Beanies Keep your Bean Warm — just ask Mr. Bean


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A personal story in the newspaper peaked my curiosity. A father wrote about sending his son to school with a “beanie” because the temperatures had dropped. Since my own children are grown, I hadn’t heard that expression for a long time.

Come to find out, the word isn’t even dated. Beanie is just another term for hat, skull cap, baseball cap, stocking or ski cap. I did a search for its history and found “Hub Pages.” The links are below.

According to Hub, “Beanies have been very popular throughout the years in the fashion world. But where did they start? Who invented the beanie and why?

“The term “beanies” is a name that was coined in the early 20th century, and was a type of cap that was usually worn by boys. Other terms that this headgear is known by include dink, calotte and dinky.

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“They are also known as welder’s caps and skullcaps. The term “beanies” evolved from the American head-bean. No one really knows the origins for this odd expression, but we do know it’s also baseball slang.  A “bean ball” was a pitch aimed at the batter’s head, and to strike the batter in the head with a baseball pitch is known as “to bean” the batter.

“The term “beanies” became mainstream in the 1950s when the cartoon “Beanie and Cecil” became popular. The boy of the cartoon wore a beanie with a propeller on top.

“Today, “beanie” is used to describe headgear worn to protect someone’s head in cold weather, like a watch cap. A beanie can actually refer to different forms of head gear, but it is worn by nearly everyone in the sporting world. It has become casual wear, whether you’re wearing it at a game or not.

“Beanies are popular for winter sports, such as skiing, and sometimes include ear flaps. Beanies can be made of felt with different colors sewn together, or knit from wool or man-made fibers. They are mainly used for warmth.

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“In the early 20the century, the beanie was used to keep someone’s hair out of the way when work demanded it. A beanie kept hair away from the eyes so a worker could see.

Beanies eventually became popular with college students and were sometimes dyed school colors. Custom caps were created with school seals to match other school spirit clothing.” The model on the right is wearing a knitted cloche.

LINKS to HubPages

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I became familiar with the term “beanies” from reading Archie Comic Books. My dad was a hardworking welder during the day and a comic book addict in his down time. When he was finished, I devoured them and traded them with my friends.

I always had a huge stack of used comic books to read and to trade. On the job, my dad usually wore a baseball cap on backwards and put the welder’s mask over the top.

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Jughead, a friend of Archie’s was known for wearing a spiked beanie. Of course, when Mayberry aired on T.V. with Opie, Barney Fife, Sheriff Andy and Gomer Pyle, the beanie was again prominent.

download Earlier in the century, the character Spanky from the Our Gang show wore a beanie. Back then Beanies were designed for fashion, function, and especially worn to protect from cold weather. So there you have it!download (3)

Did I ever wear a beanie? Speaking Minnesotan “You betcha’!”  When our family lived in Bremerton, Washington my mother used to sew my sister and I felt beanies that matched our outfits. There wasn’t a lot of cold weather or snow up there, so that worked out well.


Writing this blog about “beans” and “beanies” brought memories back of the BBC Comedian Rowan Atkinson theatrically known as “Mr. Bean;” a man who obviously didn’t use his bean at all. My children and I spent many hours of laughter watching Atkinson’s facial contortions and predicaments. A few of his old shows are below.

Mr. Bean Videos

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We’re being Sold a Bill of Goods

"Reggae Night" acrylic on canvas

“Reggae Night” acrylic on canvas

Did you ever wonder why styles change – and so often?  Believe you me, it’s all about money!  You think men’s suits are tailored tight to show off their muscles? Wrong! Less material is required which translates into prices the consumer can afford and more profits for the manufacturer.

Some men definitely look good in the slim cut, but most do not. Masculine shoulders may appear smaller and midriffs larger. The overall impression is one of looking at a young man who has outgrown last year’s suit. The manufacturer can charge the same price as a regular cut garment and it costs him less or at least the same. This is one way to beat rising costs.

Women’s clothing is being handled in much the same way. The fashion world has convinced us that tight is sexy. The more cling a fabric has, the better. Some women would be better off not revealing so much. No longer can we cover love handles and inappropriate bulges on backs or thighs. Yet, we’ve been convinced that this is the ultimate in fashion.

