Men’s Winter Hats: The Ultimate Guide to Cold Weather Headwear

by Antonio on January 22, 2013 · 78 comments

in Accessories, Dress & Grooming, Style

skiiers
I remember being told as a kid that it was important to wear a hat in cold weather because 80-90% of your body heat escapes through your head.

As it turns out, this isn’t true — I was fed a load of bull. You don’t in fact lose more heat from your head than other parts of the body. Studies conducted by the US Army cold weather research labs clearly show we lose heat evenly across the surface of the body (with some variation in the neck and head when you start to exercise, although this regulates itself within minutes).

But hats still play an important role in your winter dressing getup. The key to effectively keeping warm is protecting all of your skin. Instead of piling on a sweater, vest, and jacket, but leaving everything bare from the shoulders on up, aim for even coverage from head to toe.

Not only do hats add to your overall comfort in cold temps, and protect your face and ears in freezing conditions, they can also impart a great deal of handsome style to your appearance when you’re out and about.

Hats are available in a variety of styles, and this article is designed to expose you to a wide range of winter headwear options.

Rules for Headgear

hats

Before you pick a style (or several styles — there’s nothing wrong with having a selection of hats in the closet), know what’s going to work for you in different settings and situations.

  • Bright colors like orange and neon green have “safety” associations. They’re worn by the more extreme winter sports participants to make search-and-rescue easier, and in many parts of the country they’re worn by hunters as well. So if you’re not a hunter or a pro snowboarder, think about toning it down a little.
  • Colors that aren’t safety-neon but still have bright, primary tones and shades (reds, blues, etc.) are casual, sporty winter-wear meant for leisure activities like skiing and snowboarding. You can wear them on weekends, but you probably want something a little nicer for the commute to work or evenings on the town.
  • Dark colors and earth tones are the dressiest: blacks, grays, browns, and so forth. These tend to have the most “go anywhere” ability — you can wear them on the ski slopes or between the taxi and the opera house door.

In addition to color, the style of the headgear affects where it can and can’t be worn:

  • Hats that cover the ears are considered less formal than hats that leave them bare. However, if the temperature is freezing, I don’t care if I’m wearing a tuxedo. My ears will be covered!
  • Crowned hats (fedoras, homburgs, bowlers, etc.) are more formal than soft-top hats (stocking caps, newsboys, etc.).
  • The thicker and softer the material, the less formal the hat. Thin, stiff, felted hats are the “dress” options, while thick, woven materials are informal.
  • Accents like pom-poms, fringes, and other dangly bits are always low-formality, and a bit silly to boot. Avoid them unless you’re trying to look obnoxiously cheerful and high-energy.

Most men own at least two options: a thick, practical cap for day-to-day existence outside in the winter, and a more formal, less-warming dress hat for short walks between transportation and a dressy setting like work or theater.

Now that you’ve got the basic rules on winter hats down, let’s take a quick look at some of your options:

1. The Watch Cap (Stocking Cap)

There are probably more names for this piece of headgear than there are for any other. Depending on where you live, it might be called a tuque (pronounced “took”), a beanie, a stocking cap, a bobcap, a burglar cap, or a sock cap. The phrase “watch cap” has military origins, and is still used in some official military dress codes.

watch-cap-400

Regardless of name, the stocking cap is defined by a few basic features:

  • knit material (usually wool, cotton, or synthetic)
  • round, symmetrical shape
  • often (but not always) has a folded-up brim for double layering at the ears

The fit can vary from completely snug against the scalp to loose and piled atop the head. The former, a “skullcap” sort of look, is generally considered more masculine, while the softer, looser style is gender-neutral and worn very commonly by both women and men.

watchcap

A few tuque-style hats have a small, soft, crescent-shaped brim, which has become popular with snowboarders. Others have pom-poms, tassels, or other decorations.

Stocking caps make great practical winter wear, especially if they have a folded brim that puts a second layer of fabric over your ears. Snugged down, they’re intensely warm and water-insulating, and they can be taken off and stuffed into a pocket without any concerns about wrinkling or crushing.

watch2

When selecting a material, I prefer wool for insulating warmth, but synthetic specialty watch caps made with water-wicking properties are very useful when hunting or exercising outdoors.

