How to Wear Mesh Hats

By Jill Gardiner , last updated December 1, 2011

For those who need their headwear to be as ironic as it is trendy, knowing how to wear mesh hats is a necessary style skill. Also affectionately known as a “trucker hat,” this humble headwear has been the source of much contention in both the fashion world and in Hollywood. Mega-stars Ashton Kucher and Justin Timberlake have famously feuded over who initiated the trend, while fashionistas around the world have lamented it being a trend at all. Although the mesh trucker hat certainly has its detractors, it also has its diehard fans that cannot resist the humor and personality this formerly utilitarian, now elevated cap can bring to an outfit. Here is everything you ever wanted to know about the mesh trucker hat, including how and when to wear it.

History

Regardless of what Messieurs Kucher and Timberlake claim, the origin of the trucker hat trend is most likely the classic combination of ironic young hipsters and their favorite source for fashion, the thrift store. Once exclusively the hat of farmers, truckers, and other hard-working folks, these utilitarian and primarily promotional caps (also called “gimmes” by their original wearers) were plucked from thrift store racks for a buck or two and worn with an ironic wink by the youth culture. As they gained in popularity, designers such as Ed Hardy began to offer high-end versions. Original vintage hats still retain a certain hip cachet, however, as do custom-made hats like the ones made popular by comedian and actor Judah Friedlander on the hit television show 30 Rock.

For Work

Surprised to hear you can wear it to work? Of course you can, as long as your place of employment isn’t actually indoors. While the mesh trucker hat certainly has no place in an office, its design is totally functional for hard or hot work: the baseball cap-like brim keeps the sun out of your eyes while the mesh backing allows heat to escape and helps keep you cool. Skip the designer hats when you’re out in the elements and opt instead for a vintage or custom mesh hat instead.

For Evening

Want to take an uptown outfit and make it appropriate for downtown? Short of wearing a mesh trucker hat with black-tie formalwear, you can use this fun and funky hat to take virtually any ensemble down a notch for an evening of drinks or hanging out with friends. Ladies can try pairing a designer version with a sequined mini, tee, boyfriend blazer, and heels for a whimsical look, while men can use one to add a trendy pop to a semi-casual button-front shirt, blazer, and jeans. Use your common sense for when this hat is just too casual; nicer restaurants and similar establishments, for instance, may not allow them.

For Weekend

You can wear any one of the three styles of mesh trucker hat with virtually any casual weekend outfit, from your favorite tee and pair of jeans for both sexes to a pair of chinos and a casual cardigan for men or a cute skirt, graphic tee, and fun jacket for women. Again, common sense is of the essence when deciding when this trendy hat is not an option; business-related gatherings and other events that require a degree of decorum may not be the place to express this particular personal style.

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