On this weeks “Cap Talk: What’s on your mind” feature we connect with Utah based hat collector Neil Wheeler. Neil goes into detail about his passionate hobby with details about his preferred styles which includes the straw collection by New Era, his opinion on Diamond Era and his opinion about cap collecting in general. Make sure you hit the jump this is a read you won’t want to miss. What’s on your mind? Want to show off your collection – hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Judging by your collection its hard to say what team you cheer for?
Well some teams I support I’m not the biggest fan of their logo and then there’s tons of teams that I love the logo of but I’m not necessarily a fan. The teams I cheer for are the Rockies and Orioles in the MLB, Jazz and former Hornets/current Bobcats/future Hornets in the NBA, Oilers in the NHL, and Titans in the NFL.
You have a good mix of teams – what do you look for in a hat? Is it rarity, colors, team…?
If it’s a defunct team, throwback logo, or rarely used alternate then chances are I love it haha.
Seeing that you have a few vintage pieces can you see yourself getting the 20th anniversary Anaheim Mighty Ducks release?
Yeah definitely! That is such a classic logo, I think all 90′s kids have a soft spot for that one.
What are your thoughts about the Diamond Era feel and fit?
I’m a huge fan they did a great job with those, all of the ones I currently have fit amazingly. There’s a couple more of those that I wouldn’t mind having.
Please share some of your thought with us about the New Era Straw hat collection?
Haha well I think @DamCampo and myself are the biggest supporters of the #StrawFIFTY “movement” and I think it’s really cool to see the headwear that New Era has outside of the usual baseball cap. I like the straw hats, the skull cap like Robert Griffin III wears, the military/soldier hats that they sell mainly overseas. I wouldn’t wear them every day or in every situation but for the times where it would be useful it’s nice to have that option. I wouldn’t want to wear a 59Fifty if I’m doing yardwork for an hour or two but a Straw Fifty might do the trick!
Where do you prefer shopping for your hats?
There’s a Lids thats fairly close to wear I live and they are pretty much the only option in a physical store around Utah that offers more unique hats. I also browse eBay to check for anything I haven’t seen elsewhere and buy from Lids or HatClub online. Unfortunately there are no New Era flagship stores around here but the one that recently opened in North Carolina is pretty close to where I grew up so next time I’m out visiting my folks I will definitely plan on taking a trip down there.
When and how did you get started collecting New Era hats?
So shortly after the Colorado Rockies became a franchise, they got a minor league affiliate in a town not too far away from where I grew up called the Salem Avalanche. That’s when I became a Rockies fan and got my first New Era fitted. I had some buddies in school that were also into sports hats and jerseys and we were reppin’ the Expos before it was cool haha!
What was your first New Era?
It was the Colorado Rockies fitted I mentioned before that I wore nonstop until it basically fell apart!
How many caps do you have?
Including the 30 or so that are still stuck on the other side of the country I have about 70.
What is your go to cap?
That is tough but I’d go with my Hartford Whalers hat. One of my favorite logos of all time.
Out of your whole collection which piece is most unique?
Well, my wife ordered me a custom New Era By You hat about a month ago for my birthday and it should be here any time now. All I know about it is that it’s a Las Vegas 51′s so I’m looking forward to seeing what custom colorway she designed it in.
What is your all time favorite New Era release?
I love their Vintage Hockey and Hardwood Classics lines. I wouldn’t mind owning basically every single one of those.
What inspires your selection of cap before leaving the house?
Usually just what shirt, hoodie, or jacket I’m wearing. Special consideration might go out to wearing a particular teams hat that is playing a team I hate and there are many teams that I hate haha.
Do you wear every cap in your collection?
Yeah I couldn’t picture a scenario where I would buy a hat just to look at.
What one piece of advice do you have for fellow cap collectors?
I would echo what I have seen others answer for this question and encourage people to not get caught up in having to have the biggest collection and all that. I know I don’t have the largest collection by far but usually when I see someones collection posted on twitter and even if they only have like five hats there’s almost always at least a few hats in there that I think are awesome and more often than not they have a hat I like that I don’t own either! That’s the cool thing about this hobby, there is no single individual that has them all and there never will be.
Any final words?
Thank you to you guys for showing me like five hats a day that I never knew existed but then desperately want. Thank you to all the cool hat folks I’ve met and chatted with and for sharing your seemingly unlimited wealth of knowledge in the sports, logo, and hat world. Thank you to New Era for doing what you do for so many years!