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Fashion December, 13 2012

A Guide to Keeping Your Head, Neck, and Extremities Warm

Last week we gave you the lowdown on layering basics and since the temperature has dropped yet again we’re here to help you protect your precious extremities along with your head and neck. It’s no secret that a pair of gloves or some wool socks will keep you a bit warmer so we’ll explore the different possibilities there are for each. Take a look below as we start from the top down in order to stay extra warm this winter season.

Beanies

Perhaps the most popular of all head warming gear is the omnipresent beanie, also known as a tuque, bobcap, knit hat, or knit cap. Regardless of your preferred nomenclature, the warm cap has been in use in some form or another for the better part of the last 600 years – and for good reason. The elasticity of the fabric – be it wool, cotton, or synthetic fibers – allows each cap to stretch over the wearer’s head, keeping the top of your head, and oftentimes your ears warm as well. A favorite of ours this season is the logo bobble beanie from PenfieldCarhartt, too, offers a solid cap this year which seems to be popular both among working-class men and hot urban women – a fine line to straddle indeed. (Pictured above for your enjoyment is the latter.) For even more options check out our Beanie Buyer’s Guide.

Many choose the beanie both for its simple looks and the age-old myth that most heat escapes through your head. The latter part, however, is simply not true. Lost heat depends largely on surface area and an exposed leg or arm would lose more heat on a cold day than a bare head. The belief stems from military experiments conducted during the 50s in which subjects were dressed in Arctic survival suits and exposed to harsh conditions. The suits covered their entire bodies with the exception of the head. Naturally, heat made its way out through their tops and the belief has lived on since then.

The Ushanka

Enough with the mythbusting though and back to caps. A second, far warmer option is the ushanka, or as its known in the Western world, the trooper or Trapper’s hat. Just by looking at one you could probably guess that the modern trooper has its origins in  Russia. The word “ushanka” in fact, is Russian for “ears,” and the hat itself became a symbol of Soviet Russia, a stereotype that lives on today.

Traditional ushankas are made of fur and feature ear flaps that can be tied up to the crown of the cap, or tied at the chin to protect the ears, jaw, and lower chin from the cold. Those living in warmer climates will only recognize them from television and movies or through coffee-chugging hipsters wearing them out of irony in the scorching heat. In frigid climates, however, the Trapper’s hat is a necessity. Fortunately, the hat comes in a variety of styles now like this Liberty Pinwale Cord Trooper from Supreme.

The Earflap Hat

A third option for the coldest of seasons is the earflap hat. Popular during the early and mid 20th century, the hat was originally worn while hunting in colder climates early in the morning. Now the hat comes in a variety of options that don’t require you to be holding a rifle for it to look appropriate. You can even keep your street appearance up with these 5-panel caps from Norse Projects. Get them straight from the aptly named Norse Store.

Scarves and Snoods

Moving further down the perfect map of the human body we arrive at the neck. It goes without saying that the scarf is the most popular and ubiquitous accessory for keeping the delicate area warm. Due to the scarf’s long history which dates all the way back to Ancient Rome (although it had a different purpose then), plenty of different styles and patterns exist. The most recognized combination is undoubtedly one made of wool featuring a plaid pattern. Fortunately, it’s nearly 2013 which means patterns and prints of all kinds are available including this festive print from Wood Wood available at Goodstead.

Another style that has taken off in recent years is the circle scarf or snood. These scarves loop into themselves and dangle around the neck a bit more freely than a traditional scarf. Used predominately by women for a majority of their existence, the snood recently saw a surge in popularity after soccer stars Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri began sporting them regularly. They became so popular afterwards and eventually faced enough resistance that they were outlawed by the International Football Association Board on the grounds that snoods, “may pose a risk to player’s necks if jerked from behind.”

Contemporary men’s snoods are a bit looser than their soccer equivalents and come in a variety of styles from monochromatic to Fair-Isle. If you’re into the holiday spirit check out this offering from River Island available at Asos.

Mittens and Gloves

Going southward we arrive at one of the body’s most useful and exquisite features – the hands. What was once limited to bulky mittens is now an expanding field featuring technologically advanced gloves that allow you to play with your smart device while keeping warm. Classic mittens are by no means outdated however; take this pair from Moncler for instance available at Colette. They feature quilted goose down and feathers along with brown nappa leather patches – perfect for walking around like a gentleman before crouching down to pack a snowball to throw at little kids that annoy you for no palpable reason.

If you’re in search of something a little more hobo chic, look no further than fingerless gloves. These are perfect when a little more tactility is needed in your daily routine. On the other hand (get it?), maybe you just want people to notice your beautifully manicured nails. Either way fingerless gloves, more often than not, are handy (get it again?). These erotic looking leather gloves from Nonnative are a good choice for the sadomasochist in all of us. Pick up a pair from LN-CC.

A more recent development in finger warming technology is the smart glove. Designed to interface with your smart device, the gloves feature conducive thread allowing you to text without removal. A simpler, though not as technologically advanced solution, are gloves that allow your fingers to peek through like this pair from Chari & Co NYC.

Of course you can always keep it classy and simple like these Neo Rotor Gloves from Libertine Libertine available at SOTO. It’s easy to go day after day without appreciating the involuntary awesomeness of the hands so do yourself a favor and pick up a warm pair of gloves designed to match your daily needs.

Socks

Heading further down and bypassing other important features of the human body we arrive at the feet. Although the heel portion of the foot is already home to the body’s thickest skin, cold weather veterans know the foot’s constant proximity to snow deserves extra care. Cashmere is the warmest and most comfortable of options like this top-notch pair by The Elder Statesman available at Mr. Porter.

Wool socks are a good bet as well like these bad boys by Nonnative available at LN-CC. They’re even called Logger Socks in case you were wondering how much they exceeded your far less demanding needs.

There you have it. If you’re not warm enough between multiple layers of carefully chosen clothing in addition to these accessories, then you’re either doing something wrong or you need to move right away to a warmer climate. Seriously those are the only 2 options. Thankfully, yours truly is off to LA in a matter of hours and won’t have to deal with the existential crisis inducing cold for the next few weeks. But for those who do – take heed and good luck!

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