The beanie hat has been around longer than you might think. The design can be traced back to the early 1900’s in the United States. The reason for the name, ‘beanie’ or ‘bean’ was formerly a slang term for the head.

In the 1900’s beanie hats were predominately worn by university students throughout their freshman year. The beanie was also very popular with blue collar workers who wore them to keep the hair away from their eyes and keep their head warm on cold winter days. Two distinct styles were worn – one with and one without a brim. The humble beanie brim was the inspiration for the baseball cap – a hip-hop fashion staple.

A century ago the beanie was hardly known as a fashion accessory. They were worn out of necessity. However, fast forward to 1990’s the beanie gained more and more popularity. Men, women, boys and girls were seen with them on their head. Celebrities and sports figures tapped into the trend and were seen wearing them at events and on a day-to-day basis. University students choose to display their pride with a beanie embossed with the school colours and emblem.

Beanies were originally made from wool, however over time beanies were made from, not just wool but, a range of synthetic fibres and fleece. This fleece material keeps the moisture away in addition to keeping your head warm, making them very popular with snowboarders and skiers alike.

The propeller beanie has been adopted by notable artist and fiction writer, Ray Nelson. This popular self-mockery image is considered childish, however it soon caught on. References to the distinctive headwear are ironically displayed as fashion, with many people choosing the propeller beanie over more traditional headwear. By the mid 1970’s the popularity of the propeller beanie had diminished to be replaced by the skullcap which features four to six different coloured panels sewn together to form the hat. Over time ears and short brims were added to keep the head and ears warm.

Today the beanie hat has evolved with a diverse range of colours and styles to choose from. This fashion accessory is worn by men, women, boys and girls, and even small children. What began as a necessary piece of headwear, one to keep the hair from your eyes and your head warm throughout the cold winter months has grown into a staple, transcending any fashion, culture or style.