A deerstalker hat has a distinctive look made famous by the renowned British sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. In fact, because deerstalker caps are often associated with him, they are sometimes referred to as a detective hat or Sherlock Holmes cap. However, the proper name for the gumshoe’s style cap that is nearly as unique as him is deerstalker cap. These hats were originally designed for use as protective headwear for use in the great outdoor country—particularly in rural areas where one would participate in such things as hunting or what is also known as “stalking” deer.
No doubt the deerstalker cap has unique features that set it apart from other types of headwear. A front and back bill are quite prominent at first glance. The idea of forward and aft bills for the cap was to shade the face and the neck. In this way, it was to protect the wearer from sun and wind burns. The front bill also keeps the sun out of the eyes so a person can see without a blinding glare and take steady aim at their prey.
Another extremely noticeable feature of deerstalker caps are the ear flaps. The ear flaps hang down from the crown of the cap to protect the ears. They can be tied under the chin for a snug fit in windy conditions or simply left hanging down. When not needed, the ear flaps can be tied up above the dome securely out of the way.
While deerstalker hats are not the most popular, they certainly offer protection and flexibility that is not found in many other hat styles. Being able to use the ear flaps when needed is extremely beneficial to anyone prone to ear problems. Additionally having the ear shields attached to the hat makes them much handier than needing to carry around earmuffs for times when ear protection is needed.
Having the double bills on the deerstalker also is quite handy, particularly for men with short hair and light skin that sunburn easily. A fair haired person can get a sunburn easily even in winter with bright sun and a strong wind. Many men forget to shield their necks so the back flap on a deerstalker hat saves the pain of surprise sunburn. Also, both bills on the cap help protect against skin cancer.
Materials used for today’s deerstalker hats are generally herringbone patterns in cotton or tweed. Other modern improvements include an elastic or adjustable hatband so that “one size fits all”. Most of the hats remain true to their colors in darker shades that are somewhat camouflaged in the woods. However, some of hats are brightly colored for use by modern day hunters as they were designed for years ago.
Don a deerstalker cap, a cape and grab a Calabash styled pipe and you’ve got a quick Halloween costume! Or simply wear the hat to assert your own uniqueness. One thing is for certain: a deerstalker hatis a smart choice for protection. And that, as Sherlock Holmes would state himself, “is elementary my dear Watson…”