Using skimpy foreign fabrics that seldom last as long as materials from previous years, the manufacturers are outsmarting us for higher profits. The consumer continues to pay inflated prices each year for less wear and minimal quality.

"Release" Panel 1 Tropical Parrot

“Release” Panel 1 Tropical Parrot

I have used Bali products for panties, girdles and bras for years. When I discovered that I could no longer get the same quality, I was angry. Their excuse for a girdle now is a flimsy synthetic fabric that is hot and makes you sweat. No longer can you find the substantial materials of yesteryear, and the prices are astronomical.

Whatever happened to that wave of hatred for polyester? Now that’s all they use. We’ve lost our love for natural fabrics like cotton, linen, wool and silk. They’ve all been replaced with synthetics because they supposedly “never need ironing.” But that’s a crock, because they almost always do.

"Dainty Diva" mixed media on canvas (SOLD) (synthetic fabric)

“Dainty Diva” mixed media on canvas (SOLD) (synthetic fabric)

Synthetics are hot. In Florida the newer fabrics stick to your bottom, and make you feel like you’re having hot flashes even when you’re not. The feminine fabrics are beautiful and irresistible, but most of them are sheer and require buying either a slip or lining and a tank top unless you’re willing to look like a hooker on Saturday night. Having to buy extra accessories means more sales, more profits.

The young don’t care about cost or comfort. I remember wearing stilettos when I was in my twenties. They were excruciatingly painful after wearing them for only a few hours, but we wore them anyway. I blame them for the arthritis I have in my feet today. Youth will sacrifice ease for beauty any day of the week, and the manufacturers are all too eager to make that happen.

Vindication – What Goes Around Comes Around

"The Pose" 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas

“The Pose” 16 x 20 acrylic on canvas

When we moved into our villa, everything was white; the tiled floors, the walls, the cupboards. We watched the trends go from white to color and from pastels to bright and bold. Through it all, we stoically held our own as we watched our friends slather on reds, golds, teals, and yellows.

Our dark bold furnishings complimented our world of white. I did admire the bright gleam of graceful white flowers and white woodwork against the latest trending colors, but we stood firm on grounds of economics and the fact that our walls were freshly painted when we moved in.

Trends have a way of reaching their peak. People tire of intensity and they long for peace and non-distraction. Enter the new white; not only exhibited on walls and cupboard doors, but in furnishings. The scuffed up well-worn white of yesteryear has been replaced by shiny smooth. We’re back in style! Vindication — oh, sweet reprieve!

"Home at Last" 26 x 20 acrylic on canvas
“Home at Last” 26 x 20 acrylic on canvas

The same holds true for clothes. If you leave them hanging in your closet long enough they will be back in style in a few short years. What goes around does come around.

Styles and trends also cycle in the art world; but if you go back far enough, you’ll find some of the same trends with a slight twist.

Today’s trendy art boasts a large following of buyers. It is hip, techie, and speaks to the young at heart. Ignore the trends if you must, or climb on board and take advantage of the upswing; in either case, as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Passion, though a bad regulator, is a powerful spring.”

But don’t let your heart or your eyes be fooled. Even though art is trending free and wild, the successful still follow the tried and true rules of color theory and composition. In fact, this is the very reason an artist is able to get away with so much. Knowing what colors to use, how, and when is the key to their popular draw. Rules of composition still apply, perhaps even more so as the subjects and images become more outlandish.

Andy Warhol once said that “rules are meant to be broken.” Knowing how to break them creatively and within the bounds of good taste is another matter. Once you know all the rules that govern art, then choosing which one you will break for a given effect is not stupid, it’s creative license.

"Café Costa Rica" 20 x 20 acrylic on canvas

“Café Costa Rica” 20 x 20 acrylic on canvas

My own journey has been one of trial and error. I’ve always been a non-conformist of sorts, and my internal creativity screams at sameness, blandness, duplication, or compliance with other people’s rules of beauty or completeness.

We’re told as artists that we should be “loose,” and that we should “fly.” But at the same time, our journey is bound by strict compliance to certain codes of behavior and performance. I don’t know about you, but I get confused. I’m hoping something “clicks” sooner than later!