Flat caps vs. Newsboy Caps – What is the difference?

I sell hats.  Over the years, I have gotten to know the styles, the names and the terminology.  It is my profession so it seems second nature to know the names and styles; but after speaking with a friend the other evening who did not know the name of any hat styles except top hats, beanies and baseball caps, I realized that there are probably a lot people who want a specific hat but don’t know the name of the style they are after.

I have already discussed the difference between trilby hats and fedoras in an earlier blog: Language Barriers: Trilby vs. Fedora, but I thought it made sense to clarify the difference between flat caps and newsboy caps as well.

The flat cap is a rounded cap made of many materials, such as cotton, wool or leather which has a stiff brim or peak at the Flat Capsfront, it provides sun protection and helps the hat keep its shape.  They come in a variety of patterns and colors, but traditionally it would have been a solid color or a classic pattern like herringbone or tweed.  The cap is usually sewn together at the back from a few strips of the same material; it is sewn this way to give the top of the hat one uniform piece of material so the pattern appears even.  It is usually finished with a satin or silk lining for comfort and warmth.  The cap can either have a snap at the front of the cap to keep the material from the crown attached to the peak or it can simply be sewn down with a few stitches to keep it in place.

The newsboy cap is made from the same materials and fabrics and has a very similar shape to the flat cap, but it is sewnNewsboy Caps together not from the back but from the top of the hat, (the sewn parts can look like the slices of a pie or pizza).    It may also be referred to as a baker boy hat, an eight panel or a gatsby cap.  It is almost always finished with a button on the top where all the materials come together.  Traditionally, the newsboy will have eight panels sewn together, the reason why it is also named the eight panel hat.  There is a very oversized version of the newsboy cap called the big apple; it is made with the same techniques, just with more material.

I have included two photos made of the same material to show the difference between the two styles.  The flat cap is a narrower style where the newsboy is rounder, wider and fuller.  For someone looking to buy one of these caps, there is no rhyme or reason to suggest one or the other, it comes down to taste.  It is something that you must try on and see which you prefer.  They are very versatile and can be worn with either a suit or with a t-shirt and jeans.

Have a look at our large selection of flat caps and newsboy caps.


Village Hats




13 thoughts on “Flat caps vs. Newsboy Caps – What is the difference?

  1. This was a really interesting and fun look at the description and difference between the two. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you for this. I’ve been trying to find the difference between these two for a while. I love flat caps. Excuse me for asking, but what is the difference between a flat cap and an ivy cap?

  3. Hello Jason, If I sent you an old photo, could you help me determine if the hat is a flat cap or newsboy? I own a small weekly newspaper in rural Kansas, and we are having a fun time as a community identifying the people in some old photos. I thought details about the hat would interest folks. Of course…… I am on a deadline….. It would be good to know by tomorrow, Tuesday, April 8th…… midnight CST — Kansas time : ) would work.

    Thank you…… and of course I’m happy to credit you as my source! Linda

  4. VH. Can you tell me if its proper to wear a fedora and a panama with the brim snapped up. I was in a hatters shop in Sydney last week and he said that he preferred the brim snapped up.

    Regards K

    1. Hello,

      you can wear the Panama with the brim snapped up or down, its which ever style suits you best!

      Please let us know if you need any further assistance.

      Best Regards


  5. Great article but I have a question about the news boy hat. I have a newsboy hat I bought in Chicago back in the 70’s. It is getting worn out because I wear it often now that I’m older. The only difference is the bill on my hat is 4 inch’s long (ball cap) and on the liner which is worn off it said “The Big Apple”. I am looking for this exact hat and cannot find it anywhere. It is 12 inch’s diameter like other “newsboy” hats except for the bill. Do you have knowledge of this hat? I can provide photo’s if necessary.

  6. Thank you so much for the clarification! For years I’ve worn flat caps, but often heard them called newsboy. When trying on actual newsboy hats, I find they look somewhat silly on me. Now, armed with knowledge, I can stroll into my local hattery with confidence. Thanks again!

  7. I probably have 15 newsboy hats. I see them advertised as apple or applejacks, or big apple. You are correct that it all depends on the manufacturer and the amount of material used. I have had limited sucesses buying online because of this. My best luck has been buying them in the store and trying them on to see how they look. In addition the diameter of the hat is important. 10” – 11” works for forme. A 12” becomes a big apple and is too much except for parties.

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