, the British pop star and objectively beautiful human wore a floppy blue denim hat to match his enormous, wide-leg jeans, which he bundled underneath a Gucci coat. His appearance may have seemed casual, but Vogue called the look that of an “ultimate rock star.” Like Mick Jagger, Elton John, and Bruce Springsteen before him, Styles really did wear the deflated denim muffin-top hat with swagger — so much that it made us reconsider our stance and maybe even want to wear one, too.
The newsboy cap, also known as a pageboy cap, flat cap, paddy cap, pub cap, or just a plain “peaky,” has a long history of sitting atop men’s heads. If you’ve never seen one in the wild before, it’s essentially a baseball cap made of wool, with an extra-long top that extends to its brim. As the name implies, the style was popular with newspaper boys in Europe and North America in the early-20th century. You can imagine its wearer saying something like, “Piss off, mee-stah!” or “Oy! You me dad!”
Over the years, the newsboy cap has retained its old-timey feel. Actors love it. It’s like the black turtleneck of accessories, giving the wearer a false sense of intellectualism. On a musician, it reads as folky. Harry Styles, for example, looks like he hopped out of a time machine and straight onto the back of a train car. On most average human beings, though, the hat just screams: “Dad.”
Yes, the newsboy cap is many things, but one thing it is not is sexy. Why, why then, do so many sexy men choose to wear them on their heads? It’s not like it’s keeping them warm. Do they want to look like ‘ye olde’ dads? Is that sexy? Take a look at the sexy evidence below to judge for yourself.