You might think that a baseball cap is simply a baseball cap. In reality, there are many versions, looks and features to consider. Caps can range in size, fabric, number of panels and types of bills and closures.
One key difference is ready-made vs. custom. Hundreds of suppliers offer many inventoried styles, some fitted and others one size fits all. The benefits include quick fulfillment and plenty of affordable choices, but that is counterweighted by limitations on how the caps can be decorated.
By contrast, creating a cap from scratch can take much longer (eight weeks for samples and production, with up to another month for shipping), but offers a much more robust selection. “Total customization or manufacturing from scratch is the better way to go when using headwear as a promotional tool,” says Mitchell Krakower, president of Topwear International.
What else should you consider? On-trend material, for starters. Cotton is a classic casual choice while polyester performance fabrics are very popular. “Performance fabrics look good, they can be waterproof, easy to care for, fast-drying, breathable, moisture-wicking and sun-proof,” says Krakower.
Patterns and looks with a fashion-forward vibe add even more appeal. SanMar’s “The Style Network 2015 Trends” issue highlights Sporting Luxury – the intersection where fashion meets fitness. Camouflage is key for men, but with an upgrade such as the Sport-Tek CamoHex Cap (STC23). It’s a digital, tone-on- tone pattern rather than straightforward camo. Another trend: Varsity designs. A varsity-style cap, like the NE206 from SanMar with a heathered melton wool crown and cotton twill bill, has an old-school collegiate vibe that’s definitely current for today’s young adults.
The best news: there are year-round opportunities for headwear. Knits and camouflage in the winter, rugged headwear in the fall and performance and colors in the summer.