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Unless you are a jazz legend or Harrison Ford, hats are too much risk, too little reward

The best compromise is a solid black ball cap with no graphic on it

The black ball cap is the safest option
The black ball cap is the safest option

Hats are good for your health, but a style liability. A hat is either going to make your look perilously casual or overly fashion-y. Both are bad

Most guys wear ball caps with some kind of graphic on them. It’s like wearing sandals on your head — you’re trapped all the way at the casual end of the casual-formal style continuum.

Other guys wear fedoras, trilbys, Panamas, and other brimmed hats. These can work for 75-year-old jazz legends and Harrison Ford. For the rest of us, it looks like we’re trying too hard. “You look cool only when you’re not trying to look cool” is a cliché because it’s true.

But don’t take my word for it (do, though), try an image search for “men’s hat styles” or similar, and ask yourself of each photo, “Would this guy look better without the hat on?” For me, the answer is always “yes.”

The best compromise is a solid black ball cap with no graphic on it. It’s as good as a hat can look. Which is to say, you look neither more nor less stylish when you wear one. Solid navy blue and gray can also work, but black looks the best.

Wear it when you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time. If you’re doing something like hiking, don’t worry about any of this. I’ve worn hats while fishing that breach the Geneva Conventions.

Ball caps are one of the few clothing items that aren’t gouge priced when you buy them new. I still get mine at thrift stores at an average price of $3. It’s less gross than it sounds. Just clean before you wear.

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The black ball cap is the safest option
The black ball cap is the safest option

Hats are good for your health, but a style liability. A hat is either going to make your look perilously casual or overly fashion-y. Both are bad

Most guys wear ball caps with some kind of graphic on them. It’s like wearing sandals on your head — you’re trapped all the way at the casual end of the casual-formal style continuum.

Other guys wear fedoras, trilbys, Panamas, and other brimmed hats. These can work for 75-year-old jazz legends and Harrison Ford. For the rest of us, it looks like we’re trying too hard. “You look cool only when you’re not trying to look cool” is a cliché because it’s true.

But don’t take my word for it (do, though), try an image search for “men’s hat styles” or similar, and ask yourself of each photo, “Would this guy look better without the hat on?” For me, the answer is always “yes.”

The best compromise is a solid black ball cap with no graphic on it. It’s as good as a hat can look. Which is to say, you look neither more nor less stylish when you wear one. Solid navy blue and gray can also work, but black looks the best.

Wear it when you’re going to be outside for an extended period of time. If you’re doing something like hiking, don’t worry about any of this. I’ve worn hats while fishing that breach the Geneva Conventions.

Ball caps are one of the few clothing items that aren’t gouge priced when you buy them new. I still get mine at thrift stores at an average price of $3. It’s less gross than it sounds. Just clean before you wear.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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