Cold-Weather Head Wear
As the cold weather draws closer by the day, it’s time to work out how you’re going to keep warm in style this season. Enter your autumn/winter hat.
The ideal accessory to help finish off an outfit, the sartorial power of a great piece of head wear shouldn’t be underestimated. With this in mind, we’re set to break down five key hat styles for AW14 and explore ways to wear each of them.
From fedoras to flat caps, read on to see how to keep your head covered while remaining on-trend…
The Winter Fedora
First made popular for men when Prince Edward wore the centre-creased, soft-brimmed hat in the 1920s, fedoras have been used for decades to protect the wearer’s head from unpredictable winter weather.
This silhouette was originally made from soft felt and had a low, tapered crown. Yet today it comes in a wide variety of brim widths, materials and crown types, and even the positioning of the ‘pinch’ can vary.
As we reported earlier this year, fedoras were identified as a developing street style trend at London Collections: Men (LC:M), where stylish gents combined neutral versions with slimline suiting and separates:
Yet fedoras weren’t just spotted on the streets at LC:M – the runways confirmed the style as a major AW14 accessory trend too. From the Savile Row/St James’s showcase to E.Tautz, some of Britain’s most prestigious tailoring houses put wide-brimmed fedoras front and centre in their collections.
Worn in a timeless fashion, they were teamed with 1920s-inspired outerwear and razor sharp suiting for a look that harked back to a time where elegance and refinement reigned supreme.
This is exactly how we’d suggest wearing the fedora hat this autumn, as it’s the perfect way to channel dapper sartorial style. Look to invest in a well-made version in a seasonally-appropriate fabric like felt or wool, and stick to neutral hues such as grey and black for ultimate versatility.
Use it to add an old school, gentlemanly charm to your professional attire as you commute to work throughout the colder months. It will look superb matched with a long tan trench coat and tailored charcoal suit – just remember that etiquette dictates you remove it once you are indoors.
The fedora tends to suit gentlemen with shorter face shapes, as the tapered crown creates the illusion of length. If this applies to you, just remember to stay away from styles with wider brims as the broad edge can hang over the face and make it appear even smaller than it is.
On the opposite end of the scale, wide-brimmed fedoras are well-suited to men with square faces, especially if you flip/snap up the brim – its natural curvature helps counterbalance a fairly straight-edged jaw line.
Key brands that produce high quality fedoras include specialists such as Goorin, Borsalino, Lock & Co., Bates of Jermyn Street and Christys’.
However, if this is your first foray into the world of formal hats, we would recommend starting with an affordable felt version from a high street brand like ASOS or River Island, to ensure the look is for you before taking the plunge:
- Topman Camel Puritan Hat With Woven Trim
- Allsaints Bronson Fedora
- Topman Black Puritan With Leather Look Trim
- He By Mango Contrast Ribbon Fedora Hat
- Lock & Co Hatters Voyager Rollable Felt Trilby Hat
- Fedora Hat – Handmade
- Goodman A Heritage Wool Fedora
- Borsalino Alessandria Mid-brim Felt Fedora 207065
- Goorin Everyday Queen Of Knives
- John Lewis Fedora Hat With Grosgrain Ribbon
- River Island Black Felt Fedora Hat
The Fitted Beanie
Previously known as a Monmouth cap, the beanie is a small, round and close-fitting knitted hat. Today, this cosy style is one of the most popular silhouettes on the market year-round, due to it being comfortable and easy to wear.
On the runway, Hackett’s heritage traveller-inspired collection saw woollen beanies paired with luxurious tailoring to produce a classic-meets-contemporary aesthetic – perfect for autumn/winter 2014. If you want to achieve a similar effect, we would recommend storing a neutral fitted beanie in your briefcase or desk drawer for when you leave the office and make your way home in the cold.
But, of course, this silhouette really comes into its own at the weekend. Whether teamed with a navy pea coat, cable knit and twill chinos for a heritage fisherman vibe or simple jeans and sweatshirt combination on a lazy Sunday, beanies are ideal for weatherproofing your off-duty looks and covering up bad hair days.
For those that want to make a statement, a coloured beanie will inject life into your winter wardrobe – perfect for when the dark and dreary days arrive. Opt for a rich autumnal hue such as cherry red, mustard or burnt orange and use it to add a punch to a neutral ensemble, keeping the emphasis firmly on your hat.
