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Carhartt's Most Popular Product Is This Basic Beanie

Simplicity aside, the A18 Watch Hat is just a damn good beanie.

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Available in an endless array of colors, Carhartt's Knit Cuffed Beanie — aka the A18 Watch Hat — represents the quintessential one-and-a-half-season accessory. When fall turns brisk, it goes from nice out to suddenly cold, and you put on a beanie. It's as simple as that. Some of you reading this might be wondering what else there is it to know. Carhartt makes a cool beanie, I get it. Maybe you muttered something like this to yourself: "Beanies are basically all the same, no?"

You're half right. Just as T-shirts are generally the same shape, save for different necklines, sleeve lengths and hem shapes, beanies are all, well, head-shaped. There are cuffed beanies — which Carhartt's is — ribbed ones, bobble ones, slouchy ones, and even ultra-small ones (aka Fisherman beanies). Further, for some, mostly a stubborn few from streetwear circles, the beanie's become a year-round accessory, marked by an embellished cuff that sits just above the ears. You can wear this Carhartt one like that, if you adjust the standard cuff to fold more like those, but the workwear brand's iteration is most commonly worn the way it was intended: pulled down over the ears with the logo out front.

Everyone from David Beckham, ASAP Rocky, and Harry Styles to Jonah Hill, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Frank Ocean have been spotted wearing one. It's one of those rare products that balances being both high and low, acclaimed yet for the masses, cultish in its success and yet still accessible.


The Good

The numbers: At just $17 (sometimes $45 on Amazon depending on the color), the Carhartt Knit Cuffed beanie is an accessorial must-have almost everyone can afford. Plus, my notes aside, 88-percent of its online reviews include five-star ratings.

The fit and feel: Even for those with unarguably large heads (like me), the beanie's big enough to slide all the way down over the ears without making the crown of your head feel like it's caught in a finger trap. However, at the cuff, the second layer of fabric (and its embedded elastic) acts as an anchor, not only securing it on your head but ensuring your ears stay warm, too.

The look: The available colors make finding a shade right for you easy, especially if you're seeking a high visibility hue like Brite Lime, Brite Orange or Cantaloupe. There are objectively cooler ones, too, like the classic Carhartt Brown, Winter White, and a few Heather variations.

carhartt basic beanies

The Bad

The fit: Carhartt's beanie is one-size-fits-all. As such, some have cited both extreme tightness to the point of the cap slingshotting off their scalp and excess fabric that envelops their entire head. It's a unisex style so it's not always perfect, but it's as universal as they come. I'll admit, though, the embedded elastic can be a tad tight. By the end of the day, like snug pants or shoes, there's a sigh of relief that comes with slinking out of it.

The fabric: This isn't a luxe toque cut from ultra-fine fabric. It's 100-percent acrylic. There are nicer, from a material standpoint, beanies that are a wallet-busting upgrade, and for those who care about wearing clothing and accessories cut from textiles that are more eco-friendly, this may be an option worth forgoing altogether.

The logo: For those seeking something more subtle, a noticeable, although definitely not large, logo probably isn't the move — especially if you don't usually wear workwear. However, in a more traditional color like navy, green, brown or black, the beanie looks less worksite-ready and more like something you can rock every day.

The Verdict

I have few, if any, real issues with Carhartt's classic beanie. Whatever minor qualms I have with it are outweighed by both its affordability and its availability. Plus, they really work. They've kept me plenty warm through winters in New York, hikes in Colorado, and blustery weekdays in Western Pennsylvania.

Across the US, there are roughly 40 Carhartt brick-and-mortar stores. Plus, there are thousands of other retailers that carry Carhartt, and sites like Amazon that list the brand's products online. Needless to say, your battle to find this beanie — even in a pinch — will be short fought.


Knit Cuffed Beanie

Carhartt amazon.com
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