They've become must-have celebrity headwear, but does that mean you should embrace the beanie? Jess McAllen isn't so sure.
Formerly the fashion choice of tradies and the forced headwear of babies, beanies are marking their mark on New Zealand style - but some say the trend is best left to young outdoorsy-types.
The head-hugging hat has always been a staple winter accessory but an increase in designer stores selling beanies and red-carpet celebrities being snapped in them is blurring the line between formal and casual attire.
TV3's David Farrier, who donned a beanie at the red-carpet premiere of The Dark Horse last week, is a fan of the trend.
"It helps cover my giant forehead, which is far too big. My hair is also a mess and grows too fast so a beanie just covers up my awful hair."
Shortland Street stars Tyler Read (who plays Evan Cooper) and Cameron Jones (Dallas Adams) are also donning beanies this winter.
Jones says: "It's a rising trend in male fashion and winter doesn't mean that you can't be fashionable."
However, Anabelle White, who teaches etiquette to businessmen, says beanies need to stay outside and it's very hard to look good in one.
"Broadly, it's appropriate for men between 18 and 25. Even George Clooney would struggle to look good in one as he's not the right demographic."
White says beanies are synonymous with wanting to hide something - like Farrier and his hair or someone who has woken up to the realisation they are balding.
This is no excuse to wear a beanie to a formal event, she says, unless beanie-wearers are undergoing medical treatment like chemotherapy.
"Most people having a dinner party in New Zealand would be a little disturbed by a guest sitting with a beanie on.
"The only way you can make it worse is sitting there with dark glasses, chewing gum, texting friends and wearing a fake tattoo."
White agrees the beanie has its occasional merits.
"If you are out walking the dog in the cold wind, on ski slopes or hiking in the bush - that's the place for the beanie. That's not to suggest red-carpet events should be hatless but a smart beret in winter or a fedora in summer makes much more of a statement."
As for Farrier, he's cooling on the idea. "It is quite annoying it's a trend, because here you are thinking you're being unique, then you just find out you're a muppet like everyone else."
THE PRICE OF BEANIES (highest to lowest)
Moreporks Beanie: $109.00
Zambesi Beanie: $90.00
Rodd & Gunn Cross Creek Beanie: $79.00
Huffer Downhill Beanie: $59.90
Rivet Basic Fluro Beanie (Warehouse): $4.00
- Sunday Star Times