You have likely heard of beanies but may be unfamiliar with toques unless you have visited or lived in Canada. Are there any differences between beanies and toques? Continue reading to learn the answer to this question and more.

beanie vs toque What Are The Differences?

What Is a Toque?

If you know any Canadians or have visited the country during the winter, you may have heard about natives wearing toques. A toque is a small, fitted brimless hat that folds to create an extra layer of fabric to keep your head warm.

These hats are often made of wool, and you may see them called tuques. These hats may also be made of other fabrics, including cotton. Although they are popular in Canada, this country is not the only one to wear toques.

For instance, you may hear the British calling this hat a balaclava. The word toque comes from French entering English in Canada. The term toque always means a knitted cap.

Handmade toques - red and green
Handmade toques

How Do You Pronounce Toque?

Toque may be a foreign word to you, so do not feel bad if you cannot pronounce it correctly. Native Canadians grow up hearing this word, so it comes easy to them. Outside of Canada, many people do not know how to pronounce toque.

If you are wondering how to pronounce toque, you say it like “toooke” with a strong emphasis on the “ouuu” sound. When pronouncing toque, you are making an owl sound.

What Is a Beanie?

In the United States, a beanie is a seamed brimless cap that is often knitted. These caps are frequently made from three triangular knitted pieces that are stitched together.

Australians also call these caps beanies. In the United Kingdom, this same hat is referred to as a Benny hat.

Although the exact etymology of the term beanie is unknown, these caps once featured a cloth-covered button at the junction of the seams, which was about the size of a bean.

If you are into pop culture, you probably remember the infamous propeller beanie that came out in 1947. Interestingly, artist Ray Nelson created this hat on a lark. The hat became a big hit and ended up selling many units over the next decade.

Beanie winter hats
Beanie winter hats

What Is the Difference Between Toques and Beanies?

You now know more about the two caps, but what are their differences? When it comes to the distinctions, there really are not any. The term toque is a synonym for a beanie, so they are essentially the same thing.

The main difference is the words themselves. The term toques are only used in Canada, while the term beanie is used in many English-speaking countries.

There is also one other difference between toques and beanies. Toques are primarily made of thick wool or cotton and are used for keeping the head warm during the winter. Beanies, on the other hand, may be made of much thinner material and worn at different times during the year for fashion’s sake.

Depending on the type of beanie, you may also discover another distinction between the two. Beanies are often considered slouchier than toques because of the added fabric at the top.

Some people say you can tell the difference between toques and beanies because toques have a small pom-pom on the top, but this is not always the case. Not all toques have pom-poms, so this may not be an identifiable difference.

Lady wearing a beanie hat
Lady wearing a beanie hat

What Is the Right Way to Wear a Toque?

Most people in Canada wear toques folded, so they have an extra layer of warmth. Since temperatures can drop below zero in some parts of Canada during the winter, people need to make sure their heads are warm.

Some people wear toques without any fold to protect their ears from frostbite. If you do not have any ear protection, this would be the best way to wear a toque.

What Is the Proper Way to Wear a Beanie?

While there is a standard way to wear a beanie, people wear them in many different ways. The following offers some ways you can wear a beanie any time of the year.

  • If you are wearing a beanie during the winter, do not cuff it. Instead, pull it down over your ears to keep them warm.
  • Cuff the beanie once or twice to create the classic fisherman’s look.
  • Cuff the beanie once and pull it to the top of your head, avoiding your ears. This style is called the high-top.
  • The Robin Hood look involves cuffing the beanie once in the back and wearing it loosely on top of the head so that there is extra fabric at the top.
  • If you want the David Beckham, do not cuff the beanie. Push it as far back on your head as possible and allow the excess fabric to bunch up in the back.
Man wearing a beanie hat
Man wearing a beanie hat

Beanies and Toques Are Essentially the Same

Now you know these two hats are essentially the same thing. They do have a couple of slight differences. You will mostly find the term toque used in Canada and nowhere else.

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