By Jess Beech
The beanie might be considered something of a style staple, but with nearly 2,000 people asking their search engines “how to wear a beanie” each month, it seems we’re in need of some styling assistance.
One of the most practical hats around (it’ll keep you warm, fold-down neatly enough to keep in your pocket, and it won’t blow off your head in unexpected gusts of wind), the humble beanie will more than earn its keep in your closet. A piece as versatile as your best jeans, they can be used to add personality and color to your outfit, as well as make smarter pieces feel more casual. Beanies are relatively inexpensive, too, especially compared to investment accessories like designer bags. Add one to your capsule wardrobe, and you’re guaranteed to max out on cost-per-wear in just a few short weeks.
Thin or chunky knit, bold and bright or chic and muted – most beanie-based dilemmas are down to the wearer. But, according to Katie Eastwood, Stylist Ambassador at Stitch Fix UK, it pays to consider your face shape before investing.
“Longer faces will better suit a cuffed and fitted style, so as not to add more height above the head,” she explains. “While square or round faces will benefit from a ribbed, looser style, that adds some extra volume up top. That being said, never feel like you ‘don’t suit hats’ - the versatility of the beanie in particular means there’s truly something for everyone.”
How to wear a beanie
“As is the case with so many accessories, it’s not just which style you opt for, but also how you choose to wear it, says Katie. “When it comes to the beanie, there are plenty to choose from.” According to Katie, there are four main ways to wear a beanie.
High and mighty
“If it’s a baggy beanie, you can afford to wear it, so it sticks above your head - but make sure the material is thick enough, so it stays put.”
“If your beanie is even longer, then you can wear it in a slouchy way by folding the excess fabric over the back of your head. Follow your hairline so that it hangs neatly.”
“For a classic cuffed style, the most obvious option is to place the hat over your head, so it covers your forehead fully, stopping just above your eyebrows and nicely framing your face. If you like a statement makeup look, a winged liner with a beanie of this style is a great move for really drawing attention to your eyes, too.”
“If you want some of your hair showing at the front, or you don’t want to get makeup on the inside of your hat - position it a couple of centimeters away from your hairline. This look is harder to achieve and depends on the sturdiness of the hat, but it’s super chic, especially if secured with a statement hair clip! You could even opt for a fisherman-style beanie, which sits on top of the head and ends just above the ear - though this particular style isn’t for everyone.”
How to style a beanie
Now you've mastered how to wear a beanie, it’s time to consider the rest of your look.
“What I love about a beanie is that, as well as keeping your head warm, it has the power to finesse and elevate an outfit - especially convenient in the transitional months,” advises Katie. “For a minimalist look, team jeans, a white tee, and a trench coat with a soft grey beanie to add texture. Or, pair your otherwise neutral ensemble with a bright blue or pink ribbed hat for a vibrant splash of color.”
“You can also team an all-black outfit with a black beanie for an effortlessly chic look that is anything but boring. Alternatively, if your style is much more colorful, try colour-matching your beanie with one element of your outfit - whether it’s a baby pink or a forest green - to mesh your outfit together seamlessly. This is where you can have fun with any makeup you might enjoy wearing too. (I’m a big fan of matching my beanie to my lipstick, for example).”
As you might have guessed by now, the real beauty of a beanie is in both its laid-back appeal and its ability to be called on at a moment’s notice. Keep one by the front door (and in your pocket) ready to throw on when the forecast lets you down. Trust us, they’re far lighter than lugging around your best winter coat.
Best beanies to shop - according to our fashion team
H&M Ribbed Knit Hat
& Other Stories Chunky Knitted Beanie Hat
Cos Unisex Cashmere Hat
Zara Ribbed Beanie
& Other Stories Knitted Wool Blend Beanie
Accessorize Chunky Knit Pom-Pom Beanie Hat
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 currently Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC.
She caught the magazine bug during a stint as Fashion Editor of her university newspaper alongside her English degree, and hasn’t looked back since. As for the fashion bug, that came as part and parcel of growing up in the 90s, but the less said about that the better!
Jess’ average day in the office is spent researching the latest fashion trends, chatting to industry tastemakers and scouring the internet to bring you this season’s must-buy pieces - as well as advice on how to wear them. Weekends are equally fashion-focused, and Jess has been known to visit no less than five Zara stores in a single day in search of the perfect occasion dress.
The only thing that comes close to a buzz of finally tracking down that much-coveted dress is the joy of discovering a new beauty wonder product or hero ingredient. 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.
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