This article contains links where we may earn a small commission at no cost to you: Learn more here
The caps in Peaky Blinders are a traditional style, but fans of the show know there are some hidden surprises in them. I’m sure you have wondered while watching the show did they really put razor blades in their hats? Or possibly wanted to know the history of the caps in Peaky Blinders and thought how can you get one for yourself? Well keep on reading and I will answer all your questions.
- Check Out: Womens Peaky Blinders Costumes!
Guide To Hats In Peaky Blinders
In this guide, we will discuss the caps in Peaky Blinders and the history behind them. We will also talk about what gang members hid in their hats, and why that is important.
Peaky Blinder Hats Name
The hats in the popular show Peaky Blinders, are a style of a peaked cap. A peaked cap is a flat cap that has a peak. The particular style of hats most often worn on Peaky Blinders is called a newsboy cap. However, there are a few different terms that are used to refer to these styles of hats.
The newsboy caps in Peaky Blinders may also be referred to as bonnet style caps, Irish flat caps, cabbie caps, Paddy cap, golf cap, and Bakerboy. While there are very many different names for these hats, they are based on a classic Irish style that still prevails in the country even today.
- Related Topic: Tom Shelby Suit Styles
History Of Hats In Peaky Blinders
Image Credit Flickr Creative Commons –Terry Kearney
In the mid-1500’s Queen Elizabeth I knew that she needed to stimulate the wool economy for it to survive. To do this, she mandated that all men over six years old must wear a wool style cap when out in public, save for nobility, and other high-class citizens. If a citizen did not oblige, they would be charged a fine.
This law cemented the wool cap as the hat that defined the working-class citizens. The law only lasted for 26 years, but it became a standard for men’s fashion in the area for much longer. Over three hundred years later, during the time of Peaky Blinders, the wool cap continued to dominate as a fashion choice. So much so, that it became popular with the upper-class citizens as well for their leisure outfits. This is when the sport of golf became well-associated with this style of hat.
By the time that Peaky Blinders takes place, the wool hat had evolved to the 8-panel style we see on the show, which is still popular even today. In the 1920s specifically, the Duke of Windsor was spotted wearing a newsboy cap, which led to a huge upsurge in popularity.
Because of the popularity, this is when we begin to see more luxurious styles of newsboy caps emerge. These hats were no longer simply a functional item for the working class, they were a fashion statement.
How Hats Were Used By Gang Members Like In Peaky Blinders
Unfortunately, while the caps you see in Peaky Blinders are very similar to the ones worn by the real Peaky Blinders gang, as well as similar gangs at the time, in reality, as far as history knows, they did not sew razor blades into their caps.
A razor blade wasn’t a widely available object at the time, that didn’t happen until a decade or two later. Furthermore, it is unlikely that having a razor blade in their cap would have been of much use to them.
The show mentions that the gang is called Peaky Blinders because of the razor blade in their flat cap. In the show, a gang member can headbutt an opponent and blind or injure him with the razor blade sewn into his cap. While the Peaky Blinders were a real gang, this is not where they got their name.
Razor blades were quite the luxury item at the time and not something that was mass-marketed. Sometimes, television is a little more fun than the truth in the historical events that inspire it.
However, the idea of the blade being in a flat cap is based on something outside of the writer’s room at the Peaky Blinders set. There is a John Douglas’ novel called A Walk Down Summer Lane that discusses the razor blades sewn into the flat caps and used as a weapon. For historians studying the subject, they believe this is where the urban legend began.
Materials Used To Make The Hats In Peaky Blinders
As mentioned, the material that is used to make the flat caps in Peaky Blinders is wool. Wool is a traditional Irish material used in much of their clothing and accessories. Sheep of many different breeds roam free-range around the Irish countryside and wool was one of their leading exports for many decades.
Wool is a popular choice in cold, wet climates because it not only keeps you warm, it also is fairly waterproof naturally. Wool is also naturally flame-resistant, so these were great caps for factory workers to wear and still be safe.
Bonus: What Does Peaky Blinders Stand For?
It is not known what the precise origins were for the men in the real Peaky Blinders gang naming themselves that. One thought, however, is that the term blinder was a slang term in Birmingham that roughly equates to the term dapper. While the real-life gang members in archival photos don’t look as stylish as the actors we see on the television, they were likely quite stylish for their class and area at the time.
So, it is possible that the real Peaky Blinder’s name came from the men walking around looking dapper in their flat cap and long coats all the time. While the true meaning may be lost to history, we certainly like this potential version of the story and would like to know more if the evidence ever came up.
While the origins of the Peaky Blinder’s name may not be known, we most certainly know the origins of those popular woolen flat caps made so famous by the show once again. These flat caps have been worn by men for centuries. Because of the influence of this tv show, it seems like they aren’t going to go anywhere anytime soon.
Written by Kerry Wisby – GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Owner & Founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com
Kerry Wisby, a former teacher with a BA in English, is the founder of GatsbyFlapperGirl.com. With a passion for all things 1920s, including The Great Gatsby novel, her website is the ultimate source for Roaring Twenties fashion, history, and party ideas. Read more about Kerry here.