Sunday, May 15, 2016

Bachi, or Flat Sailors Cap

A close relation of the beret is the bachi (or flat sailors cap). 
A sailor cap is a round, flat visorless hat worn by sailors in many of the world's navies. A tally, an inscribed black silk ribbon, is tied around the base which usually bears the name of a ship or a navy.
In the French Navy, it is topped with a puff more commonly called red pompom. It is crossed from right to left with a white cotton lace chin strap which prevents it to fly when the wind blows.
The puff was originally fitted as a soft cushion for the head, in the confined spaces of navy ships.
Many navies (e.g. the German) tie the tally at the rear of the cap and let the two ends hang down to the shoulders as decorative streamers. In the Royal Navy the tally is tied off in a bow over the left ear and in the early 20th century it was customary when going on shore leave to tie a small coin in the bow to make it stand out. In wartime, as a security measure, many navies replace the name of the ship with a generic title (e.g. "HMS" = "His/Her Majesty's Ship" in the Royal Navy or "South African Navy"). The cap may be further embellished with a badge, cockade or other accessory. Visorless caps of this kind began to be worn in the mid 19th century.
The sailor cap was first introduced in 1811 as a part of the uniform in the Russian Navy. It was a development of the peaked cap in application to marine conditions.
United States Navy, Bolivian and Venezuelan sailors wear a unique white canvas hat with an upright brim, often referred to as a "Dixie cup" in reference to its similarity to the shape of a common disposable drinking cup, or a "gob hat" or cap. This hat was also worn by Polish Navy sailors before 1939—it was called "amerykanka" ("American hat") or "nejwihetka" (derived from the English phrase "Navy hat").


  1. American sailors too used to wear a sailor cap like those of the other navies ("à la Donald Duck") till WWI (I think);
    on the hand, italian Navy issued "Dixie Cup" caps as fatigue caps: for sure they were issued during WWII, and continued to be till the '90s; I don't know if they're still distributed now or have been substituted by a stupid, banal, ubiquitous baseball cap...
    with the formal uniform, a normal sailor cap is worn; very similar to the british one, but without the side bow.


    Paolo from Italy

  2. As a lad I wore my father's Dixie Cup sailor's hat (he was in the American navy during WWII). The good thing about it is it can be turned inside-out and it covers the head and ears and the rain runs down and off. I like all the different sailor's hats (except the baseball variety).

  3. The ball cap was the worst headwear! For somebody as tall as I am, it made sighting low overheads difficult and offered no protection from bumps. It didn't work under my Phone Talker Helmet when I was at GQ, even if I turned it backwards. I wore it because it was part of the work uniform, but I didn't like my PO badge pin-back spiking me in the head all the time...

  4. I was in the US Navy at a time when a Ball Cap was replacing the Dixie as part of the work uniform (68-72.) I was not really a fan - for somebody tall like me, the bill of the cap made spotting low overheads difficult and it was useless when I had to wear a Sound Powered Phone Talker Helmet during GQ. I also didn't like getting my forehead spiked with the pin-back of my PO badge every few days...