While baseball caps date back to the mid-1920s, trucker hats only entered the fold in the late 1960s. They were, as the name implies, a promotional tool for trucking companies, because they were cheap (and easy) to produce and comfortable to wear.
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An Accidental Success
Original to rural communities across the US, trucker hats were first given away by local feed shops, agricultural stores and tractor manufacturers. They teamed up to create the trucker hat, a style that cost next to nothing to make. The soft foam front, mesh back and screen-printed logos made the hats super-cheap but effective nonetheless. They gave them away as part of inexpensive advertising campaigns. A gimmick at first, the style eventually became one of the most effective promotional products ever made.
This is why when you sift through vintage versions, you'll find plenty of Acme Seed and John Deere caps — aka "Americana memorabilia," Cole McBride, co-owner of Portland vintage shop Kissing Booth, says. "I.e. cigarette companies, sports hats, car companies, local farming hats."
Although the style was initially cheap (and working class), it has since been adopted by fashion circles. It's been famously repurposed by brands like Von Dutch, Billionaire Boys Club and the ilk, and worn by famous faces like Britney Spears, Pharrell Williams and Justin Theroux.
Nowadays, it isn't hard to find a trucker hat sporting your favorite teams' logo, bands' name or a reference to your chosen city. There are plenty of options that nod to the style's roots, too, with logos for breweries, workwear brands and beyond.