A stylist-approved guide to how to wear a beanie

Here's how to wear a beanie for a cool, everyday look

5 women showcasing different ways to wear a beanie
(Image credit: Getty Images)

One of the most common types of hats on the market, nailing how to wear a beanie can be a little tricky. But regardless of the style of beanie you choose, or whether you have short or long hair, this cosy knitted hat is super versatile.

Beanies are one of the most practical hats you own. Warm, they won't fly off in any sudden gust of wind and they easily slip into a pocket or bag without adding extra bulk or weight. One of the best winter hats you can own, depending on the styles you invest in, they can look cool and casual with your best jeans, or smart and polished teamed with a tailored coat, adding personality and youth to any ensemble - and there is no age limit on embracing them.

With a vast array available on the high street, you can snap up a synthetic fabric beanie for just a few pounds, or splash out on designs that use luxe fabrications such as cashmere or wool blends that promise extra warmth and softness. Available in a rainbow of colours and prints, there are also embellished designs that will add a wow factorto your winter headgear.

How to wear a beanie

While the term beanie is over arching, there a number of iterations of the beanie that fall under this umbrella. We've broken down the main types of beanie, explained when they're most suitable and shown you how to wear a beanie for maximum style points. 

1. How to wear a slouchy beanie

three women in slouchy beanies

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Perfect for a more laid back look, "if you’re looking for a louche, slouchy style," explains Antonia, "it’s important to style it currently. Wear it towards the back of your head so that the excess knit can droop down insouciantly, rather than piling onto your head."

An ageless style, this is ideal for casual outfit ideas for women over 50, expect to pair this style with everything from jackets and jeans to leggings, trainers and an oversized sweatshirt. It's far less formal than more fitted styles and offers a directional, 90s-inspired feel. 

2. How to wear a straight up beanie

three women wearing beanie hats that are straight up

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A straight up beanie essentially means you have quite a tall beanie hat with excess fabric at the top of the hat that sticks up, while the brim will be fitted around your forehead. A straight up beanie has a cool and casual aesthetic and is ideal for smaller and rounder face shapes as the height helps to elongate. Generally straight up beanies are a little stiffer and more structured, as you don't want the excess fabric on this style to slouch. Pair with other casual wintery pieces such as one of the best fleeces for women and a pair of stylish hiking boots to lean into the Gorpcore, feel. 

3. How to wear a pushed back beanie

three women wearing beanies pushed back

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This is a great one for those with a fringe or long hair that want the beanie look but also don't want to hide too much of their hair - perfect after those roots have been freshly done. The hat is pulled to a few centimetres from the hairline, but you may need to wear your beanie over your ears to secure it. This isn't about perfecting your balancing act and your beanie should sit comfortably without you worrying that it will make a break for it at any given moment. If your hair is particularly slippery or fine, this style may not work for you. A little smarter than straight up and full slouchy styles, we would still keep this one generally for more casual weekend get-ups. 

4. How to wear a slightly slouchy beanie

three women wearing a slightly slouchy beanie

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When it comes to how to wear a beanie, the other cuts almost have to be worn as intended, but if you just want to get experimental and try a slightly slouchy beanie, this can be achieved with more fitted styles, and slightly oversized ones. Essentially, you want to pull it on like a full fitted beanie and then have a go at lightly pulling at the fabric and manipulating lightly to give a little excess at the top. Ideally you want a fairly soft and unstructured fabric for this style so that it bags at the back, rather than sticks up. 

The ideal compromise of the fashion forward slouch and a straight up design, if you've only ever worn your beanie in the traditional fashion, then doing a soft slouch with your best straight leg jeans, a tee and a pair of trainers is a strong place to start, as by keeping the rest of your outfit relatively neat, your hat can do the talking. 

5. How to wear a beanie pulled all the way down

three women wearing pulled down beanies

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As the title of this section suggests, this is probably the most traditional way to wear a beanie and one that has been embraced for many a winter capsule wardrobe. This is for more fitted styles, that you can pull on and they sit against your head and hair without excess fabric. This is the most polished of beanies and is the silhouette suggested if you're looking for styles to pair up with your work outfits. Available in all manner of prints and colourways, you will also find embellished designs that are great for giving this look a bit more of an evening spin. It's probably the least complicated way to wear a beanie as it's very much pull on and go, minimum styling effort required. 