A variation of the watch cap is the South American Chullo. Traditionally made from alpaca wool, this watch cap has ear flaps and a string to tie around the chin. It is often decorated with intricate designs or patterns, and variations of this style have been worn in the Andean Mountain region for hundreds of years.

chullo-400

Image courtesy of http://knittingpark.blogspot.com

By their very nature, watch caps are not formal — leisure and practical use only — and wool ones, which are the warmest, need to be hand-washed and air-dried when they inevitably get sweaty. Cotton caps can be laundered, but aren’t as warm and don’t provide much moisture protection, making them more of a fall/spring hat than serious winter gear.

That being said, when it is really cold outside I wear my watch cap with an overcoat and suit. Formality rules go out the window when practical function is needed!

2. Ushanka (Trapper Hat, Aviator, etc.)

The biggest drawback of the stocking cap style (minus the Chullo) is its incomplete coverage: the lower part of the ears is left bare, as are the cheeks and chin.

An ushanka, also called a trapper hat, chapka, and sometimes “Elmer Fudd” (after the iconic Loony Tunes character) solves the problem by adding two flexible flaps, one on each side, with a string or leather tie that can connect them either beneath the chin or on top of the hat.

Ford-Brezhnev

There are a variety of styles, but any good ushanka (from “ushi” or “ears in Russian)/trapper hat should include the following:

  • thick, furred lining (often both the interior and exterior are furred)
  • flexible ear flaps on each side of the head
  • three default positions: open (flaps tied at the crown of the head), closed (flaps tied beneath the chin), and loose (flaps down but untied)

Most are brimless, but some styles include an “eye flap” or small visor that keeps the forehead warm and shades the tops of the eyes.

pilot

Aviators caps developed at the dawn of manned flight, as pilots in open cockpits needed to keep their ears and heads warm. Even as the cockpits of planes were closed, their popularity continued through WWII, up until jets necessitated the use of a helmet. Aviator style caps, sometimes goggles and all, were popular with boys of the 1950s, for whom the pilots of the Big One were heroes.

trapper

“Trapper hats” are a sort of hybrid between the aviator cap and the ushanka — they combine the style of the former with the furriness or the latter. Warm, but rather goofy looking, they’re best left for spending time in the great outdoors, and, of course, performing the woodsman workout.

An ushanka is one of the warmest winter options, and also one with a bit more style than the stocking cap. Because of their long military usage (predominantly Soviet), we associate them more with long overcoats than we do stocking caps, making a dark-colored ushanka a comfortable match for a wool dress coat.

Soviet-ushanka

Lighter-colored furs are generally considered more feminine (unless military), so try to stick to darker colors, and be aware that real fur may draw protest from animal rights-inclined individuals. These days, synthetics can pile thicker and dry faster than even the best hides anyway, making a real fur hat more of a luxury and a political statement than a practical necessity.

3. Astrakhan Caps (Karakul, Canadian Wedge, Ambassadors etc.)

“Astrakhan” is the Russian word for the pelt of a young Karakul lamb (a breed of sheep native to Central Asia). It is harvested at, or just after, birth (or sometimes shortly before), when the hair is still black, soft, and very tightly-coiled, creating an incredibly dense mat.

Different cultures have adapted the wool into different styles of hats. A flat, round-topped version with a doubled-up brim was popular among Soviet Politburo members — these days we call the style an “ambassador hat,” but the Russian slang term for it means “pie-hat,” from the flat, round shape.

 

400-ambassador

 

In Pakistan and northern India, a slightly higher style with a single crown is called the “Jinnah cap,” after the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. A similar style with a triangular shape has been worn traditionally in Afghanistan for centuries; President Karzai often appears publicly in one.

Blofeld-Outerwear-1024x467

Astrakhan hat and trimmed coat — no Bond villain would leave home without it.

The high, wedge-shaped wool hat worn by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the winter is also sometimes improperly called an “astrakhan,” even though it is usually not made from Karakul pelts. It does, however, bear a strong resemblance to the traditional Afghan Karakul hats, which is probably where the nickname came from.

