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When it comes to cold-weather dressing, there’s not much else by way of warm accessories that can beat the cosy beanie. Having said this, sometimes one can’t help but feel, well, just a little bit silly when wearing one. Maybe you’re someone who has always believed hats ‘don’t suit’ you, or perhaps you just need a kick of beanie-wearing confidence. Well – today’s mission is to put an end to any silly feelings by learning how to wear the accessory well. Beanies will not only keep your head nice and snug in colder climes, but can also be the cool finishing touch your outfit needs. Plus, they can easily be taken off and tucked in your pocket when you’re indoors. What’s not to love?

Like so many other Thread favourites, the origin of beanie hats lies in utility clothing. Beanies were worn in the early 1900s by American blue-collar labourers (such as mechanics, welders, and other tradesmen) to keep their head warm and their hair out of their face as they worked. They were then sidelined in favour of baseball caps, which have a brim to block out the sun. From the 50s, beanies (then nicknamed ‘dinks’) were worn by college freshman as a form of hazing and initiation for fraternities. In the 60s and 70s, they were sported by artists, poets and hippies as part of the alternative movement and finally, by the 90s, the beanie ultimately gained its long-awaited style points by becoming popular. 

With their roots in workwear, beanies go hand-in-hand with utility style, and can also give smarter get-ups a more relaxed feel. Just kick-starting your beanie-wearing career? Our stylists advise starting with neutral hues. “If you want maximum versatility, opt for something minimal like navy, grey, or black, as you’ll be able to pair it with everything from sweatpants to a suit,” says Thread stylist Artemis Crowley.

If you’re looking to build an arsenal of beanies, however, go for one or two staple shades and then branch out. “Go for colours like forest green or camel. Bright colours can also work, but be sure to keep the rest of your outfit fairly neutral,” advises Thread stylist Freddie Kemp. “A top tip would be to incorporate colours that are complementary to the beanie in the rest of your look, but in more subtle tones – this way the beanie still stands out, but doesn't look completely separate from the rest of your outfit.”

When it comes to choosing a fabric, as ever we’d advise investing in quality – especially since the material is coming into contact with your face. Cashmere, merino wool, and cotton are all super soft and less likely to itch, while synthetic fabrics tend to bobble and age poorly. Not only are those premium fabrics softer, they’re also excellent insulators and will keep your head warm. 

With colour and fabric dealt with, the make-or-break decision remains: style. Most of this lies in your level of confidence when wearing your chosen beanie, but for those who need a little more guidance, our stylists have some opinions. “If in doubt, stick to something really classic and simple – like a cuffed style. The added benefit is an extra layer of fabric over your ears,” Artemis says. “A fisherman style can also do the trick if you’re looking for something different.” Made cool by hipster culture but originally worn by fisherman who needed to hear their names being called out, the fisherman-style beanie sits on top of the head and ends above the ears – giving off a very cool, effortless vibe that’s hard to argue with. Slouchier styles, like Beckham’s back in the day, are best avoided unless you have longer or curlier hair. 

And finally, when it comes to bobbles – it’s a yes from us, but make sure there’s only one and the style isn’t too over-the-top. A cable-knit style in black would do nicely, for instance. And there you have it – you’ve swerved silliness and maintained the warmth  to endure winter’s worst. Hats off to you.

Words: Ashiana Pradhan
Photography: Andras Hari