L'ARONDE (The Dove) - 1920s-Pattern French Style Casquette Flat Cap in Cream Wide Herringbone
Here is my faithful reproduction of a vintage 1920s French eight dart flat cap of the same name, the original of which resides in my vintage cap collection.
This cap is made from gorgeous super-wide cream herringbone cotton/rayon fabric from a venerable fabric house in Thailand, with a sturdy hand and soft texture. It's lined with calico cotton. A hand-tied 1920s French ribbon finishes off the sweatband.
The sweatband is fashioned of supple Australian sheepskin leather, and a full leather reinforced visor resides under the fabric. My visors are a particular point of pride with me, as they are bendable to hold whatever shape you prefer but supple enough not to permanently crease. The crown features a NOS (new old stock) vintage snap.
Each handmade cap you buy comes complete with its own unique "Cap Keeper", a custom shaped pillow that can live inside your cap when not being worn so it will stay in perfect form - even when stacked up with other caps or clothing! I use my Cap Keepers when I travel, so every cap I bring in my luggage will stay fresh and ready to wear.
For information on measuring your head, please visit this chart:
Cap dimensions: 10.5" diameter lying flat / Brim length at center: 2 1/4" (I call this brim a "stingy square peak" for its short and angular profile).
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Please contact me before ordering so I can let you know the turnaround time, which can be several weeks, depending on my workload.
I've assembled a large photo folder of stunning and rare vintage fabrics to choose from. Please browse here and you can customize your own cap (just copy and paste this URL into your browser address bar):
A few words about what I make and my philosophy here at The Well-Dressed Head:
For several years now I have been an enthusiast and collector of early men's newsboy, cabbie and golf/sporting caps from the 1910s through the 1930s. It always surprised me that for a fashion item that was SO ubiquitous in its time, so little knowledge of the caps has survived. Heck, so few of the caps themselves have survived!
Their big brothers, fedoras and other forms of felt and straw hat, are much easier to follow across the historical timeline. And though I do love those lids, I'm a guy who tends to go for the underdog. So many caps didn't survive the ravages of moths, hard labor or simply the passage of time. It seems beyond my understanding that headwear so beautiful in design, so flattering to a man's look, would fade into obscurity in favor of the baseball cap.
It was indeed the baseball cap that gradually over took these magnificent designs and became the cloth cap of choice for a majority of men. Even the recent reappearance of flat caps with the hipster crowd have very little to do with their forebears, and at best are mediocre designs aesthetically.
It is therefore my humble mission (along with a small handful of other talented bespoke makers) to reeducate the public about these elegant yet practical pieces of clothing that can complement the vintage or even the most contemporary wardrobe.
The Well Dressed Head will keep a selection of true vintage caps for sale dating from the late 1910's through the 1930's, with occasional later examples when appropriate.
Now, about the caps I build.
There are several elements for me to consider when pricing these caps. I can hardly factor in the time spent in fabrication - some of these caps can take three days to create - so other considerations are important.
I spend a lot of time and money collecting extraordinary fabrics from around the world that have a quality I feel are outstanding and unique, while paying homage to the historical examples in photographs and collections. Many of these antique cloths are in small pieces that may yield only one or two caps, ensuring the product is as unique and bespoke as possible.
Those caps that have leather sweatbands feature only top-quality Australian leathers, and under the 'hood' of the fabric, each visor is hand-cut from Australian leather, with a special compressed stiffening material to give it the ability to bend, yet hold its shape. No plastics are used in my visors.
Certain styles are made with grosgrain ribbon sweatbands, and for these I use NOS (new old stock) ribbon from France dating from the 1910s to the '20s.
Finally, a word about imperfection.
This is a handmade object, lovingly built with special and sometimes rare and delicate materials. There will be slight inconsistencies in the materials, weaves and stitching, These are considered the mark of the hand and intrinsic to the design. I'll leave you with a favorite quote by Charles Eames:
"You wouldn’t say an axe handle has style to it. It has beauty, and an appropriateness of form, and a “this-is-how-it-should-be-ness.” But it has no style because it has no mistakes. Style reflects one’s idiosyncracies."