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The Balaclava Edit: : An Unexpectedly Sensible AW23 trend


Balaclavas: Seem slightly mad. Actually v sensible. ( l-r Heliot Emil, Baum und Pferdgarten, Maxmara, Proenza Schouler, Gucci @vogue.com


The balaclava. It may not be something you have ever considered an essential wardrobe item, and it's true that previous associations, with toddlers of parents with a homespun leaning, any family friendly film baddie, and all ski instructors ever might not have rendered the balaclava sartorially desirable. However. Things are changing, and not just in a flighty fashion way. You might not have noticed, but the balaclava has been stealthily creeping up on us for the last few seasons, yes on the catwalks but equally irl, often disguising itself by means of its gentler cousins: The 'hood, the 'bonnet' or the 'snood' Because, lets be honest, the name balaclava, with its military history (It was originally hand knitted by women during the Crimean war for the chilly British troops to wear under their helmets at the Battle of Baclava) and its unfortunate 'stranger on a dark night' connotations, has perhaps needed a 2023 rebrand. So let's look at the facts: From a practical POV, it ticks all the boxes. A separate hood means easy restyling of any knitwear or sweatshirt as hoodie, and is surely the ultimate in frugal chic for outerwear, removing the need for both hat and scarf; It's multi-task-ability also makes it a sensible piece for investing in quality knits from sustainable, independent and luxury brands, with the idea of wardrobe longevity; Plus for those of us for which turkey neck is becoming any kind of a thing- bam- it sorts that too. All the while serving the appeal of something that feels 'new', and with a frisson of Gen Z adventurousness, which is excellent (and important) to indulge at any age. Oh and it's the perfect option should we ever find ourselves back wearing masks.

Here's my edit of everything from the loose hood (level: beginner) to the snug cap style, (level: advanced) and everything in between. PS for the knitters amongst us i've also linked a vintage knitting pattern, of which there are many brilliant options on Etsy.


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