Any of these versions are warm, but still appropriate to wear with anything, even up to business attire. They have a non-Western flavor that may appeal to more unique fashion senses, and can of course be had in synthetics nowadays for those who feel uneasy wearing fetal lamb’s wool on one’s head.

4. Wool Newsboy/Flat Caps

flatcap

flatcaps

Flat wool caps with a short brim are a go-anywhere style. For the winter months, they can be worn in thicker wool.

newsboy-400

These are basically indistinguishable from the fall/spring styles, apart from the thickness, and are great for someone who wants to look stylish during a short trip outside. In the bitter cold, however, the lack of ear, cheek, or neck protection makes them an insufficient source of warmth for any real length of time.

5. Felt Dress Hats

fedora

Various styles of dress hat (fedoras, homburgs, bowlers, etc.) come in thicker felts for winter wear. Some modern styles have incorporated a semi-circular ear warmer in the same color as, or in a complementary pattern to, the hat, that is either tucked up inside the crown or detachable, allowing the basic dressy style to be retained without sacrificing ear protection.

fedoraflap

From the Fedora Store

These are, in general, your best option when you need to look dressy in the winter. The ear warmers ruin the image a bit, but modern designs are really quite discreet, and you can pull it off if you’re bold. When you really need to look sharp (appearing in front of a camera, etc.), tuck the flaps up or detach the liner, though — the plain hat on its own is still the top dress standard.

6. Military Cold Weather Headwear

There are some great options out there in military surplus stores, especially from the armed forces of Scandinavian and other cold-climate countries.

military-cold-400

These tend to be unique and functional. The styles often look strange to American eyes — as in the case of the Swiss garrison hat, which has a high front peak (to break the wind), a soft brim (to shade the eyes from snow-reflected sun), and buttoning ear flaps that overlap to enclose the neck as well.

If you’re looking for something both different and high-performing, keep an eye out for anything from forces like the Royal Swedish Navy, Norwegian Army, etc.

7. Stormy Kromer Hat

stormyThe Stormy Kromer hat originated from a train engineer of the same name. Kromer needed a hat that would keep his head warm and wouldn’t blow off when he stuck it out the train window. In 1903, he asked his wife to modify a ball cap to fit more snugly, and she came up with a six-panel design intended to keep the hat in place in even the fiercest of winds. Unique from the fedoras of the day, but well-suited to the job, the hat took off with other railroad workers and an American company was born. Today, Stormy Kromer hats are still hand-sewn in the US, and make for distinct and classic casual headwear.

8. Beard Hat

Finally, don’t forget the surprisingly functional fashion trend: the beard hat!

vikingcombo_02_1

My personal favorite – the Viking!

It is what it sounds like. A knit stocking cap with a knit “beard” that covers the ears, cheeks, and chin. Your nose pokes out above the “mustache,” and the “beard” surrounds your lips.

Is it stylish? Aggressively not. Is it formal? My goodness no. But it is fun, and it captures the zeitgeist of the early tween-twentysomething years. And to give credit where credit is due, the knit “beard” keeps your face pretty warm.

Men with the real thing, of course, need not bother…

Non-Hat Cold Weather Add-Ons 

In addition to hats, there are of a few other options for keeping the top of your body warm during the winter:

  • Balaclava/ski mask: A full head covering that tugs down over the face, with holes for the eyes, mouth, and sometimes nose. The most basic are made from knit wool, while high-performance synthetics have a more streamlined shape and better moisture-wicking. Warm, but unstylish, and uncomfortable for prolonged wear if the area around the mouth and nose becomes damp. This is more for mountain climbing than walking around town.
  • Neck gaiters: Simple tubes (usually of synthetic fleece) that slip over the head and snug into place around the neck. The effect is basically that of turning your sweater or fleece into a turtleneck. In bright colors they tend to look a little silly, but a slim black one can be worn with dress overcoats without looking out of place.
  • Goggles: More to protect the eyes from wind and light than to keep in warmth, these do also offer extra skin covering. Comfortable winter goggles are usually thickly lined, with the protective lenses held away from the skin.
  • Scarves: A versatile option — they can be worn loose, with the ends uncrossed, as a decorative accent that adds little warmth, or wrapped tightly around the neck, chin, and mouth for effective layering. A few scarves in different colors helps keep the winter wardrobe versatile. For more on scarves, visit this classic AOM article.