There isn’t really a head shape the beanie doesn’t suit, such is its versatility. Just make sure you opt for fitted versions rather than oversized styles, which now appear dated with menswear’s continued focus on streamlined silhouettes and cuts.
That said, beanies do tend to work better with casual or smart-casual pieces, rather than formal or corporate attire – the juxtaposition is often just too harsh.
Should you want something that pairs well with your pinstripe power suits and double-breasted overcoats, try a wool/felt fedora (above) or pork pie (below) hat instead.
Fitted beanies come in every colour, pattern and fabric imaginable these days, meaning there is a style for every taste and budget.
But if you’re looking for something slightly more unique, consider specialist Scandinavian brands such as Wood Wood, Norse Projects, Fjallraven, Our Legacy and S.N.S Herning, who all know a thing or two about practical outdoors apparel:
- Allsaints Salvator Beanie
- He By Mango Jacquard Wool-blend Beanie
- Asos Cable Fisherman Beanie
- Topman Oat Multi Ribbed Mini Beanie
- He By Mango Wool-blend Beanie
- He By Mango Knit Beanie
- Missoni Cashmere Beanie 208725
- Wood Wood Cable Beanie
- Cable Knit Beanie
- New Look Khaki Ribbed Beanie
- Wrkng Title Stripe Beanie
- A.p.c. Knitted Wool Beanie Hat
The Pork Pie
Next up is a FashionBeans favourite, the pork pie hat. Originally made popular in Britain at the beginning of the 20th century as the ‘man about town’ look became popular, the style saw a resurgence in the 1920s when American silent film actor Buster Keaton sported the hat in many of his films. The designs Keaton wore were actually self-made by converting fedoras and other hats into what we now know as the pork pie, complete with its signature flat top and short brim.
Like the fedora, we’ve noticed their popularity increasing within the menswear community recently – perhaps in part due to Breaking Bad ingraining the silhouette within public consciousness over the past few years (it was the trademark piece of lead character Walter White’s alter ego, Heisenberg).
Again, this silhouette looks best paired with sharp tailoring and smarter pieces. With that in mind, why not try teaming a pork pie hat in AW14’s biggest colour trend, burnt orange, with a well-cut suit in bottle green, finished off with brightly-coloured socks, perforated tan brogues and a polka dot pocket square? The ideal look for any modern dandy this autumn.
If you’d rather take a more conservative approach, use a timeless charcoal pork pie hat – complete with a small feather in the band – to finish off a single-breasted navy suit and tan double-monk straps combination. Whether for work or a weekend wedding, this look will ensure you exude effortless sartorial style.
Where better to take our inspiration than from the stylish men on the streets?
The pork pie’s short brim is suited to gentlemen with shorter faces, as it will not overpower or make the face look smaller than it is. Likewise, this style will help balance longer face types by providing width without adding any extra height.
Men with square faces should stay well away from this style.
- Topman Green Pork Pie Hat
- Topman Brown Mini Pork Pie Hat
- Asos Pork Pie Hat
- Asos Pork Pie Hat
- Topman Black Matt Leather Look Pork Pie Hat
- Asos Pork Pie Hat
- New Look Black Felt Pork Pie Hat
- Asos Pork Pie Hat
- Asos Pork Pie Hat
- Pure Wool Felt Pork Pie Hat With Stormwear
- River Island Dark Grey Melton Bowler Hat
- Topman Navy Pork Pie Hat
The Heavyweight Snapback
Similar to traditional baseball caps, the ‘snapback’ features a flat brim and plastic snaps at the back, which can be used to adjust its diameter (size). An alternative to fitted caps (which come in predetermined diameters/sizes), the snapback rose to prominence on the underground music scene as a popular choice for rappers, although today they are more likely to be spotted on the head of hipsters and casual dressers.
Although snapbacks tend to be more popular in spring/summer, look to give the silhouette a practical autumn/winter update by opting for a version in a luxe, seasonally-appropriate material. From wool to leather, a heavyweight snapback will keep your head warm and your style cool when temperatures drop.
Due to their popularity, there are hundreds of designs to choose from on the current market. Yet our favourites this year are those that come in textured fabrics with minimal branding (think a small patch or simple team logo).
Able to slot into any casual ensemble seamlessly, like the beanie, there are no limits to the ways you can style this hat. For example, go for an on-trend monochrome look with a sporty twist by pairing a black leather snapback with a crisp white tee, sleek black bomber, slim-fit black jeans and white hi-tops.
