Caps off to you! Military Patrol Caps storm the Fashion Scene.

Military designs are consistently found in everyday fashion, it may be in the form of a subtle epellete or a vibrant camouflage pattern, but the designs keep remerging. A centerpiece of military inspired clothing and an item that has been featured and reworked by hundreds of labels and designers for over 65 years, is the Classic Military Patrol Cap.

The patrol cap, although a basic design that generally has a stiff visor and rigid flat top, looks very much like a baseball cap except that it does not hug the curvature of a person’s head. The cap that has made its way onto the fashion scene today is a deviation on the U.S. Army & U.S. Air Force’s Patrol Cap design.

U.S. Army ACU Version & U.S. Air Force ABU Verson

The modern caps above were originally adopted roughly around the Korean War and designated M-1951 Field Caps. The M-1951 Field Cap was a redesign on its predecessor the M-1943 Field Cap, which was adopted during WWII with the U.S. Army’s M-1943 Uniform Set. Below you can see the subtles differences between the two. The major update with the M-1951 version was a longer visor and a darker color.

WWII’s M-1943 Field Cap & The Korean War’s M-1951 Field Cap

The M-1943 Field Cap worn in WWII & the M-1951 Field Cap worn in the Korean War.

During the Korean War it gained its “Patrol Cap” and “Ranger Cap” nicknames, coined by American Soldiers on the Korean Peninsula. After the Korean War the M-1951 Field Cap was replaced by the “Ridgeway Cap” which was a stiffed version of the M-1951 Field Cap, which was made famous by Fidel Castro.

Fidel Castro fashionably sporting the M-1951 Field Cap

There was a gap in the Field Cap’s usage in the American Military due to the Vietnam War where it was replaced by a baseball hot weather type of cap and boonie hats. Like most military designs, it made its way back to the troops through the U.S. Army’s new M81 Battle Dress Uniform, famously known as BDUs. The Cap would go through various camouflage patterns, from Woodland to desert types and then eventually the digitalized Army Combat Uniform pattern in 2004.

Within Fashion, the cap has seen the addition of straps, buttons and snaps added to the design. The attractiveness of the Patrol Cap design is its simplicity. It is not quite a baseball cap, but it is uniquely military in its appearance. Many designers and fashion labels also add their own graphic designs to the caps and this allows a certain amount of customization. The original 1943 design is clearly apparent in these designs below.

The first page on google with “Military Caps” it is clear how popular the caps are.
The Patrol Cap style is even popular amongst celebrities.
Vanessa Hudgens & Halle Berry
The M-1943 Field Cap created in WWII, is a design that has continued to serve the U.S. Military for over 65 years and as you can see in the various patterns it has sparked in the world of fashion, it will continue to be featured not only in military uniforms but on the runway.
This is an excellent cap to add a bit of military chic to any outfit. Original M-1943s and M-1951 Field Caps are hard to find, but not impossible. The camoflauge verison of the cap can be easily found in any local army navy surplus store or online. Below I have listed some reproduction houses for the original M-1943s.
M-1943 Field Caps
The military field cap served in every major conflict the U.S. Military has been involved in since WWII, and it continues to equip the fashionabily inclined on their daily missions.
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3 Responses to Caps off to you! Military Patrol Caps storm the Fashion Scene.

  1. A timeless cap design with a longer history than I’d thought. Its contours proclaim “military” without being so blatant as to demand a salute, which is oddly a different response than one gets from berets. I wonder why the beret’s history and adoption has been so different in the anglophone world, and how it became a “dandy artiste” or eccentric’s accessory in that context…part of the disdain for Latinate culture that is entrenched in US history after centuries of colonial conflict between Spain, France, and England?

  2. Pingback: The Why behind the What, the not quite ready for primetime blog reflection | QM Fashion

  3. Lucas says:

    Yes! Finally something about army clothing sales.

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