The beanie, soft, warm and shapeless until it's pulled onto your head and over your ears - has been around for centuries.
Whether you call it a beanie, a toboggan, a watch cap, a toque, a skullcap or just a cap might depend on where you live and how old you are. The cap's roots go back to the Monmouth cap in Medieval England, where it was everyday wear for workers and tradesmen who needed to keep their hair back, but for whom a brim would be an unnecessary obstruction. It made its way to the New World with sailors and was adapted by lumberjacks, farmers and anyone else who needed to keep warm. According to The Word Detective, skateboarders in the 1990s started calling the caps "beanies" -- and the name has stuck.