Bundle up, it is cold outside. This is a familiar phrase at this time of year when the temperature drops and the snow starts to fall. Just as important as providing your hands and feet with extra protection in the colder weather, it makes good common sense that wearing a hat will help you stay warm during the winter time. Remember that beyond having good fashion sense, we need to look after the amount of heat we lose to the environment as warm-blooded animals. Scientifically speaking, you can lose heat through a process called convection. That’s what scientists call it when cold air passes over exposed parts of your body. On a cold day, that can be your head if you are not wearing a hat.
Finding the right hat for walking the dog or a daily commute to the office does not have to be complicated. Whether you choose a basic ribbed knit wool toque with a turned-up fold, a slouchy fit ribbed knit beanie hat, or a secure-fitting flat style ski cap, warmth and comfort are the most important features in winter head wear.
Your parents might have said your head is where you lose the most heat to the cold weather. While pediatricians dispel that myth, they do say that wearing a hat will cut down on the amount of heat you lose to a cold environment. For example, if someone throws a snowball that hits you in the head, you can lose even more body heat through a process called conduction. Remember that people are at risk for frostbite and hypothermia if they’re exposed to cold weather long enough.
Winter hats come in a variety of fabrics. While wool is a popular choice, some people find this material too itchy to wear on their head. Other, more versatile materials include high-quality fleece that is warm and breathable and wool/acrylic, nylon/wool and wood/cotton/nylon blends. Soft shell winter hats are made from soft stretch woven fabrics that are water-resistant and lightweight to fit comfortably under a helmet when skiing, snowboarding or sledding, but are also extremely warm and can be stuffed easily inside a jacket pocket when not in use. Look for a hat with a circular knit pattern designed to hug the contours of your head in a style large enough to cover over temples and protect sensitive ear lobes. Fleece-lined wool hats or caps with ear flaps that tie under-the-chin provide excellent protection against below-zero wind chill temperatures.
Some people avoid wearing hats altogether to prevent flattened and hair static. Hats made from soft wool like 100% cashmere or mohair will help bypass “hat hair” while keeping your head warm and comfortable in style. Choosing a hat in a slightly larger size than one that hugs your head snugly will also prevent hair looking flat and messy.
While hats are important to keep you warm during the coldest weather, they are also considered a fashion accessory, so it’s best to choose neutral colors when selecting a winter hat to match your winter coat and gloves.