Scroll To See More Images
Some trends take time to grow on me. I distinctly remember hating kitten heels, pointed-toe shoes, and even ripped jeans when they started to make their way into mainstream fashion. Now, you’ll find me frequently wearing a pointed-toe kitten heel with jeans so ripped, my dad asks if I paid extra for the holes. When it comes to my personal style, the lesson I’ve learned is that I can’t knock it until I try it. With a little confidence—and a “What Would Carrie Bradshaw Wear?” mentality—I truly believe anything can be made to look cool. Today’s example: the balaclava trend.
For those unfamiliar with the term, a balaclava (not to be confused with baklava, the delicious pastry dish) is a knit cap for the head and neck. Some balaclavas cover everything but the eyes, while some look more like a hood, leaving most of your face exposed. To my knowledge, they first rose to popularity back in 1854 at the Battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War, when British troops used them to protect their faces from the freezing cold. Write that down!
This means that it has only taken me 168 years to get behind the trend. I only wish I’d gotten onboard sooner to have saved my poor skin from my first few freezing winters in NYC.
Jokes aside, balaclavas are incredibly functional, and it seems everyone is rocking them right now. But just because they’re new to street style trends doesn’t mean they’re new to the fashion world! Designers like Raf Simons have been sending the knit headwear down the runway since 2018—and the above looks are proof. His original design now comes with an $800 price tag on Grailed.
Thankfully, retailers with more accessible price points have started to add balaclavas to the winter accessory collections. Once I decided I was a balaclava stan, I immediately bought reasonably-priced options from Zara and Target. After wearing them out for a few coffee dates, I can confirm that they are incredible.
Plus, my balaclavas made it so I could go out with wet hair and zero makeup and nobody would ever know!
I vow to grab a balaclava instead of a beanie for the rest of the winter season—and I am excited to invest in a higher quality (let’s be real, bigger fashion statement) version. If you’re bold enough to follow suit, read on for my favorite balaclava picks.
Our mission at STYLECASTER is to bring style to the people, and we only feature products we think you’ll love as much as we do. Target is a STYLECASTER sponsor, however, all products in this article were independently selected by our editors. Please note that if you purchase something by clicking on a link within this story, we may receive a small commission of the sale.
Jacquard Knit Hood
This balaclava is my favorite since, as it’s the one I purchased! I love the happy color combo and can confirm that it looks cute with a puffer jacket or a trench.
If you want warm, full-face coverage from a balaclava, you can’t beat this colorful knit piece from Target. For $12, it’s also a great option if you are in the experimental phase of the trend.
Knitted Balaclava in Beige
This hood-style balaclava is a little more low-key—and it ties under the chin for optimal warmth.
Purple Knit Balaclava
This chunky rib-knit balaclava comes in 3 colors and is a great budget friendly option. Thank you, Target!
If a baseball hat is more your speed, this sporty balaclava with an incorporated brim is a fun way to participate in the trend.
Brown All Over Moon Balaclava
I have my eye on this Marine Serre stretchy nylon balaclava for skiing—it is so much cooler than a classic black ski hood and it’s on sale!