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Pom-Poms — Why Beanies Have Them

By Taylor James


Updated on

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. Adding a pom-pom to a beanie was a cheap way to decorate one’s clothing. In Scandinavia, pom poms were partly 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

Did Freyr Wear a Pom-Pom Hat?

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. There is debate about whether it really is a pom pom, but nevertheless, the pom pom on beanies remains popular in Scandinavia.

Speculatively, the pom-pom was used to hide the traditional 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 hats during those times. Today, some people add a pom-pom to give their beanies a tidier and more sturdy finish.

Check out these popular pom-pom styles on Amazon.

Pom-Poms in Military Hats

Soldiers across Europe wore hats with a form of pom-pom on their shakos. Napoleon’s armies wore these embellished hats and that may have inspired later trends.

Old military shako hats

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

Pom-Poms Are Fashionable

Experienced and skillful knitters add pom poms to give their handmade beanies more character. History has shown that pom-poms have existed for hundreds of years, as medieval people had pom-poms on their clothing.

Maybe pom-poms were used to make their clothing look more attractive, or they used pom-poms to hide construction details to give their clothing a more smooth look. 

People would also 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.

Final Thoughts

Discover 10 more intriguing facts about beanies here.

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

About Taylor James

As Philip Treacy once said, “How a hat makes you feel is what a hat is all about.” And on that note, I hope you enjoy your hats and find the site useful. Learn more about Hat Realm's Editorial Process.