Alternatively, for a more relaxed approach, team a snapback cap in a primary hue such as red with a long-sleeved denim shirt, heavyweight beige chinos and worker boots.
Snapbacks suit the majority of face shapes, although those with short or round faces should be careful due to its wide front brim, which can make it appear smaller/wider than it is.
They also look their best matched with casual clothing. Although the luxe versions we advocate for AW14 are slightly more refined, they will still jar with formal wear and tailoring.
If you do want to integrate one into a smart-casual ensemble, try wearing the smarter piece on your bottom half – a pair of flannel/wool trousers, for instance – and then complementing the cap with more rugged/casual attire, such as denim shirts and bomber jackets, up top.
Street wear labels typically make the best snapbacks on the market, so New Era, Stussy, Vans, Supreme and Huf et al. should be your first port of call:
- Lifers Neppy Snapback Cap In Black
- Stussy Tonal Snapback Cap In tan
- Obey Bangor Wool Snapback Cap In Navy
- Brixton morton Snapback Cap
- Brixton morton Snapback Cap
- Mitchell & Ness dip Dye Denim Snapback Cap
- New Era 9fifty Faux Leather Ny Snapback Cap
- Supra Melt Icon Snapback
- Topman Black Leather Look Snake Snapback Cap
The Traditional Flat Cap
A true British style staple, the flat cap instantly brings to mind images of jaunts in the English countryside.
The roots of the flat cap can be traced all the way back to the 1300s, when it was seen in England, Scotland and Italy, and was more likely to be referred to as a ‘bonnet’. In the 16th century, thanks to measures taken by the government to stimulate the wool trade in England, the style became commonplace. By the Victorian era it was practically de rigeur among British men, with even the higher classes having adopted variants of the cap for excursions to the country.
Fast forward a century or two and the flat cap is still a popular choice for the contemporary gent. Perhaps its best feature is its versatility; allowing the wearer to integrate it into both smart and casual outfits with ease. Try pairing yours with other outdoors-inspired pieces such as chunky cable/waffle knits, cord shirts, dark selvedge denim and brogue boots for a modern town meets country aesthetic.
Alternatively, combine a traditional flat cap crafted from textured grey wool with a sharp double-breasted suit and long tailored overcoat on the morning commute. Finish the look off with black Oxfords, a narrow polka dot tie and black leather gloves for a truly contemporary take on a heritage piece.
For the weekend, leave the bright lights of the city behind and head to the country with your traditional tweed flat cap in tow. Wear this time-honoured style of head wear with a quilted/waxed jacket, slim-fitting corduroys and Wellington boots as you trek through the marshes with effortless panache.
The flat cap suits men with long and square face types, with the short height and wide front brim helping balance proportions.
Similar to the snapback, guys with shorter faces should be careful when wearing this style.
Quirky English heritage brands like Barbour, Ted Baker and Ben Sherman continue to make excellent flat caps, while specialists such as Brixton, Goorin and Lock & Co. Hatters offer premium versions in a variety of materials.
The most important consideration here is fabric, with waxed cottons, tweed, wool and cord versions the embodiment of the style’s lineage:
- He By Mango Wool Flat Cap
- Barbour Wax Cap
- Brixton Hooligan Flat Cap
- Next Check Flat Cap
- Ted Baker Tibbitt Flat Cap
- Lock & Co Hatters Glen Herringbone Wool-tweed Flat Cap
- Ted Baker Chekhat Woven Flat Cap
- Austin Reed Olive Corduroy Flat Cap
- He By Mango Wool-blend Flat Cap
- River Island Dark Green Herringbone Flat Peak Cap
- Pure Cotton Waxed Thinsulate Flat Cap With Stormwear
- Lock & Co Hatters Glen Check Wool-tweed Flat Cap
No matter what style of hat you decide to add to your collection this autumn/winter, remember to keep in mind your existing wardrobe and personal style. We recommend opting for something neutral and timeless that you’ll be able to wear from your Monday morning commute to your Sunday evening stroll through the park.
A black fedora is the ideal choice for every man this winter, seeing as it will go with all of your tailored suits and looks set to stay on trend for seasons to come. That said, don’t be afraid to make a statement by trying out a 1990s-inspired snapback or bold coloured beanie.
Now you’ve heard from us, it’s over to you. What style of hat will you be rocking this autumn? Or will you be giving them a miss altogether and focusing on a slick hairdo?
As always, let us know in the comments section below…