Hats and caps have many components. As a layperson, you might not know what each part is called, leave alone knowing the names of different types of headgears. It is very important to understand these components because they form a big part of the decision-making regarding which type of headwear you should choose.
You might need a cap with an unstructured crown so that you can tuck it away in the corner of your travel bag, or you might need a hat with a short brim to avoid lower visibility, or it might only be a fashion choice.
However, whatever might be the reason, knowing about headgear components is essential while picking the right hat for your purpose. One of the most important decisions is Brim vs Bill; however, we should know the difference between the two before choosing one.
The main difference between brim vs bill
Many people confuse a hat and a cap leave alone confusing a brim with a bill. Technically, a hat has a circular shape known as a crown that fits on the wearer’s head and a part that encircles it. This part is known as a brim.
A cap is a type of headwear that has a crown, but unlike the brim, there is only a small visor protruding out at the front. This visor is known as a bill. It doesn’t encircle the crown, just enough material to provide the shade.
Therefore, the most important aspects of the Brim vs Bill debate are their shape and the type of headwear they belong to.
Which is best for sun protection: brim or bill?
If compared in isolation, the brim is a better sun protector because it is present evenly all around the crown, thus protecting the face and front and back of the neck. Whereas, when it comes to the bill, most caps have only the frontal bill, which therefore doesn’t protect the back of the neck. There are some exceptions, such as the deerstalker cap, which has two bills, one at the front and one at the back but such cap constructions are rare.
Another general rule is that bill is most times shorter in length as compared to a brim, and therefore brim provides more protection.
What is a brim?
As mentioned previously, the brim is the horizontal circular part protruding from a hat that encircles the hat’s crown. One of the most common ways of making your hat attractive or distinctive is by styling its brims. There are various ways of doing that.
Some hats, such as a Fedora or a Boonie, have a 7 cm brim on average; however, some have a wider brim for styling purposes. A wider brim might impact visibility and stability; however, then these hats make use of a chinstrap or are worn at an angle and not doing the tasks when visibility compromise is unacceptable.
Some hats such as the Picture hat is considered more affluent when it has a wider brim. However, there are some hats that have very narrow brims, such as Trilbies, which are also known as ‘Stingy Brims,’ just because they have a narrower brim.
Another way of styling a brim is making it turn so all the heads turn towards you. There can be ways of doing that, such as in a bucket hat where it slopes downwards and gives the wearer a relaxed and laid-back look. The brim can also be turned upwards, as in the case of a Breton hat or Bowler Hat. These have the upturned edges that not only make the hats look stylish, they even improve visibility.
At times, the brim is so wide and the crown so shallow that it is hardly visible, as in the case of a Cartwheel hat. However, it is not true that a hat will always have a brim. For example, a Conical Asian hat only has a crown and not a brim.
As brim is an important aspect of creating different hat styles, knowing which brim suits your purpose the most is very crucial. If you are going horseback riding, a wide brim hat is inadvisable; however, if you are going for a formal gathering, then you can wear the fashionable wide-brimmed hats, such as the Picture hat.
What is a bill?
As explained before, the bill is the horizontal part protruding out at the front of caps. Some even call it a visor. There can be many different styles of a bill. The most common type of cap that has a bill is a baseball cap. In a baseball cap, there can be a straight bill or a curved bill. A structured crown supports the straight bill.
At times, the bill might be extremely short and might even get covered by the crown, as in the case of a Flat cap or an Ascot cap. It can be bent slightly downwards in some caps and might be quite stiff such as in a Fiddler Cap.
Each style is a fashion statement, for example, a straight bill baseball cap is worn by rockstars and musicians while a curved bill one gives the wearer a sporty look.
However, as in the case of a hat, not all caps have a bill, such as a Forage cap or a Skull cap. Another exceptional cap is a Deerstalker cap with two bills, one at the front and one at the back.
Brim vs Bill
|Type of Headgear||Hats||Caps|
|Weather-Protection||Protects front and back of the wearer’s neck||Protects only the front-most times.|
|Stability||Makes the headgear relatively less stable. The headgear requires a chinstrap if the brim is too wide||Makes the headgear relatively more stable. There is hardly any need of a chinstrap|
|Types and Styles||Short, Wide, Upturned, Snap Brim, Bent Downward||Short, Wide, Curved, Flat|
|Fashionable Decorations||Wide-brimmed hats are decorated with feathers, trims, flowers, lace, and rims.||Bill is decorated with studs, LED, flashlight, underside color or sandwiching|
What are brimmed hats for?
Brimmed hats are great as a fashion accessory and also provide great sun-protection in very hot places where all-around sun protection is much needed. Brimmed hats are also appropriate for formal wear; for example, Tophat is more suitable for a British Royal wedding than a baseball cap. Further, brimmed hats can be elaborately decorated and worn with evening gowns and dresses. Also, if the hat is made from breathable materials such as straw, they are highly appropriate as beachwear.
What are billed caps for?
Billed caps are great for casual wear. They have a relaxed and laid-back look. Further, they are very appropriate for sports such as Cricket or Baseball because of the stability they provide, and they even provide shade that leads to better visibility during a ball game. Further, straight and flat-billed caps are great for stage performances.
The best-brimmed hat
This is a classic Fedora with a pinched and dented crown, straight stiff brim, and a buckled belt as a headband around the crown. The brim’s edges are stiffened, which provides the hat the necessary stability. The hat is available in many vibrant colors and is suitable for both men and women. It can be worn casually to showcase the wearer’s style.
The best billed caps
A brim and a bill are important components of different kinds of headgears. Brims make the headgear a hat while the bill makes it a cap. At times both offer great sun protection, but at times they are both used for fashion only. If you are going out on a casual outing but on an extremely hot and sunny day, then you should go for a brimmed hat, as it offers all-around neck protection. However, if you are participating in a sporting event, a billed cap is more suitable as it offers shade, visibility, and stability.