What Temperature Is Acceptable for a Guy to Wear a Beanie?

Yesterday morning, while commuting on a musty subway car from Brooklyn to the Content Tower, I saw at least two guys sweating in their struggle beanies. It’s been raining nonstop here in New York City, and the temperature was in the mid- to high-60s. One of them was even wearing a T-shirt, as if this were Los Feliz.

The visual incongruity of guys in beanies when it was at most light jacket weather was somewhat destabilizing. It was summer like, what, last week? Anyway. I’m a jungle Asian from Southern California and a longtime beanie enthusiast, partially because everyone I grew up with wanted to dress like Brandon Boyd. (Maybe that’s what the T-shirt guy on the train was going for.) Beanies look good on guys; that’s why we are eager to wear them.

Nevertheless, I started to wonder what the correct temperature for wearing a beanie is, and, after several minutes of critical thinking, I’ve landed on what I believe to be the right answer…

62 degrees.

69 degrees? Ick. Still too warm. 61 degrees? That’s a little nippy, king. Your chilly head could probably use a little hug. 🙂

62 is perfect because it gives you plausible deniability versus, say, 63. You don’t have to present an argument for wearing a beanie. People don’t question your decision. You have the freedom to just go for it and mat that unruly hair down. That 2 does a heroic amount of work.

I posed my 62 degree theory to a couple of my colleagues. Eileen Cartter, who writes beautifully about men’s style, doesn’t think guys should wear beanies in weather above 53 degrees. “54 degrees, still mild,” she said. “But I also grew up in New England so maybe I have a skewed sense of temperateness.” She also drinks iced coffee in winter, so perhaps her cold takes make her an outlier, like a yeti, or Ben Affleck smiling while holding an iced coffee from Dunkin’.

When I asked if 62 degrees for beanie weather sounds right to our style editor Yang-Yi Goh, first he had to do a few quick conversions from Celsius (because Canadian) but he ultimately agreed that 62 was the correct number. “62 is 16(ish) degrees C, which is basically like when things start to feel nice and crisp,” he said. “17 degrees C to a Canadian is still very much shorts weather lol.” Please note I did not convert those numbers to check his math (because American).

Can you wear a beanie when it’s hotter than 62 degrees? Of course. You are a grownup. But you run the risk of strangers squinting at you judgingly, and leave space for them to wonder what kind of acoustic guitar you own. (It’s a Squier.) 62 degrees? That’s unimpeachable, beautiful beanie weather.

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