How the balaclava became this winter’s biggest trend

With the rise of artisanal pieces like Instagram-friendly knits and colorful crochet bobs, it was only a matter of time before we were (re) introduced to another ‘must’ fashion trend. If you’ve been browsing your feed lately, you may have noticed that your favorite celebrities and influencers were wearing balaclavas this cold season. But what exactly is this knitted hoodie and why does it have to come back?

Although the style resembles a ski mask, the balaclava is a fitted and often knitted accessory that covers the head, neck and shoulders. He is from the Crimean War in the 1850s, which helped soldiers fight freezing temperatures during Russia’s brutal winters.

Now, the balaclava is associated with not only keeping you warm, but it also has apocalyptic overtones. Its protective and concealing qualities make the helmet almost threatening – think Purge vibrations, but make it fashionable. Over time, winter clothing has made its way onto the catwalks, like the fall 2018 shows by Calvin Klein and Gucci. After fading from our trending radar for a few years, the fashion style made a comeback in 2021, thanks to brands like Miu Miu, Eckhaus Latta and Marine Serre, all of whom recently presented their own take on the balaclava, using vibrant patterns. or touches of jewelry.

Daniele Venturelli / WireImage / Getty Images
Victor VIRGILE / Gamma-Rapho / Getty Images
Victor VIRGILE / Gamma-Rapho / Getty Images

According to the global fashion research platform Lyst, balaclavas and knitted balaclavas are currently having a moment online. Over the past two weeks, searches on the site have increased by 64%, with both full face and open face styles in high demand. In addition, the all-in-one shopping app Klarna also reported that between September and October 2021, there was a huge 498% increase in hood purchases.

It seems that celebrities have also contributed to the recent rise of this trend. Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, for example, have both been spotted several times in balaclava-inspired coverings this year, but Kardashian’s full appearance at the 2021 Met Gala (in head-to-toe Balenciaga, all black ) has reached mainstream. The balaclava revival is also widespread on TikTok, which reclaimed the “retro” accessory through videos of creators of their own crochet balaclavas or tips on how to style the knitted helmet.

As we get even closer to the territory of the descending temperatures, you may want to start regrouping. But don’t worry, you can still look stylish even in colder climates. While it might seem a little intimidating to style the balaclava at first, the knitted helmet is actually quite versatile.

For starters, the headgear has a variety of covering options, so you can wear any piece depending on your comfort level. The hooded look can be paired in a number of ways as well, as it features different prints, textures and colors to suit any mood. You can add a pop of color to a monochrome outfit, or achieve your inner maximalist by opting for more vibrant patterns and funky designs. Another styling tip, according to street style photos and Instagram shape photos, is to show off a bit of your hairline as well.

Edward Berthelot / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images
Edward Berthelot / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty Images

If you’d rather ditch the DIY methods and are looking for balaclavas to wear this winter, check out some of our favorite and most comfortable picks, from Paloma Wool and & Other Stories to Marine Serre and Miu Miu, coming soon.

We only include products that have been independently selected by the NYLON editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of the sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

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