Head's up: the dock hat

Oliver Spencer’s dock hat references the classic beanie style, which has passed through the hands of many a subculture on its way to popularity today. Ours is a classic shallow-fit knitted wool beanie in a heavy gauge, double-layered rib knit, so going cold isn't an option. It features a ribbed foldover cuff and is great to top off a modern workwear look.

DOCK HAT RIB RUST

DOCK HAT RIB RUST

DOCK HAT RIB NAVY

DOCK HAT RIB NAVY

It's thought that some form of the beanie has been around since the Viking days, when northern marauders would keep their heads warm with a knitted wool tophue (a simple knitted hat)Canadians in the 12th and 13th centuries were wearing something similar, called a tuque. The Welsh also have a claim to the first beanies, thanks to their 'Monmouth caps' dating back to about the 12th century.

Michael Nesmith of the Monkees

Michael Nesmith of the Monkees was an early adopter in the counter-culture years in the US.

 

Whatever the origins were, beanies only really became widespread in the 1950s when they were adopted by American university students, often do with freshman hazing rituals! Even today, freshmen at Benedictine College in Kansas still wear them to class – the only US college to maintain this tradition. These types of beanies are not the ones that you or I think of today however. They were more like brimless caps constructed from triangular panels of cotton that sat on the head more like a skull cap.

Freshman beanie caps were quite different in form and function from the styles today. 

Freshman beanie caps were quite different in form and function from the styles today.
DOCK HAT RIB GREY

DOCK HAT RIB GREY

DOCK HAT RIB BLACK

DOCK HAT RIB BLACK

The dock hat that we have created for this season more closely references the knitted hats worn by blue collar workers such as dockers, builders and anyone on a picket line in the winters of the 70s. Typically constructed from coarse wool, the beanie became emblematic of a solidarity among the working class, and in turn filtered into popular culture, particularly through music.

LIFE magazine image of WWII submariners wearing beanie hats.

LIFE magazine image of WWII submariners wearing beanie hats.

 

The cultural significance of the likes of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh in their Rasta hats also gave hat wearing more than just a functional purpose. A beanie could be interpreted as a political statement as well as a style one, and was wholly adopted by the Beat movement in the 60s and 70s.

 

DOCK HAT RIB ECRU

DOCK HAT RIB ECRU

DOCK HAT RIB OCHRE

DOCK HAT RIB OCHRE

Today, the beanie has much less to do with your cultural leanings as it does with your personal style. As a functional winter accessory, its utility goes without saying, while as a style motif, it adds a definable element of workwear heritage to your look. 

 Shop this season's hats and gloves here.

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