It’s not necessary to own all of these. A man with several scarves, for example, may not have much use for a neck gaiter — though the gaiter is more portable, and tucks easily into a pocket in a way that a scarf doesn’t.

The key is to know your options and to pick a few that work best for your wardrobe. Don’t get stuck relying on the same worn-out stocking cap all winter long. It doesn’t look good with your dressier clothing and you’re cheating yourself of both warmth and style.

For more information on dressing for cold weather in general, visit these classic AOM articles: A Man’s Guide to Cold Weather Dressing & A Man’s Guide to The Overcoat.

Watch a Video Summary of This Article

What’s your favorite wintertime hat? Share with us in the comments!

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Written by: Antonio Centeno
Antonio has hundreds of free style video – check them out here.

 

{ 78 comments… read them below or add one }

1 STW January 22, 2013 at 6:07 pm

My every workday winter hat is a wool flat cap. For extreme days I have another that is thinsulite lined with hidden ear flaps. Weekends were always a Stormy Kromer until a late fall trip into Yellowstone. The rain snow mix soaked through the hat and was cold. I’ve now mostly switched to a thinsulite lined waxed cloth hat from Filson with hidden ear flaps. Stocking caps are always in the car for an emergency.

2 George McUrso January 22, 2013 at 6:17 pm

I would recommend the English deerstalker AKA the Sherlock Holmes hat. Being a lined wool cap they are nice and warm and the combination ear flaps and chin strap serve to protect your ears and keep it own during blustery weather.,

3 Victor P January 22, 2013 at 6:18 pm

I’ve been wanting an Irish Donegal Tweed Cap for some time. They’re timeless and look amazing.

http://www.hannahats.com/

4 Vic Arious January 22, 2013 at 6:21 pm

Great article…but no mention of Dear Stalker hats? Sherlock Holmes was the style guru!

5 Push January 22, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Thank you for including the Stormy Kromer… Fantastic American made product!!!

6 whistler January 22, 2013 at 6:58 pm

I grew up referring to a watch cap as a “toboggan”; yeah, like the sled. I have several, as well as one nice scarf and one wicking neck gaiter that is long enough to almost turn into a balaclava. My next purchase, however, will be a classy grey felt fedora or homburg, however.

7 TheVandal January 22, 2013 at 7:03 pm

Stormy Kromer, made in the UP of Michigan!!

8 Alexander January 22, 2013 at 7:06 pm

I always preferred a black watcher cap and have worn those exclusively for years if only for the convenience of being able to fold one and put it in my pocket. In my childhood I did have several ushankas for the superior protection against the elements.

9 Mohammed Syed January 22, 2013 at 7:17 pm

I’m glad the Jinnah cap was mentioned, being a first generation Pakistani American, I remember my grandfather sporting them when I went to visit the country. I also have an afghan mountain cap, which earns me some curious looks in public, but is nevertheless versatile and warm.

10 John D January 22, 2013 at 7:18 pm

I often use my dad’s cold weather hat that he was issued when in the Air Force stationed in Grand Forks, North Dakota, which is also where I was born. Now that I am in the Air Force myself I find it cool to wear around base.

11 Jim January 22, 2013 at 7:22 pm

I would just like to point out that merino wool, made from a much finer fiber than traditional sheep’s wool, is usually less itchy, faster drying, and usually can be laundered the same as synthetic or cotton. All while looking better, insulating better, and lasting longer than a synthetic or cotton.

So you don’t have to resign yourself to synthetics or cotton if you want an easitly cared for watch cap.

12 Grant Schooley January 22, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Love my trapper hat in the cold Montana winters! They may not look the best, but a real fur lining makes them quite warm.

