I could have never guessed that 2019 would be the year throngs of men would join the ongoing tango women have danced for decades: that between practical physical comfort and impractical aesthetic trends. I’m not sure when the induction ceremony for this collective shift took place, but I started noticing the evidence a few months ago around the same time as New York’s first frost, and by “evidence” I mean ears — cold ones — sticking out underneath the thick lips of unusually cropped beanies. Beanies that, frankly, look less like winter hats than they do diaphragms (sorry).
It wasn’t until a photo of Daniel Day-Lewis sitting on a park bench with his French bulldog went viral, cropped beanie and cold ears akimbo, that I realized I was witnessing the ripple effect of a full-blown style movement, one that seemed to be heralded by a very specific type of man. Said type may or may not be inclined to:
Overwhelmed by both confusion and delight (my favorite emotional cocktail), I had to know more. I was unsure what to Google, so I just typed in “men cropped beanie.” One of the first hits was a link to this beanie from ASOS, which is when I discovered my first clue: a proper name! Eureka. Apparently this variety of beanie is called a fisherman beanie, which is precisely what I typed into America’s favorite search engine next. That lead me to my investigative jackpot, a video from YouTuber Daniel Simmons entitled “Fisherman Beanie 101.”
I highly recommend watching the video in full if you are at all interested in learning everything you would every possibly want to know about ear-baring beanie culture, but please find a selection of highlights below.
+The origin story of fisherman beanies begins with — you guessed it! — fishermen. According to Simmons, “When fishermen were either at docks or out to sea, they obviously still wanted to keep their heads warm, but in order to actually hear things that are being called out, because it can be quite dangerous on sea…they would roll [their beanies] up to be above their ears.” This backstory is logical given what the beanies are apparently called, but I would also like to submit the headwear choices of Gilmore Girls’ Jackson Belleville for alternative theory fodder.
+Great times to wear a fisherman beanie, according to Simmons, include: fall, winter, when you’re feeling “hella lazy” with your hair, when it’s windy, when it’s raining.
+Questionable times to wear a fisherman beanie, according to Simons, include: summertime, first dates, formal events (unless you’re wearing an “insane outfit that is just so fire”).
One quick search in Google Trends indicates growing fisherman beanie interest since September, and one quick stroll around downtown New York confirms it shows no signs of slowing down. Have you noticed this trend, too? Have you resisted the urge to run up to various men on the sidewalk, cover their cold ears with your warm hands and whisper gently, are you sure about this? Please join me in the comments to discuss.
Feature image by Christian Vierig/Getty Images.