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The Thread Guide to: Winter hats

The Thread Guide to: Winter hats

Winter hats are one of those staples that can raise a question or two as to how to wear them well. And yet they're entirely necessary for the next few months, particularly if you believe what your mum says about losing 60 percent of your body heat through your head.

Because we've been asked about hats almost daily since the weather dipped in November (thanks to David S., Loz and David W. in particular for the idea!), Thread's associate stylist Luke McDonald shares some tips and tricks to wearing our favourite hats well. If you're worried about whether these'll work on you, have no fear: all of them are universally flattering, whether your face is long, square, round or oval.

Thread's favourite winter hat 1: Plain ribbed beanie

Why we like it: "Simple: it's the perfect all-round winter hat that you can wear with anything from sweats to suits. These days there's such a fine line between smart and casual, and simple beanies can bridge the gap: they can dress down a tailored overcoat or keep you comfortable in sweatpants on a Sunday morning."

What to look for: "Wool is the best beanie material because it naturally absorbs and releases up to 30 percent of its weight in moisture, which can keep you warm or cool, depending on the weather. Ribbing's important, too, as it gives the hat shape and helps it last longer. Also, go for grey or navy and the beanie will go with everything."

... and avoid: "You want an inch or two to roll from the bottom, but a flop at the back isn't a great look. If the hat flares out too much at the bottom, it probably won't look neat on your head."

 Wear it with: "If it's logo- and bobble-less and in a neutral colour, it goes with anything."

Thread's favourite winter hat 2: Bobble beanie

Why we like it: "It's a bit of fun! The bobble adds character to an outfit and keeps everything casual."  

What to look for: "Most importantly, a well-attached bobble. Anything too floppy's distracting."

... and avoid: "Honestly, go with whatever you like. I've seen great bobble hats from hockey or football teams, which can look great as long as you wear them with casual clothes." 

Wear it with: "Anything casual, from jeans to sweats."

Thread's favourite winter hat 3. Warm baseball cap 

Photographed: Hackett flat cap (£99), Gant ribbed beanie (£20), Hardy Amies cashmere beanie (£60), Paul Smith red cashmere beanie (£55), Oliver Spencer multicolour beanie  (£34), Paul Smith wool baseball hat (£28)

Why we like it: "It's sporty, but still slightly smart. The woolly fabric makes it more sophisticated than your average baseball cap—with more structure than a beanie. It's the perfect winter hat for a sporty guy who wants to look more grown-up. If you love a gilet, you'll probably love this style of hat." 

What to look for: "Navy or black in a quality fabric like flannel, tweed or wool. A leather adjuster strap at the back keeps it smarter, and small air holes keep you from overheating."

... and avoid: "Bright colours and logos make this style too casual. Going simpler means you can wear it with more." 

Wear it with: "Because it's in between sporty and smart, you can wear it with similarly in-between clothes like bomber jackets, gilets and minimal trainers. The smartest you could take it is with a jumper, boots and dark-denim jeans."  

Thread's favourite winter hat 4: Flat cap

Why we like it: "This style is outdoorsy and traditional without being costumey the way, for instance, a fedora is (one of the stylists' least-favourite hats)."

What to look for: "A textured wool—like a check of Donegal tweed—plays up the heritage part and helps the hat stand up well on your head. Navy and dark green are our favourite colours."

... and avoid: "Shiny or flat fabrics can look out of place, and you should avoid shapes that are too puffed up: if it looks like something Michael Jackson would have worn circa 1970, you should probably give it a miss."

Wear it with: "Outdoorsy clothes like Barbour or quilted jackets. Bonus points for texture: think woollen trousers or cable-knit jumpers."