13 Caleb January 22, 2013 at 10:01 pm

So glad I read this article. I remember my Grandpa always wearing an Astrakhan cap in the winter, but never knew what it was called. I’ve wanted one for a few years and now hopefully I’ll just be able to find one to fit my big head.

14 David Wainwright January 22, 2013 at 10:05 pm

It’s a true shame there’s no mention of the deerstalker cap!! A must for both rain and cold weather.

15 Stan January 22, 2013 at 10:13 pm

Antonio — great post. A small correction though on the following topic:

> “Astrakhan” is the Russian word for the pelt of a young Karakul lamb (a breed of sheep native to Central Asia).

Russian word for the pelt of a young Karakul lamb is just that — “karakul”. “Astrakhan” is a name of a Russian city very close to the southern border. Even though this word might be used in the US as a pelt name, it definitely does not have this meaning in Russian.

Thanks and looking forward for future posts.

16 Tristan January 22, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Canadian here. We do not pronounce tuque as “took” unless you mean the Hobbit’s last name. We pronounce it as the word “too” with a k on the end (small difference, I know).

17 Tom January 22, 2013 at 10:39 pm

Although it is a staple, I’m happy to see toques in here. Really classic, especially for us Canadians. You’ve got its pronunciation a bit odd-looking though, it’s pronounced “too-k”. With the double-o sound. As it is in the article it looks like the word “took”, which sounds weird. Great article, though! Heavier dress can sometimes make people look their best, heavy overcoats and such, with a nice hat, of course.

18 Scott January 22, 2013 at 11:06 pm

This is the first time I’d ever seen a fedora-type hat with ear flaps. Odd. I do have two flat caps with fold-under ear flaps not unlike those on the fedora above, though, so it’s interesting that such a feature was left unmentioned in their section of the article.

I tend to agree with this article for the most part, with the minor caveat that when the weather gets especially cold then fashion goes out the window in favor of function. I’m not going to try to impress anyone by not wearing a parka and warm hat when it’s -15F outside.

19 Jack January 22, 2013 at 11:17 pm

Well done overall.

Scott should watch Antonio’s video. He makes the point that this is one area where function trumps style very explicitly.

Also, the idea of men going around in deerstalker hats is a little silly. I would choose any of these hats, even the beard one, before wearing a deerstalker. But then I’m interested in dating women.

Glad to see Stormy Kromer mentioned. The best looking of the bunch and pretty functional too.

20 Nate January 22, 2013 at 11:46 pm

Just right the time for me. We’ve been experiencing a cold snap here and my head’s been freezing while I wait for the campus shuttle. Been wondering what kind of hat to get and this had pointed me in the right direction. Thanks!

21 J. January 23, 2013 at 5:54 am

I love to wear my balaclava in winter! The looks I get are priceless! It makes one feel Bad a**!

22 Josh January 23, 2013 at 6:10 am

Wonderful article! I have been using the beard hat for years and finally it is getting some recognition (besides weird looks).

23 Dave M. January 23, 2013 at 7:19 am

Great article. You’re missing Jayne’s Cunning Hat, though. ;)

24 PBJR January 23, 2013 at 7:54 am

Awesome article and info! Why no mention of behind the head ear muffins?

25 PBJR January 23, 2013 at 8:02 am

Correction : ear muffs

26 Michael V January 23, 2013 at 8:29 am

Extremely glad to see Kromers on the list. Well done!

27 Samuel Warren January 23, 2013 at 8:30 am

Since the flat cap is my “Style” whether summer or winter, I did some research and found on with fold up ear flaps. It’s thinsulate, and very warm. The ear flaps fold up inside the hat, so it works with or without them. Paired with a nice scarf, I can easily cover my cheeks, neck, and ears.

28 Chad Smith January 23, 2013 at 8:49 am

Living in Northern Alberta where just this morning I woke up to -26 degress Celsius, with a wind chill factor bringing it well below -40, winter hats are a must. Luckily we in the Air Force just got issued muskrat fur Ushankas. Nothing works better, although a nice hand knit toque gets the job done. Thanks for all the great ideas Tony!

