Being a big fan of the flat cap, I wanted the option to wear them during the summer as well.
This is hard for me on two fronts. First of all, most flat caps come in heavier fabrics, such as Harris Tweed, which are too hot for the summer. Secondly, they are not large enough for me. Thus, I had only one real choice and that was to go custom.
Being familiar with getting my suits custom made, this ended up being just as enjoyable a process, as you get to make all the design choices while getting the exact size you need.
During the course of this article we shall look at some summer flat cap looks and then dive into the design process.
Summer Flat Cap Looks
All the fabrics that I selected were light and I had them all lined with cotton rather than silk. This made them more breathable and much lighter for warm summer days.
Summer Flat Cap Custom Design Process
Selecting Fabrics Ideal In The Heat
The Benson & Clegg showroom has thousands of fabric swatches to choose from. I selected several from Holland & Sherry, as well as some Italian fabric mills too. As these were summer flat caps I wanted light and breathable fabrics, thus I selected:
Why Summer Weight?
For the obvious reason of reducing the warmth / heat retention of winter fabrics.
I have about a dozen winter flat caps that are mostly in Harris Tweed. In the picture below you can see the sheer visual difference in the thickness / weight of the fabrics.
XXL & XXXL Flat Cap Sizes – No Problem
The weight of the fabric even impacted the resulting size of the cap itself. So I opt for 65cm for winter weights, and 64cm size for these summer ones.
If any of you have large heads like me, you know that XXL hats normally come in at around 62 to 63cm, and I’ve never seen XXXL hats being offered “off the rack.” Thus, another reason / need for me to go custom over the obvious benefit of choosing your exact desired design and fabrics.
Choosing Liberty Print Cotton Linings
If you’ve never been, I highly recommend a visit to Liberty Of London Fabric Department.
The building is first off amazing, it’s curated collections are second to none, and the crown jewels are the world famous Liberty floral prints.
What’s more, it’s only a short 5 to 10 minute walk from the Benson & Clegg shop, that takes you through Burlington Arcade, past Savile Row, up Regent Street and finally a short walk along Carnaby Street. This is truly a magical part of London, one of the greatest cities on Earth.
I selected several floral prints all in cotton that, as you can see above, complemented the outer fabric sections very well.
Design: Peak & Silhouette Options
As one would expect there were a large number of peak options and overall silhouettes to choose from. There were about 10 design options in total I believe.
I chose the one with the longest peak to cover my face and glasses when it’s sunny out (or if it’s raining during a London summer, as it often does). Also the sleekest body design, and I’ve never been a fan of the large “slouchy” newspaper boy style, which only looks worse on my XXXL dome.
The Finished Article(s)
All told I ordered eight hats. From start to finish I waited about 4 – 5 weeks, and the hats were shipped directly to me from London to Philadelphia where I currently live.
After spending a full spring and summer with the hats from locations as diverse as Chile, New York, and London, I can truly say they were perfect for my needs.
The lighter fabrics and cotton lining made them extremely comfortable to wear even as temperatures approached 100f.
I’ll be keeping my eye out for some more interesting fabrics in the future to have some more made.
[At a Polo match in Santiago, Chile, framed by the Andes Mountains in the background]