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“It’s a cozy little sweater for your head!” Oh dear. In my Christmas stocking is another beautiful toque, handmade, colourful and pom-pom lovely.
“Put it on! Let’s see it on you.” Oh no. It’s going to itch. My body is breaking out in a sweat already, just thinking about it. Nope, I can’t do it.
“I’m sorry, I’m sensitive to wool,” I say.
My friends and family know and understand my reasons for swearing off acrylic and polyester clothing. But they still want me to be warm and cozy for winter – and I do love them for that. However, gift giving of fuzzy, warm things isn’t so easy when wool items are also off the wish list.
Here are some itch-free and eco-friendly options for keeping your head warm this winter.
More frequently than I care to admit, I’m jealous of kids’ clothing. Babies, in particular, seem to have it pretty good and easy. One-piece organic cotton outfits, with the socks and mitts attached, AND a matching hat? Ok, the one-piece is impractical for anyone past the diaper years, but those hats they all seem to have! Love them.
One independent company that makes some pretty eye-catching headgear is Modern Baby, a Victoria-based mother-daughter duo that I’ve just heard about through my playground mommy network. All of their hats are made with 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton knit done up in thoroughly modern prints. Their newborn hats are beanie style and their larger sizes have a slight slouch, giving them a hip look.
In photos: Modern Baby Hipster Hat in Polar Bear, Mint Triangles, and Mountain (MB Exclusive) $14 – $20, available online. Photo credit: Ryan MacDonald Photography.
I haven’t been able to find an adult-sized version of that organic cotton hipster hat yet, but Patagonia has an “Alpine Hat” made from fast-drying Synchilla polyester fleece (80-85% recycled), that’s intriguing to me because of its poor online reviews.
Let me explain. I love Patagonia not because I’m an outdoorsy, sporty type, but because I respect their corporate values. I don’t often have a need for their style of clothing in my life, but I will often wander into their store or their online shop just because I like to support what they do.
Online, the photos of the Alpine Hat don’t particularly move me. The description, that they’re “built for the mountain enthusiast” confirms that this hat didn’t really have me in mind. However, when I saw these customer reviews: “…this hat [is] so incredibly tall” and “…the top of it is far above the top of my head.” I was excited enough to get myself into the Patagonia store to investigate whether this was the toque for me.
“Please, please let it have the perfect slouch,” I prayed as I went in to the bricks-and-mortar Patagonia downtown. And yes, it did.
In photo: Patagonia Synchilla Alpine Hat in Bleached Stone $39, available online. Photo courtesy Patagonia.
In my hunt to find the perfect itch-free and eco-friendly head covering for myself this season, I came across Lajla Nuhic, a Vancouver artist with an architectural background who likes to make hats using unusual and high quality yarns, including hemp, linen, silk, mohair and alpaca.
Lajla’s creations are fun and exquisite in style and comfort. I met her just as she was getting stock ready for the big Christmas craft markets in Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto.
Hand making a hat a day, she had boxes and boxes filled with every colour and shape of fuzzy, toque goodness you can imagine. I tried on at least a dozen, and not a single one of them was wool.
Local, handmade, arty and eco: I had found my toque heaven.
In photos: Lajla Hats $110 – $150, available online. Photo credit: Emil Nuhic.