It may be nothing more than a small knitted hat, but the humble beanie has become one of the most divisive accessories in menswear. Some hail it as the woollen cherry on a winter-outfit cake. Others will avoid it like the plague, swearing blind, “they just don’t suit me.”
But that statement is a fallacy. Nobody simply doesn’t suit beanies, they’ve just been wearing the wrong ones. If you know where to look, it’s possible to find a beanie to suit even the most ardent of winter-headwear naysayers.
Step number one: choose the right brand. Almost every menswear label out there is making a beanie of some description, but not all are worthy of your attention or hard-earned money.
To streamline the process, we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite beanie brands, which we believe are making the best options out there right now. From casual classics to purveyors of premium knitwear, these are the key beanie brands every stylish man should know.
Not all beanies are created equal. Some are made from luxurious materials and knitted together by highly experienced hands in factories that have been producing high-grade knitwear for generations. These are a few such labels.
Lock & Co. Hatters
Founded in 1676, London’s Lock & Co. Hatters is the oldest hat shop in the world. It’s also the world’s 34th oldest family business and even holds two Royal warrants. Suffice to say it’s well equipped to provide a quality beanie or two – and that’s exactly what it’s still doing to this day.
All of Lock & Co.’s beanies are either cashmere or cashmere blend and carefully crafted in the UK. Quality, construction and attention to detail are second to none, so when the brand says, “a Lock hat is a hat for life”, we’re inclined to believe them.
Johnston’s of Elgin
Scottish woollen mill Johnston’s of Elgin has been producing high-quality cashmere garments since the 1700s. Today, it’s a fully fledged fashion label that even shows at London Fashion Week. The brand’s selection of cashmere hats includes everything from classic ribbed beanies to bobble hats, all of which are crafted at its traditional woollen mill in Scotland.
Expect a mixture of classic and contemporary styles all made with the absolute finest of materials.
Begg x Co
Born in the Scottish town of Paisley, Begg x Co has been setting the bar for woven goods since the mid-1800s. The label began life making shawls but after relocating to Ayr on the south-west coast of Scotland began to invest in new machinery and expand its offering.
Today, the brand still specialises in scarves and wraps, but also offers a range of Scottish-made cashmere beanies. They come in a range of colours and styles, from subtle and classic to eye-catching and modern, so there’s something to suit every taste.
If all you’re looking for is a simple, versatile beanie that’s well priced without compromising on quality, these are the brands for you.
A Day’s March
Another Scandi brand that knows a thing or two about making a great beanie is premium basics label A Day’s March. Alongside well-made wardrobe staples like overshirts, jeans and classic outerwear, the Swedish brand also offers a selection of minimalist woollen headwear.
There are merino or lambswool options available in a mixture of simple, versatile colours – all made in Portugal. Plus, A Day’s March is a direct-to-consumer brand, meaning to get more bang for your hard-earned buck.
A brand that should need no introduction, Carhartt has been kitting the world out with tough-as-nails workwear for well over a century. The Watch Cap from the brand’s streetwear-inspired Work In Progress line is a staple accessory in European streetwear circles and its versatility is matched only by its quality.
It’s by no means the only beanie Carhartt makes, though. There are plenty of styles to pick from but all share that same characteristic build quality and come in at wallet-friendly price points.
For a brand raised on harsh Scandinavian winters, it should come as no surprise that Danish label Norse Projects is a dab hand at making beanies. Classic cuffed woollen beanies have been a staple of the brand since the very beginning, appearing season after season, year after year in some shape or form. There are options in classic lambswool, merino or cashmere blend, all featuring Norse’s trademark minimalist styling and subtle tab branding to the cuff.
Whether you’re heading into the great outdoors or just looking to work some gorpcore into your wardrobe, these are the brands you should be looking at.
Canadian high-performance outdoor brand Arc’teryx is known for blending highly technical functionality with clean designs and minimalist styling. It’s widely regarded as one of the best producers of performance outerwear but it’s adoption by graffiti artists in New York and London has earned it a reputation in streetwear circles too.
The label’s beanies are popular with alpinists and the like, but are also a staple of the streetwear/techwear scene. Frank Ocean even made fashion-mag headlines when he wore his on the front row of the LV show at Paris Fashion Week in 2019.
A firm favourite of hairy climbers, Japanese vintage enthusiasts and urban hipsters alike, Patagonia is one of the realest outdoor brands around. The label is committed to sustainability and even goes as far as to actively discourage its customers from buying new, offering a comprehensive repair scheme instead.
Beanie-wise, expect simple designs with discreet branding and classic cropped fits. Perfect for cuffing and wearing north of the ears, just like the bestubbled mountaineers of yore.
Filson’s premium take on traditional outdoor garb has made it the go-to label for those looking for durable workwear that looks good too. It started life making severe-weather clothing for people during the Klondike Gold Rush, but today you’re more likely to see it being paraded around the hipster coffee shops of Brooklyn and East London.
As well as rugged outerwear and heavy shirting, the Seattle-based brand also carries a range of accessories, including some of the thickest, warmest beanies you’re likely to find anywhere.