One of the really interesting things about winter hats is that most of us have many of them in our closets to choose from, but we all seem to have one favorite—a hat that we choose again and again to get through the coldest days of the year. And if you're buying a hat for someone you love, you'd probably like to crack that code and figure out which hat will be their everyday go-to.
The way we choose a favorite hat ultimately depends on two things: how well the hat functions in our lives, and how well it matches our personal style. So how do you find the right one if you're picking a hat for a family member? Start with their personality or lifestyle, then delve into which one will work best for what they love to do.
If you're choosing a hat for someone who spends their days in the great outdoors, you know they'll need one that provides serious protection against the elements. That means you're seeking superior coverage along with excellent insulation against cold and wet conditions.
For an outdoors person, consider a hat that covers the top of the head with protection for ears, neck, chin, and possibly even cheeks. Styles that offer this kind of extra coverage include trapper hats, Peruvian hats, and balaclavas. All of these hats cover the ears; trapper hats and Peruvian hats have ear flaps that can cover the ear, while the balaclava is a pull-on hat that covers the entire head and neck with a hole for your face. In addition, all these hat styles are designed so that they won't blow away in a gust of wind.
To determine which hat is the right one for an adventurous family member, first take a look at each type and see which one looks like a match for their style. Once you've done that, consider details like: its insulation; some come with Primaloft or fleece linings that add to the warmth; whether it's waterproof; knit hats, like the Peruvian style, tend not to be as water repellent; and if it's washable; you may be able to hand-wash or spot clean some hats, which is helpful if it's going to take a beating on days-long treks.
One element where style and functionality will overlap is the hat's color. If the family member who will be wearing that hat goes hunting, bold colors like orange or red hats can add a safety factor and look pretty cool, too.
Fast-moving family members, like those who are always working on the next item on their endless to-do list, often forget to wear a hat altogether. So giving them a warm hat that's easy to grab and wear is a terrific way to help them continue to get things done despite the cold.
Knit hats and beanies are a terrific option because they are easy to pull on, plus they can be tucked into a winter coat pocket without wrinkling.
Knit hats seem to be the most popular hat option, and there's a vast array of features to consider as you seek out the best hat for your family member. There's the fabric, including anything from light cotton to ultra-insulating wool and acrylic materials. There's the style of the knit, which can be refined and subtle for a more sophisticated feel or chunkier fisherman- and cable-knits that feel more funky and casual.
Colors and patterns for knit hats and beanies are nearly limitless, so you can choose the one that's a flattering match for your family member's wardrobe and personal style.
If dropping temperatures are no excuse for your family member to loosen his or her style standards, a winter hat that has a bit of special style is a must-have.
Of course, style is in the eye of the beholder. You might want to give them something classic, like a cloche hat for a woman or a newsboy hat or fedora for a man. Each covers the head for some warmth, but won't protect against the bitterest winter weather.
Another thing to consider for a family member who prioritizes style is to choose something that makes a statement, like earmuffs or a fleece headband. These will help to keep your family member's ears warm, but they won't muss perfectly styled hair. And because their unusual shape makes them noteworthy, they tend to look awesome in selfies and Instagram posts.
For the family member who loves to make an entrance and showcase their own energy, look for a hat with the kinds of details that will make it and the person wearing it stand out in a crowd. Consider hats in bright colors or that are made in fun, funky patterns. Details like pom tassels, bright flowers, or bows add a bit of personality that will really pop. You can also make a hat one-of-a-kind by monogramming it with your loved one's initials so that one-of-a-kind person can always make a one-of-a-kind impression.