How to

23 September 2016

Choosing the Ideal Winter Hat

Image Source: themerrythought.com


You probably have a pretty decent, reliable winter coat, a selection of jumpers and fleeces and even a few pairs of gloves to wear in winter, right? Those things are all relatively easy to pick out, you can read about the insulating properties of the fabric, the comfort factor and get something which both keeps you toasty and falls within your price range. Hats, though? Hats are a nightmare.

Look at any hats section in a winter clothing aisle/shop and you'll be met with a menagerie of shapes and sizes. Hat with ears, hats without ears, furry hats, tight hats, loose hats, colourful hats, hats with stripy patterns on them, hats with emblems for sports teams that you don't recognise. By the time you reach the bobble conundrum you've probably already run out of the shop in a fit of tears.

So how the hell do you ever decide? More to the point, how do you make sure it's the right decision? Well, it's actually a fairly straightforward process with a few notable variables. Follow these and deciding on the ideal winter headgear should be as easy and stress free as buying any other article of winter clothing (except mittens, we don't talk about mittens).

Know Your Face

This sounds simple, but it's actually fairly pivotal. Depending on the shape of your head and face, different hats will provide better all-around comfort. Your face could be ovular, round, oblong, heart-shaped or even rectangular. 

Take this into consideration when you're looking for the right hat. If you have a squared jawline, wearing a hat with ears makes more sense, as they come to rest more comfortably on your cheeks than they would if your face was more rounded. If your head is quite wide or narrow, some types of hat might not sit properly at all. If you have a lot of hair, you need to be looking at hats which will either be able to cover your hair or sit over it.

Most importantly, though, it's a good idea to know where you feel the cold the most. Do your ears get especially cold? What about your forehead, or the nape of your neck? A hat is no good if it doesn't insulate the areas where cold causes you the most discomfort.


The Ideal Fabric

As with any other cold weather clothing, fabric is particularly important. While wool is often a safe bet for warmth, the itching factor is even more noticeable when the thing is on your head, rather than anywhere else. Synthetics are, obviously, lighter and better suited to wet weather, but the wind cuts right through them.

That in mind, the general rule tends to be go hybrid or go home. Some more heavy duty hats combine padding with fake fur, but if you want something more lightweight, like a beanie, a hybrid blend is the best option. 


Style and Colour

Putting practicality aside for a moment, you still want to look good, right? There are certain winter hats which serve this purpose and no other, but this website is called Keep Me Warm, so you can understand why I'm not really factoring those in. 

Even with that in mind, though, you can still counterbalance being warm with being on fleek, to some extent. Think about the other clothes you wear, and how a particular style of hat may match with them, but once again take the shape of your face into consideration. Certain styles compliment certain shapes of face better than others.

Colour is a matter is slightly more importance, especially if you're going to be out at night. Being seen at night could save your life, so if this is the case, brighter, more fluorescent shades are always the better buy. If you're not going to be out at night, blacks and other deep shades are better for absorbing and retaining heat.


Types of Hat

Now that's out of the way, it's time to think about exactly what type of winter hat you want. Here's a list of the main types and their benefits and drawbacks: 

Beanie

Image Source: eBay

Pros - Versatile shape, wide variety of fabrics, casual look, can fit under a helmet, endless list of different patterns and designs

Cons - Not particularly thick, unfriendly to voluminous hair, loose ones can easily fall off if you're not careful


Trapper/Aviator

Image Source: surfdome.com

Pros - Keeps your ears warm, keeps your forehead and brow warm, ideal for more extreme cold, suits men and women equally

Cons - Impractical to have to carry around if your head gets too warm, ear flaps move about in the wind, you could end up looking like a hipster


Balaclava

Image Source: abovetheridge.com

Pros - Full facial coverage, works well with a ski helmet or hood, wide variety of fabrics, can easily roll back into a less covering hat

Cons - Breathing into fabric can be unpleasant, can slightly impede your vision, you could end up looking like a criminal


Headband

Image Source: wedze.co.uk

Pros - Ideal if you want to cover your ears, usually made from lightweight materials, can be worn around the neck if your head is getting too warm, works well underneath a helmet

Cons - Leaves the top of your head exposed, not ideal if you're also wearing sunglasses, doesn't dry out quickly, you could end up looking like a character from an 80s ski movie


Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop.