A trucker cap or mesh cap is a type of baseball cap. It is also sometimes known as a “gimme [as in ‘give me’] cap” or a “feed cap” because this style of hat originated as a promotional give-away from feed or farming supply companies to farmers, truck drivers, or other rural workers.
The design of a trucker cap is similar to that of a baseball cap, with a slightly curved bill in front, a cap constructed from six almost triangular gores, and a button on top. Instead of being made of cotton fabric like a typical baseball cap, the front section of a trucker hat above the bill is foam, and the rest is plastic mesh for breathability. The foam front of the hat stands up straight and stiff, which makes the trucker hat taller than most baseball caps. There is an adjustable plastic snap closure in
the back to ensure that one size fits most.
The original feed caps bore company logos on the front foam section of the cap, either printed or as a patch sewn on. These companies typically had a rural clientele, such as the local feed store or John Deere tractors. Trucker-style hats can now be found with other pictures, logos, flags, camouflage, or humorous sayings on the front. Trucker hats are still available as promotional items.
In the early 2000s, the trucker hat became a mainstream fashion trend, predominantly among suburban American youth. This came about with a sense of irony due to the hat’s rural or blue collar association and typically older demographic. It has frequently been donned by celebrities; musician Pharrell Williams and actor Ashton Kutcher in particular helped make the hat fashionable. However, in a 2008 interview with Fashion Rocks magazine, singer Justin Timberlake claimed that, while Kutcher has been cited for popularizing the trucker hat, Timberlake had been wearing them since the age of seventeen. The trucker hat trend was lampooned in the King of the Hill episode “Grand Theft Arlen”, in which teenagers confuse Hank Hill by asking where he bought his Strickland Propane cap and questioning its irony.
In recent times, many outlaw country, punk, metal, blues and rock musicians have worn trucker hats on stage and in photographs.