Pom-Poms — Why Beanies Have Them

When winter arrives, beanies are the first few things we grab from our closets. They are so versatile that not only do they keep us warm, but they also add more character to our daily outfits. As you brave through the cold in your warm beanie, you may encounter beanies with pom-poms worn by both men and women, but do you ever wonder what those fluffy balls are for and why beanies have them?

Beanies have pom-poms mainly for decorative reasons, as those fluffy balls make beanies look better. During the Great Depression, adding a pom pom to a beanie was a cheap way to decorate one’s clothing. In Scandinavia, pom poms were inspired by the Viking God Freyr.

Grab your pom-pom beanie and let’s get started.

Selection of beanies with pom poms
@SnappyPete via Twenty20

Freyr Wore a Beanie With a Pom-Pom

Poms-poms are not everyone’s cup of tea, but if you love them, it’s worth knowing why they’re on your beanies in the first place. In terms of functionality, they don’t serve any significant role in keeping you warm, but they add more character to your outfits.

The Viking God Freyr’s figurine found in 1904 was wearing a helmet with a pom-pom. The question is, what was the purpose of the pom-pom? 

Speculatively, the pom-pom was used to hide the hat’s finishing. The Vikings used a fabric creation technique called the Nålebinding, which was older than knitting and crocheting. The method would leave exposed seams, which probably explained why people would add a pom pom on their hat during those times. Today, some people add a pom-pom to give their beanies a tidier and more sturdy finishing.

Pom-Poms Are Functional

Pom poms are functional because if you take a look at the cap worn by the Royal Ecossais in the 18th century in France, you may notice grey threads joining the cap’s panels that create a tassel at the top of the cap. Perhaps today’s pom beanies were inspired by French soldiers’ pom-pom hats serving under Napoleon.

The company of which a particular soldier served could be identified by looking at the color of their pom-pom: 

  • Green 
  • Light blue 
  • Orange 
  • Violet

The Scottish Highland regiments also wore pom-poms on their Balmoral bonnet, which shows that poms-poms weren’t just used for giving hats better structure, but were also significantly used in the military.

Pom-Poms Are Fashionable

Experienced and skillful knitters add pom poms to give their handmade beanies more character, not mainly to cover the imperfection. History has shown that pom-poms have existed for hundreds of years, as medieval people had pom-poms on their clothing.

Why would medieval people have pom-poms on their clothing? Maybe pom-poms were used to make their clothing look more attractive, or perhaps they used pom-poms to hide construction details to give their clothing a more smooth look. 

Martha Stewart mentioned on her website previously that during the Great Depression, people would decorate their clothing with pom-poms because it was a cheap way to embellish their outfits.

In the mid-1960s, pom-poms became increasingly popular, thanks to Michael Nesmith from the band “The Monkees,” who was famous for wearing a bobble hat and even attended his Monkees audition in the bobble hat. It’s amazing how a celebrity could have such a significant impact on a piece of item, something we still see today. 

Check out these popular pom-pom hats on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Discover 12 more intriguing facts about beanies here. The beanies today have pom-poms mainly for decorative reasons. They can give our beanies more character and complement our outfits. Beginner knitters who want to achieve a finished look for their beanies can use pom-poms.

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