I experimented with a LOT of hats to write this post. And if I learned one lesson, it’s this: you need to choose a hat shape that works for your face. So yes: this post will be about Daniel Craig style flat caps. Specifically options for his favorite Brunello Cucinelli wool driver’s cap. But I can’t stress this enough: Mr. Craig is one of those lucky individuals with a face shape that seems to work with a variety of hat styles.
I, however, do not have such a face. I wear a size 7 3/8 hat size (59 cm, 23 1/4″, typically pushing the limits of a size Large). And my face is longer and narrower. I also have a pretty high forehead. What all this means is if I stick one of those baggy newsboy numbers (such as the Stetson Hatteras or the Goorin Bros. Ward 7) on my noggin, I look like a mushroom. Not exactly cool.
And it’s for this reason I think we need to discuss some fundamentals of hat design before we get to the alternatives.
Some Flat Cap Design Basics
Styles of Flat Caps
Within the category of Flat caps, we have four main sub-categories. So let’s start with those.
Newsboy Caps: These caps are characterized by their higher volume design and six to eight panel construction. They also tend to have a button on top and a more pronounced brim.
Ivy Caps: The construction of this style features a wide, circular top panel and minimal attachment of the crown to the brim.
Duckbill Caps: Often made from a single piece of material, the main characteristics of this style are its lower volume, more rounded crown and the full attachment of the crown to the dramatically curved brim. Don’t confuse Duckbill caps with Ascot caps. Although they may look similar, Ascots use a stiff construction which allows the cap to retain it’s shape at all times.
Driver’s Caps: Similar in construction to the Ivy cap, Driver’s feature a narrower top panel which gives it a lower volume, more streamlined design. They can also use four or five panels constructions for an even more fitted look.
What I learned about cap construction and fit
I ordered quite a few caps to try out for this article. And I discovered there are subtle design and construction differences that can radically change the way the hat looks on you.
First is the actually style of flat cap. Higher volume, softer styles (like Newsboys) tend to work best for men with a squarer face shape. More angular but still higher volume designs, like Ivy caps and some Drivers, are more suited to a more rounded face shape. Meanwhile, Duckbills and some Driver’s, with a lower profile, more streamlined style and moderate width brim, are best for men with a longer or more angular face shape.
The second important factor is the depth of the crown at the front of the cap. This determines how far down on your head the hat will sit. Some hats with a shallower front depth and higher depth at the back create more of a “wedge” shape when you wear them. I found that Ivy caps with a larger circular panel construction created this look. Meanwhile, caps that used multi-panel constructions tended to have a greater overall depth. And this created a softer, more rounded look.
The third factor is how much of the crown is attached to the brim. Ivy, Newsboy and some Driver’s tend to use a single point of attachment. On the other hand, Duckbills fully attach the crown to the bill.
Great! So how does all that work together to create a good looking cap?
We’re about to enter the realm of “personal experience” here, so be warned!
The flat caps that worked best for me were Driver’s styles and had the following characteristics:
- They used a multi-panel construction and had a deeper front crown.
- The shape in profile was more rounded.
- The crown was secured to the brim with either two snaps or partial stitching. And little to no brim was exposed when I wore it.
I found that caps that used the larger, circular single panel construction and single snap button brim attachments (i.e. Ivy caps) just didn’t fit me as well. When I put them on, the sides of the caps would flare up and out. So I almost got that same “muffin top” effect as I had with the Newsboy cap style. And the front of the crown would lift up, leaving most of the brim exposed. Not the look I was after.
Now, I just want to clarify (again) that this is no fault of the caps. In fact, the two hats I wanted to like the most (that linen Walrus and the cashmere Seifter) are true Ivy cap designs. It was a little disappointing. So if a cap doesn’t work on you, do as I do and blame your head! But if your face shape is a little rounder or squarer than mine? Then I have no doubt you could rock that type of cap construction.
Having said all that, I do feel somewhat lucky that most of the Daniel Craig style flat caps tend to be of a style that does work for me.
