The Unraveled Thread – Beanie

Foto: Hayley Warnham
Wearing any bit of fabric always means carrying a bit of history on your body. Garments reveal many things and The Unraveled Thread will take apart one fashion element at a time to discover the then and now.

Tuque, beanie, bobcap. Different names all describing that woolly bit of fabric covering the heads of masses. Sometimes, when a bit too big, it will resemble the tops of condoms, often times not so discreet brand labels will adorn the hat’s front, back or side – who knows though as the beanie is a simple construction identical all around for all year-round. Many a modern man must think: »How did I ever survive without it!?« It covers unwashed hair, hides dandruff flakes and lets you look oh-so-cool with no effort at all. It’s what urban man needs to survive the scrutinizing, fashion-forward eyes and, oh yeah, the rain and cold, of course.
It’s a truly monumental thing to be carrying on your head. A city in Canada is called La Tuque as voyageurs, upon their arrival, saw a formation of rocks resembling a beanie. Uniforms of medieval universities included beanies that were then still called »bejaunus«. Today college logo covered beanies create school spirit (and profits). The baseball cap, the ultimate all-American accessory, derives from the beanie and offered a cooler more leisurely alternative around the 1940s.
American Apparel calls its design »The Fisherman Beanie«. Norwegian fishermen are known to have worn beanies to keep warm in the whip-lashing winds and drenching rain that enveloped their boats. The versatile beanie is also part of the British blue-collar, working class uniform as a favorable alternative to a brimmed hat, which would only have gotten in the way. For the modern, urbanite for whom everything is a mere phone call or mouse click away rugged, back-to-nature, utilitarian gear like the beanie or the hiker’s backpack makes everyday life a bit more adventurous as if leaving the house in the morning to catch the U-Bahn is an odyssey in itself. Or, you know, maybe it’s just a type of hat covering bed hair of hipsters, skaters and surfers.