Peaked Cap: Country Trends

Figure 1.--Here we see two American boys in the early 20th cebtury, probanly about 1910. The boys both wear peaked caps, styled slightly differently. Notice that the caps match the suits. They are dressed up, perhaps on their way or just back from Sunday school. They don't seem to be too happy about having their picture taken. Perhaps they object to being so dressed up. The boys also wear ties and knee pants suits with long black stockings. They also wear high-top shoes. Notice each has his pet dog at his side. Perhaps they are cousins or neighbors. They are sitting on the front steps of a house--or perhaps a rudimentary porch. The boys look to be about 9 and 10 years old.

Convnetions and the popularity of the peaked cap varied greatly from country to country. The peak cap first appeared in Britain and from the beginning was strongly associated with schoolwear. The major exception was Cuubbing. The peaked cp was chosen as the style for the Wolf Cub program. Many other countries subsequently used the peaked cap for their Cub program. We note them in America during the late 19th century. They were not as strongly associated with school wear in America and conventions varied over time. They were also worn in Europe, but the popularity varied widely from country. The association with Britain was probabky a fctor. They appear to have been especially popular in the Netherlands. The peaked cap was also widely worn in British Empire countries.


The original baseball players wore peaked caps. We see boys wearing peaked caps in the late 19th century. They were worn both with fancy formal outfits as well as every day outfits. School boys in America wore peaked caps at the turn of the 20th century, although not as part of a uniform. The exception here is boys attending private schools. A good example is Frank Bailey about 1915. They were worn by sports teams as some private school just as in England. Some exclisive private schools did adopt them as a uniform, but not in the bright colors and fancy designs as in England. This may have been one of the original conduits for the style from Bruain to America. Grafually the flat cap replaced the praked cap as the most popular boys' style. Beginning in the 1920s, boys began wearing peaked caps with suits. The caps were made to match the sits. The style had an upperclass look to it in the eyes of most Americans, especially when combined with short pants. We also notice these caps being worn at a summer camp in 1905.


Australian school boys commonly followed British style and wore pdeaked school caps until the 1950s. Cubs wore them until the 1990s.


Private schools in Canada hduniforms with English-style peaked caps until the early 1960's. Some private schools in the UK still have them.


It was in England that peaked caps first appeared. Peaked caps in England are most associated with schoolwear and cubs. There are photographic images from the 1850s suggesting the style appeared even earlier. They were very extendively worn from the 1870s through the 1940s, but began to decline in popularity in the 1950s. Some private schools in the UK still have them, but they are not very common. Boys wearing suits were less likely to wear them as was common in America. They are rarely seen in Britain today.


I have seen images of French boys wearing school caps, I think mostly in the 1900-20 periiod, often with smocks. I am not sure, however, how common it was. French cubs did wear peaked caps.


I do not think peaked caps were ever popular in Germany.


Italian cubs worecpeaked caps.

(The) Netherlands

New Zealand

New Zealand school boys commonly wore caps until the 1950s. Theu are still worn at a few prep schools Cubs also wore them through the 1980s, but I am not sure if they still do.


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Created: 8:17 PM 9/11/2006
Last updated: 8:42 PM 3/14/2013