Designer ballet flats, pocketbooks, and key chains are full of whimsy, thanks to a few cute pops of poof.

The trendlet

But on slouchy hats, pom-poms are not only reminiscent of winters gone by, they are adding an unexpected dose of style to our winter gear.

Where do they come from?

Pom-poms on hats can be traced back to 14th-century headgear called birettas worn by male clergy. The color of the pom-pom varied depending on his position in the church hierarchy.

In the 18th century, pom-poms were standard fair on the beanies of seamen and hunters, as the fuzzies were used to hide the finishings on top of the caps. Also called bobble hats, they were part of the working man's uniform, especially in the United Kingdom, where it was popular to wear them at soccer games.

Pom-pom hats became fashionable in the 1960s when Michael Nesmith, the guitar player for the Monkees, made the headgear his signature look. The hats would then show up as part of the cool kid's uniform in the era's groovy cartoons. (Then there was Mushmouth, on Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, never without his red pom-pom beanie.)

In about 2013, models began traipsing around New York Fashion Week tents with slouchy, pom-pom-less beanies on their heads. The marriage of the slouchy beanie and the pom-pom hat happened last winter, thanks to street style bloggers and front-and-center retail placement at Urban Outfitters and Target.

Who's wearing it?

Cara Delevingne, Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, and trendy fashionistas everywhere.

Would Elizabeth wear one?

Sure, why not? The bigger the pom-pom, the better.

Should you wear it?

Pom-poms have been elevated to hipster-chic status. In other words, you will look more happy than silly. And that's a good thing.


Hats courtesy of Hippy Spirit, at Gray and white hats are $105. Feather gray hat with brown pom-pom is $170.

Model: Genevieve Malandra. Hair courtesy of Jessica Pileggi. Makeup courtesy of DeAnna Diaz, both of Salon Rosa M, 948 Montgomery Ave., Narberth, 610-771-9900,