29 Mark Ruddick January 23, 2013 at 8:57 am

I wear a size 8 hat, so it’s difficult for me to find a lot of choices in hats. For cold weather a balaclava is my best choice. It’s warm and it fits.

30 Mike January 23, 2013 at 9:32 am

This was great. It was missing the manliest hat of all, the Jayne Hat or Cunning Hat. Kind of a variation on the Chullo but more awesome and manly.

31 Heather January 23, 2013 at 9:43 am

There is something incredibly, incredibly hot about a man in a fedora

32 Carl January 23, 2013 at 10:06 am

I have 5 of the above and approve them all. Not naming which to remain open to alternative advise.

33 Sam Irish January 23, 2013 at 10:12 am

Unless the weather is abominable, I’m usually inseperable from my Akubra brimmed hat. However, I’ve been caught in a nasty Maine cold snap in it, and have relied on the old cowboy trick of looping a scarf around the head and under the brimmed hat. It’s an awful choice for formality, but very functional as long as you remember to pull your hat down tight.

34 Joshua Miller January 23, 2013 at 10:20 am

The “stocking cap”, where I grew up (West Virginia), was known as a toboggan. It wasn’t until I went to college in Pittsburgh that I got strange looks when I talked about “putting a sled on my head”.

35 Björn January 23, 2013 at 10:43 am

Great post!

This is an area that I’ve had to get more used to since moving to Sweden. Some years ago I received a pair of ear bags for Christmas, which work extremely well while still letting me traipse around town without having to purchase the specialized hats noted in your post. As I understand it, ear bags were a common piece of winter clothing for the early 1900s city-dwelling population in Sweden (many comments of, “You dress just like my grandfather!” for example). They aren’t for the faint of heart, though, since inquiring glances from passers by become the norm during usage.

http://www.earbags.com

36 Boots Graham January 23, 2013 at 11:08 am

I live in the prairies of Canada and swear by my Davy Crockett coonhat.

37 Joe January 23, 2013 at 12:13 pm

Been looking forward to this article and loved it.
One issue though. Fur, like cotton and wool, is a renewable resource. While it takes a little more to care for the hat, it works as well most synthetics. And the synthetics, polypro, nylon, acrylic, and polyester, are derived from non-renewable petroleum.

38 Jason January 23, 2013 at 12:57 pm

My wife picked up two thick wool ivy caps and a lighter weight duckbill for me for Christmas. I also own a thick felt fedora for more formal occasions. The thick wool ivy caps keep my head pretty warm in the Oklahoma wind, but my ears do get rather cold. An astrakhan looks like a pretty unique hat for sure.

39 Adam January 23, 2013 at 2:23 pm

Great article to help guys stay fashionable and warm this winter! Personally, I wouldn’t step into the frigid cold without a winter hat that protects my ears. But that doesn’t mean you can’t wear these styles indoors for a winter formal function.

40 Jeff C. January 23, 2013 at 3:11 pm

How could you include fedoras without discussing cowboy hats? The latter are even more iconic, and I’d bet their sales are higher.

41 Terry January 23, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Reading this reminded me of my grandfather, who had a navy blue watch cap from his days in the Coast Guard that he used for everyday wear, and for more formal wear he had a black astrakhan.

42 John W January 24, 2013 at 6:40 am

My favorite extreme cold weather hat is a handmade coyotoe fur trapper style hat. I know the author made a comment about some may be offended but surprising I have had nothing but positive comments on it. Especially coming from southern and central New England.

43 Ken January 24, 2013 at 10:29 am

I got my dad a stormy kromer last year. But being a duck hunter, I’ll give the nod to the tin clothe filson for my winter needs.

44 Peter January 24, 2013 at 10:57 am

Last winter was really bad here in Bulgaria. From all my hats – (about 5) the one that saved me from the cold wind was my daughter’s kid hat – a brown hat with bells. Needless to say I was the main HAT subject wherever I went.

45 Doug January 24, 2013 at 2:51 pm

Lived in Canada all my life, and in some of the colder areas. The best I’ve come across is a sheepskin winter hat, lined and with earflaps, from Egli’s Sheep Farm, just west of Dryden, Ontario. Warm at 40 below.