Features Wanted for Daniel Craig Style Flat Caps
As I said at the start, I’m going to focus this post on the Brunello Cucinelli wool Driver’s caps of which Mr. Craig seems so fond.
Those sold for around $320 and they’re next to impossible to find now. But the style details we’re looking for include:
- Dark grey or navy blue wool material
- Four panel construction
- The crown is almost completely secured to the brim
- Leather strap adjuster at the back (this is a very rare feature!)
I honestly looked for good alternatives from all the big hat makers: Goorin Bros., Christy’s, Borsalino, Brixton, Bailey, etc. Unfortunately, most of them seem to be focused on Ivy or Newsboy styles. And the Driver’s caps they did have weren’t the right colors or materials. But, as always, I’ll keep looking and update this post with new finds.
Best Options for Daniel Craig Style Flat Caps
Kangol Wool 507 in Dark Flannel or Atlantis: $39.30 to 99.19/€57.86
So it turns out this is the Kangol I should’ve ordered. It definitely has more of Driver’s cap style than the 504 I bought. Like the Cucinelli, it uses a multi-panel construction. And they’ve fully attached the crown to the brim. The fabric is a 75% wool/25% Chlorofibre blend. As for the brand? Well, Kangol has been around forever. Despite a huge rise (and subsequent drop) in popularity about a decade ago, it’s still a well-respected name. I’ve linked to Amazon U.S. above (hence the price range). But those of you on the other side of the Atlantic can find the Dark Flannel on the EU Kangol website. For some reason, I can’t find the Atlantis color there.
This is the same style as my blue Irish linen Winner’s cap, except in wool. And I gotta say, I love the fit. It uses a five panel construction, so the look is very fitted. It also has two snaps attaching the crown to the brim, so very little brim is exposed when I wear it. And bonus points for being made in the USA at a reasonable price. Fabric is 100% Melton wool. Only downside? It only comes in two sizing options: small/medium and large/XL. I went with the large/XL and the fit is spot on for my size 7 3/8, 59 cm head. The first photo above is the Black. The second photo shows the Charcoal Grey we’re recommending.
Stetson Belfast in Blue or Anthracite: $75.99/£59.00 to £61.59
With the Belfast, we get the crown shape we’re looking for. But more of an exposed brim. Stetson’s used a 71% virgin wool/25% cotton/4% cashmere blend material for the cap. The Stetson I bought (the wool/cashmere STW212) really is a beautiful cap, so I feel good about recommending their products.
An option from an Iconic British brand that’s been in business since 1662. The Bass is missing the multi-panel construction of the Cucinelli. But it still has the sleeker shape of the Driver’s cap. Material is wool/cashmere blend. Lock & Co. does ship to the U.S.A. However, you’ll be facing a £20.00 delivery charge. Still, that’s a little over half the price of the Cucinelli. So let’s keep calling it an “affordable alternative”. Plus, they have a Royal Warrant. So you’ll be wearing the same brand as English royalty!
A Quick Note about the importance of hats
There are some “style purists” that say that flat caps are to be worn only in the colder months. Personally, I say to hell with that. For three reasons. First, a flat cap just looks more stylish than a baseball cap. Second, there are plenty of great Driver’s caps out there made from summer weight materials like linen or cotton. For example, check the Kangol 507 Tropic ($25.36 to $64.95/£25.00 to £50.95), the Siggi Driving Cap ($15.99/£14.99) or the VOBOOM Driver Cap ($12.99).
The third reason is a little more personal. I was diagnosed with a mild case of skin cancer a few months ago. And although everything is fine now, it was a wake up call to be sure. From that point forward I didn’t go outside without a good dose of sunscreen on my exposed skin and a hat, something I rarely did before. Gentlemen, do not take the chances I did. The hot and sunny season is coming up. Wear a cool looking hat, plenty of sunscreen and protect yourselves!
Have some suggestions for Daniel Craig Style flat caps? Tell us about them in the comments! And remember to visit our Facebook page, Instagram account and Pinterest Boards for more James Bond style advice and inspiration!