As we all know, beanies have been around forever, however, they were not always known as ‘beanies’.
In fact, the term beanie only became popular in the early 20th century and was pretty much a type of hat worn by boys. Men's beanies are still popular today, especially among skiers and snowboarders in winter. There were heaps of crazy names thrown around for this type of headwear, including ‘dinky’, ‘calot’, and ‘skullcap’.
The word beanie originated from American slang ‘head bean’, but no one really knows why. Head bean and beanie, same thing, right? I bet you didn’t know that to ‘bean’ someone means to hit them in the head with the ball when you’re playing baseball. Today, there are all kinds of beanies, including men's and women's beanies worn for warmth and style.
Moving on from the loosely related meanings to the beanie, we all know what this little piece of material is supposed to do – and that’s to keep our poor little heads warm when it’s cold outside!
Types of Beanies
Over the years, they've developed different types of beanies made from different materials. They range from acrylic (a type of synthetic fibre, like wool), all the way to fleece and everything in between. Let’s break down some of the different types, shall we?
First, you have your natural fibres such as wool and cotton. A woollen beanie is great to wear when you're getting cold because it has great insulating properties, as well as having the ability to wick moisture away from your head; ultimately resulting in a warm, dry head. Generally, the woollen beanies are knitted and have that groovy cross pattern throughout. With the traditional knitted beanie, there are always little holes between the fibres, which can't really be avoided but nonetheless, this does not change the effectiveness of the beanie a great deal.
Now if you're chasing something for the ultimate warmth because you get super cold in the summer (which is a little strange because it's generally 4000 degrees here in summer) then what you're looking for is a fleece lined beanie.
Fleece is the material used in most mid layers because it has crazy properties which allow it to retain heat even if it's wet! Apart from that it's great at wicking away moisture from the skin and keeping the hot air trapped within it. So, double this up with a woollen outer shell and you'll be set for the wildest of weather.
Let’s talk briefly about cotton. Although cotton is lightweight and used in almost all types of clothing, it's not that great for anything related to snow sports. The reason behind this is that cotton does not wick away moisture, it soaks it up and will remain there until you properly dry it. I'm sure at Snowcentral all the staff members have told you it's a bad idea to wear cotton shirts under your ski jacket, right? Same goes for beanies.
Moving on from cotton, we get to a synthetic material called acrylic. There are plenty of beanies these days made from acrylic, because it's easy to work with and cheap to manufacture. This material is pretty similar to wool, but obviously loses some of the thermal properties as it's synthetic. Acrylic may still breathe relatively well, but it just doesn’t have the same effectiveness as wool when it comes to keeping your head warm.
However, in saying this, everyone is different and let's face it, who really ever buys a beanie based on the effectiveness of it?? But I mean, if you're chasing a stylish beanie that is also super warm and awesome for the cooler climate, Snowcentral has you sorted. We have something to cater for everyone, from your crazy beanies with pom poms on the top right through to skull caps used for under your helmet. Looking for more utilitarian headgear? See our Helmet Buying Guide for advice.
The real reason people buy beanies these days is because they look cool. I mean, yeah sure they keep your head warm for when you go skiing or boarding; but we have helmets for that. Walking around town you just want to be the coolest cat with the grooviest beanie to outshine all the other people.
If you go hunting around a shopping centre for a beanie I can guarantee that you'll be able to find one in every second store. Retail shops always show off the best trends and beanie fashion is very much in right now, as it has been for years.
The demographic ranges from those cool skater dudes to the common businessman sporting a bit of style with his winter fit. With the different types of beanies going around these days, no matter your style or interests, there will always be something out there that you'd dig. Check out more of Snowcentral's product range here.
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