If you ever want to know the menswear styles the general public is currently thirsting over, just consult TikTok. Similar to the 5-inch inseam short craze that took over the video-sharing app in the summer of 2020, TikTok users are now getting all hot and bothered over men sporting another simple, unpretentious piece of garb: the backwards baseball cap.
In a recent viral trend, users are sharing videos of their boyfriends and husbands in baseball caps backed by the popular TikTok sound called “I like you have a cupcakke,” which is used to share a user’s personal preferences. The format goes like this: words flash across the screen indicating things that a user likes as a child’s voice repeats the words, “I like you, have a cupcake.” Then, abruptly, the sound is interrupted by the rapper Cupcakke’s song “Vagina,” at which point a final phrase appears on the screen, this time indicating the thing the user likes most of all, trumping all else.
In the baseball hat videos, women film their significant others wearing normal, forward-facing caps and then no caps, suggesting that these women enjoy both of those looks on their S.O. As the music shifts to Cupcakke (and the sexually charged lyric “smack my ass like a drum”), though, those same men then appear wearing their caps backwards. The implication here is that this style is the sexiest. And the comment section seems to agree:
“I swear hats on backwards hit differently.”
“Men in backwards hat[s] and beanies are elite.”
“The backwards hat really does something.”
And the trend is not just operating in a thirsty TikTok vacuum. The style has gained IRL attraction as well. When speaking with Victoria Cardenas Hitchcock, a San-Francisco-based personal brand and image maker, about the backwards baseball cap’s current significance, she tells InsideHook her graduate student nephew and his friends have noticed its allure.
“They said that it’s unbelievable how much attention the back of a man will get if they have that baseball hat backwards versus the back of the same man in the same workout clothes without it,” says Hitchcock.
Now, why is such a simple, laid-back and arguably uncouth style inducing such intense sexual desire? Well first we can look at its history, as writer Chris Elvidge did for MR PORTER’s weekly style guide The Journal back in July:
“The backwards cap was first worn on the baseball field by catchers, to keep the brim out of the way of their protective masks. But it caught on as a cultural phenomenon following Mr Sylvester Stallone’s 1987 arm-wrestling movie Over The Top, followed by high-profile baseball star Mr Ken Griffey Jr in the 1990s. It owes its youthful, rebellious connotations to Mr Will Smith in The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, and, through the decade, musicians such as Mr Tupac Shakur, Jay-Z and, ultimately, Limp Bizkit’s Mr Fred Durst,” wrote Elvidge.
To put it plainly, athletes (and baseball players in particular) are hot, and so are edgy bad boys who refuse to conform to society’s baseball hat standards. The backward ballcap’s inherent athleticism and “rebellious connotations,” as Elvidge notes, give the style a level of sex appeal that’s notably higher than its forward-facing counterpart.
“Simply put, a forward-facing ball cap is unassuming and potentially innocent,” says Hitchcock. The backward cap is therefore its antithesis — a brasher, sexier look that bares it all.
Hitchcock also points out that the backwards cap has practical motivations. “It’s more comfortable for men to wear them backwards when they’re being active,” she says. “But I think now, definitely, it’s an attempt to stand out a little bit and it’s pushing the envelope from the norm.”
There’s also the fact that a backwards cap helps emphasize a man’s facial features rather than covering them up: “It’s going to accentuate the lips, the nose, everything,” Hitchcock says. “And it accentuates the neck, so a good haircut with a tight hairline is really nice, especially for those with beards.”
There’s no hiding under a backwards baseball hat (which is admittedly why some men may wear a forwards-facing cap in the first place). “It’s actually a little bit more approachable,” says Hitchcock. Not to mention, waaay easier to make out in.
And like putting your Crocs in Sport Mode, spinning your brim to the back can exude a certain type of energy.
“I think the psychology [of the backwards cap] says to me, ‘I’m going to make something happen. I’m active, I’m moving forward. I am not messing around. Or better yet, I’m ready to go,’” adds Hitchcock.
Clearly the backwards cap has women around the internet raring to go as well. Maybe its appeal is contagious. Or maybe people who fancy you just want to see more of your handsome face. Regardless, the stakes are fairly low here. So the next time you’re out with your favorite baseball cap, give the people what they want, and move that brim to the back.
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