46 Andrew January 24, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Being in Canada and having worked/played in -52C, and having worn some version of all of these hats once or twice, except the Astrakhan, I have to say that the only two that will be useful in truly cold weather are the toques, down to -20 or so, and the Russian/trapper hats, for colder weather and wind. If it’s windy forget a toque. Anything else and your ears will freeze, sometimes very badly. Nothing else works when it’s really cold (it’s “really” cold when breathing through your nose makes your snot freeze).

Another thing to remember is to bring two, because one will inevitably sweat out when you’re walking and cool off when you’re not.

47 Michael H January 24, 2013 at 7:30 pm

I typically wear a WWII style Army jeep cap. That thing is so amazingly warm.

48 Steve January 24, 2013 at 9:09 pm

I personally loathe hats – on men, and especially women.

But I gotta get that beard hat!!!

49 Daniel January 26, 2013 at 9:10 pm

At the moment i practically live in an Aussie stockmans hat seeing as it’s summer down here, but i’ve kind of had my eye on a reversible brown and camo beenie (stocking hat) for winter. Fashionable? not particularly, but it’ll keep me warm and be useful for those cold mornings when i’m out in the bush living my crazy life.

50 Mathias January 27, 2013 at 5:30 am

The Ushanka is (naturally) common in Norway, and is in Norwegian usually referred to as “bear c**t”. I don’t know any other name for it…

51 Amar January 27, 2013 at 8:55 pm

You can’t go wrong with the basic stocking cap. I wear it all the time and in different colors too, but i prefer black.

52 Dave January 27, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Most of my be-hatted time is in a flat cap, but winter cold brings out my watch cap – in fleece rather than knit; it’s nice and my head never seems to get overheated and itchy. Always wanted an Ushanka, tho!

But, when my hair is just the wrong length for hat-head to be a problem (too long to be no-touch, too short to be combed effectively) I have a pair of those behind-the-head earmuffs that came out a few years ago. Works for my larger ears and doesn’t look silly like ‘standard’ earmuffs might.

53 Trent January 29, 2013 at 12:45 am

it is spelled and pronouced toque!

54 Fred January 31, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Love my Beaver Trappers hat in the cold Alaka winters! With temps below -50 c my head is still warm and toasty!

55 harold carson February 1, 2013 at 11:00 am

were can I order the Russian ambassador hat or Pakistan Jinnah cap

56 w king February 4, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Heat is lost evenly over your entire body if you are completely naked. However if your body is warmly clad and your head bare then most heat loss will be through the head especially if you are bald!

57 Sean February 15, 2013 at 6:59 am

I can only imagine the look on my co-workers faces if I arrived with the “beard hat” on…. I might have to try it just to see.

58 Tate Smith February 18, 2013 at 10:48 am

Glad to see you added the stormy kromer. I wear one all winter long here in Colorado. We call it a railroader cap, unless it has a puff on top, in which case it is called a scotch cap. This is the first time I’ve heard it called a stormy kromer. But just a regional naming addition.

59 John February 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm

I was disappointed to see you did not give advise as to when to REMOVE the hat. Many men leave it on inside, even in church!

60 Sam February 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm

My go to hat is the Tilley Montana hat. A full brim to keep the snow and rain from going down your neck, its waterproof, crushable and has tuckaway ear flaps. It also has a lifetime guarantee. Who else does that? For dress and casual its my Akubra fur felt hats. And remember guys, always tip your hat to a lady.

61 Mauricio February 28, 2013 at 7:11 am

I am actually surprised at the clarity with which you explain the function and settings at which every hat is appropiate.
My hat, the one I go to work with (Canada), is a toque. However, when I get the chance, fedoras are the way to go.

62 Paul Kostoff March 4, 2013 at 2:47 pm

As i was part of the Soviet block i am familiar with the “Ushanka”. This is quite ugly but at the same time very practical winter hat. At winter season, sometimes the temperature goes below -40 C and you risk your ears to freeze out very seriously and then this hat saves the day.

