Thanks, Dad! How Visors Came Back Into Fashion
Once associated with tourist dads or exact change-counting grandmas, visors are being reinvented by a group of designers charmed by their throwback connotations.
Call it growing up. First, you rally against your parents in fits of youthful rebellion. Then years later, your idea of a good time is scoring 500 thread count sheets on sale at Macy’s and you suddenly realize: you are your parents.
The fashion industry has quietly been capitalizing off of this common crisis by selling mom jeans and fanny packs that let us look the part, too.
Since 2016, the dad hat has enjoyed a steady renaissance. Kendall Jenner, a native Angeleno, is often spotted wearing an old-school Yankees cap. The Hadids are fans, too. Even trend-adverse Rihanna wore one designed by a Paris teenager that read, “I came to break hearts.”
Two years later, dad hats have spawned visors. In April, Kim Kardashian sported a Dior-branded headpiece on Instagram, and one season later, the accoutrement graced the runways of Jonathan Simkhai, Chromat, and VFiles.
Perhaps in an effort to silence visor-phobes, designers are ditching stiff polyester and embroidered beer logos to make the style look more grown-up, and less spring break 1988.
Eugenia Kim, who designed the visors seen on Chromat's NYFW runway and has had one in her lineup since 2017, told The Daily Beast that she’s purposefully rebranding the bemoaned accessory.
“I always think of bad visors, dad hats, golf hats,” she said. “But we were selling all of these caps, so it made sense to make a cap without a top.” Kim included visors in her Spring 2018 collection, and says that her bestselling example is a $125 number called “The Vicky.”
“I named it because it sounds like such an ’80s name,” she said, tipping her (crownless) hat to the trend’s throwback beginnings. “It’s kind of millinery, kind of street, kind of designer, kind of pop.”
For those not trying to channel a Miami Vice extra, Kim’s line has “The Lettie,” a riff on her popular “Colette” straw boater. Complete with a ladylike black ribbon, it wouldn’t look out of place dotted into Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte.
"Utopia" was the theme of Jonathan Simkhai's ethereal NYFW presentation, and his vision of an idealized society includes a backless bolero.
“The traditional take is a bit soccer dad,” Simkhai told The Daily Beast. “I like taking the concept and implementing a new approach with wider brims and a heightened whimsical feel.”
Since the brim of Simkhai's deconstructed headpiece is so wide, from the front and profile, it looks like just another hat. This peek-a-boo option could be a great gateway drug for those uninitiated into the trend—as long as you don’t wear it to the movies and block anyone’s view.
One of the most spirited takes on visors came courtesy of Chinese design duo Marrknull, who showed as part of VFiles fashion week extravaganza.
A model walked the runway in an amaranth gown and gloves, toting flowers in one hand and a suited man on her arm. The scene looked bridal—save for a bubblegum pink visor that had a tulle train at the back.
Maybe with time, and a few more strategic Kim Kardashian visor-grams, the look can move past its association with exact-change-counting grandmas and become just as much of an athleisure staple as bicycle shorts.
After all, dad connotations aside, when worn as part of a sporty look, the style represents mobility, movement, and a breezy athleticism—all good things.
“Fashion trends should always emphasize freedom,” Simkhai asserted. “If you want to wear a visor, wear a visor.” And be proud to buy those 500 thread count sheets.