Ready to try a new accessory for winter? Consider a chic balaclava. Balaclavas have been around for a few fashion cycles but some trends, like the balaclava, take a few seasons for people to come around to fully embracing them. The first versions we saw were full face coverings that were a bit extreme for most tastes. Fashions latest iterations are surprisingly wearable. They feature full face openings, pretty embellishments, and luxe fabrications. Read on to learn more about the balaclava and discover 6 balaclavas that are worthy of a spot in your winter hat lineup.

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What is a Balaclava?

A balaclava is a type of headwear that covers the entire face–much like a ski mask. Balaclavas were worn during the Battle of Balaclava (hence their name) in 1854 during the Crimean War. They were knit headgear designed to keep British soldiers warm. They’ve come a long way since then. Today, some range from full coverage of the face with only the eyes and nose revealed to partial coverage where the entire face is visible.

Who wears Balaclavas?

Athletes wear them to stay warm while they’re training or playing outdoors in cold weather. People who enjoy winter sports like skiing or snowboarding wear them to stay warm in extreme temperatures. Trendsetters are wearing balaclavas to stay warm AND to make a fashion statement.

How do you wear a Balaclava?

Easy. Slip it on over your head. Some are like a hood that can be worn as as a cowl when you push it down around your neck. Others have zip closures, button snaps, or drawstring.

When do you wear a Balaclava?

Whenever you want! Wear one when the temps drop in fall or winter.

Why wear a Balaclava?

Wear them to beat the winter chills or wear one to switch up your winter routine. If you love wearing beanies, try on a balaclava with a full face opening for a change.