63 David March 7, 2013 at 9:58 pm

With the Ushanka, is a dark green suitable for ‘all around’? Also one of the strings for the flap broke. Anyway to fix that?

64 Steve July 4, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Shortly before birth! Seriously? I’ll pass, thanks though.

65 Frazer August 4, 2013 at 2:21 am

In Russia everyone still wears these hats every winter.

66 emily August 11, 2013 at 5:16 pm

I like my squall winter men’s winter hat from lands end. It keeps my head warm

67 Marc Gervais October 9, 2013 at 9:04 pm

In summer I wear a Tilley Hat or a ball cap. Winter I like my watchman cap but I am thinking of getting a newsboy cap for mild winter days.

68 Ryan October 20, 2013 at 1:44 pm

When I moved to Minnesota and realized a beanie really wasn’t going to cut it, I hopped online and ordered a genuine Soviet-surplus ushanka. It’s unbelievably warm (lifesaving on a cold and windy night), comfy, and personally I think it looks pretty stylish with a long coat (particularly if, like me, you leave the Soviet military pin on the front of it; it isn’t just a hat, it’s a piece of history!). Even if it didn’t, though, there’s very little less stylish than frostbite. Good article.

69 Ian Hopkins October 23, 2013 at 3:10 pm

I was in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets for four years, and I can tell you right now, wearing ANYTHING resembling a wedge in the winter is just asking for frostbite.

70 Jimbo December 9, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Balaclava. Stylish enough for Sir Earnest Shackleton and his fine crew.

71 Curtis Rudisail December 12, 2013 at 9:00 pm

Anyone know were I can get a South American Chullo like one in this article. Thanks.http://www.artofmanliness.com/2013/01/22/men-winter-hat-guide/

72 Graham December 15, 2013 at 1:52 pm

How about a deerstalker?

73 Matt January 22, 2014 at 1:11 pm

North Dakotan here.

Glad to see this. When I started reading AoM and improving my wardrobe, I very quickly ran into the problem of finding a hat that was warm enough to keep ears safe, but which didn’t completely ruin a dignified look. I asked some other men who had grown up here what they wore as a hat on occasions that they were dressing up, and nobody had a great answer.

I decided to give the Ushanka a try. It is a bold look and not childish or informal.

I wore my Ushanka with a medium length wool coat into the office today, in fact.

I find that the Ushanka is the only hat that stands at the intersection of formal enough and warm enough. The ear flaps are mandatory in these conditions.

Sadly, the Ushanka I have doesn’t look as formal as I would like when in the ear-flap down position. Does someone have a suggestion for an excellent example?

74 Simmering January 22, 2014 at 6:25 pm

My favorite hat is a loden colored Stetson fedora made with crushable felt. It goes on every mountain hike and has protected my head from ice, sleet, hail, and snow. It easily creases back into place and has an Indiana Jones about it. Informal, rakish, but still looks good.

75 Ed Davis January 22, 2014 at 9:01 pm

Good article. Favorite winter informal hat is my black US Army “jeep” cap – essentially a thick watch cap with a short brim. Great cold weather cap that has a cool funky look.

76 Ardith January 25, 2014 at 10:15 am

Well, it’s January 2014 and all the guys in our neighborhood of Baltimore Maryland are wearing the South American Chullo this year! We thought it was Nordic or Scandinavian design. We think it looks great and this is a really cold winter. Thanks for info on origin.

77 Francis January 25, 2014 at 11:59 am

It’s not a hat but I wear a cowboy “wild rag” (42″x42″ silk bandana) in the colder months around my neck, and tie it around my head like one of those shemaghs and put my stetson over that with my “oh crap strap” (wind string or stampede string) to hold it down when it is really cold and windy. It works great! It looks funny to city folks but I am a Forest Ranger by trade, so I don’t look like a asphalt cowboy.

78 Jerry February 21, 2014 at 3:50 am

I got the outrageous mohawk ski chullo beanie. It isn’t for the timid but it makes for fun and girls will strike up conversations when wearing it. They like it. The old foggies wouldn’t be caught dead in it. It keeps your ears warm and makes you laugh – at yourself!

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