As senior fashion & beauty writer Amelia Yeomans explains: "Don't feel as though you have to wear your beanie in any special way for it to look fashion-forward - a pulled down style is simple and understated which is just what a good beanie should be. When you want maximum warmth and practicality, this is the styling trick to go for. I recommend opting for a beanie that is textured - I particularly love ribbed styles - as they will subtly elevate your look without the need for any additional playing around."

6. How to wear a beanie with long hair

three women wearing beanies with long hair

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Long hair is so easy to wear a beanie with, as your hair will naturally balance out the coverage the beanie provides - regardless of whether you go for a slouchy, straight up or a pulled down design, a beanie works well with long hair. The biggest decision you will have to make is whether you want your hair forward or back, tucked behind your ears, or tied into a low pony tail or plait. The benefit of tying up longer hair with a beanie, is that generally you will be wearing your hat in cold or blustery weather so it will keep stray hairs at bay. If you do decide to tie your hair back, you may want to secure your hair tie below the edge of your beanie so that the back of your head looks smooth. 

Alternatively, you could wear your beanie hat further back on your head, this is particularly good for those with long hair and a fringe to contend with, as it gives everything a little bit of space to shine. 

7. How to wear a beanie with short hair

How to wear a beanie with short hair demonstrated by three women in beanies

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As with wearing a beanie with long hair, learning how to wear a beanie with short hair is pretty straight forward. Regardless of the style of beanie you choose there are no set rules, but if your hair is very short, you may wish to pull forward a few strands, or a fringe to help frame your face, or push your beanie back and wear it further back on your head to showcase more hair. Which is just how woman&home deputy fashion editor, Charlie Bell would suggest you wear it: "The key to pulling off a beanie when you have short hair is to make sure you don't hide all the hair. Don't pull the hat right down your forehead, instead let some hair peak out at your forehead and/or at the sides"

Shoulder length hair or above can look great peaking out the bottom of a fitted beanie too, while shorter hair might feel a little more daunting with straight up beanies, but this look will elongate your face.

Does a beanie suit everyone?

Although this hat shape is pretty much universally flattering, there are some factors to consider. when selecting the right beanie for you. Longer faces generally look better in beanies that are more fitted to the head, crafted from ribbed material as these don't add extra height. Square or round faces however, can play with more relaxed styles that add extra height or volume as these help to balance proportions, the fabric here is less important and can be ribbed or knitted. If you've been caught suggesting that you don't suit hats, when it comes to the beanie, you may just not have found your perfect match yet. 

Fashion editor and stylist Antonia Kraskowski has this advice: "When it comes to finding the perfect beanie for a stylish finishing touch to cold weather outfits, there’s plenty of factors to consider. A chunky rib knit will look best on those with a slimmer face but if you have a round or square face, look for finer knits to avoid adding bulk. Similarly, consider the height of your beanie – those with added head space can end up sliding upwards, creating a 90s look. If you have small head, try experimenting with shallower styles that will cup the crown of your head. Once you’ve found your perfect hat, try playing around with the flipped up brim, you may find that adjusting the width helps with the hat staying in place and ultimately looks more flattering – beanies should sit at the top of your forehead, rather than around the brows.

headshot of writer Antonia Kraskowski
Antonia Kraskowski

With over 15 years experience in the fashion industry, freelance fashion editor, Antonia Kraskowski has worked at Conde Nast, across titles including, Glamour, Vogue New Markets and Easy Living. Antonia later went on to serve as the Fashion Editor of Express Newspapers and Magazines for five years before embarking on a freelance career. 

Charlie Bell Headshot
Charlie Bell

As deputy fashion editor at Future plc, Charlie works across multiple women’s magazines including Woman & Home, Woman and Woman's Own, ensuring she has her finger on the pulse. Beginning her career in the magazine industry in 2009, Charlie has written for titles including Stylist, Closer and Dare. With a weakness for a printed midi dress, Charlie is on a mission to shop more sustainably and loves finding new ethical brands and second-hand buys.

Amelia Yeomans headshot
Amelia Yeomans

Amelia is a senior fashion and beauty writer at woman&home with an MA in Magazine Journalism from City University. She covers everything from product reviews and nail art trends to reporting on fashion weeks and the best-dressed celebrities at red-carpet events. 

Jess Beech

Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is a former Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.