Last year, a surprising accessory trend caught on with the maximalist fashion crowd, turning standard tops and dresses into statements with one simple addition: the detachable prairie collar. Ganni debuted them during fall ‘20 Copenhagen Fashion Week, followed soon after by Tory Burch in New York and Alberta Ferretti in Milan. Before long, they were everywhere, lining the necks of Instagram influencers with exaggerated taste, like Blanca Miro, Imani Randolph, and Emili Sindlev. But no matter its styling capabilities, a doily-like collar doesn’t stand a chance against winter weather. For that, you'll need another accessory entirely. And according to Instagram and runways alike, that accessory is a balaclava.
Once worn only by bank robbers and outdoor sportsmen, balaclavas are, quite simply, knit hats that you pull over your whole head, with an opening for your eyes. (According to Time, they were named after the Battle of Balaclava, a battle during the Crimean War, during which Ukranian soldiers wore similar hat-mask hybrids.) These days, balaclavas have undergone somewhat of a makeover. They’re now cuddlier, friendlier, and much cuter — more of a fashion statement than a utility item, though, we’ve found that they’ve been really useful in reinforcing our face mask(s) this winter.
They’ve been a recurring favourite among the colourful and heavily accessorised Instagram feeds of Michelle Li and Poppy Almond. Paired with chunky sweaters, an aggressive number of chain necklaces, and oblong-shaped sunglasses in pastel shades, you almost wouldn’t believe the balaclavas of 2021 are actually meant to keep you warm, rather than doll up a look at a moment’s notice.
They also appeared on autumn ‘21 Fashion Month runways, where designers ranging from Tod’s and Lemaire to Bevza debuted balaclavas alongside knit co-ords, furry coats, and slouchy suits in much more tranquil shades of cream, caramel, chocolate, and white.
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