Somewhere along the line, I decided to fill my cycling cap bills with something other than plastic. I don’t know why. Maybe I ran out of plastic in the studio. Maybe someone special requested a soft bill. I honestly can’t say when it happened, but when it did it was magic. I stumbled right onto the perfect solution: just the right filling, and just the right amount of it, and lots of top-stitching; and right off the bat I had the very best soft bill there was. And yet people are still not sure they want a soft bill.
Because they’re floppy? I’ve got news for you: they’re not. Not mine. Mine don’t crack or warp either, and you can fold and stuff them into your jersey or bag when you’re on the run. They hold up to rain, do not disintegrate, and are stiff enough to hold up to hail and other abuses. And in most cases, you can put them in the washer (and sometimes even in the dryer) and not worry. Year after year they’ll arch happily to mirror your grin. They’re forever. They’re archival. They’re post-modern. They’re the best.
Soft bills of the world unite and take over!
Once upon a time all there was were soft bills. Look at some old (pre-mid 20th century) photographs and you’ll see soft bills. Bills and brims and peaks on hats and caps were filled with slices of heavier textiles and paper. Before baseball caps got that long duck bill on them they looked more like cycling caps, and had soft bills. Plastic changed things. Choosing a hard, plastic filled bill over a soft bill is a vote aligned with modernity, but it’s not necessarily a vote aligned with fashion, durability, or sex appeal. That’s right, I said sex appeal.
Case in point. Look at these nice used caps that were returned to me. They were returned because once the customer got his pink cap with the soft bill, he decided he was never going back. He wanted me to surgically alter the blue cap; make it soft. And while I was at it he wanted a third cap with a soft bill.
Here’s a Flickr collection of photos of soft-billed caps I’ve made. What’s stopping you from choosing a soft billed cap? If you could swap out a plastic bill for a soft bill in your favorite cap, would you do it?
PS. I still make stiff, plastic-filled bills. In fact, it’s still the default …maybe not for long, though.