Yarmulke Trends: Who says that fashion is only about what women wear?
by Rebecca Lederhausen
During pre-service schmoozing, the talk is usually about which woman is wearing the trendiest dress, or the most hideous skirt/blazer combo. Little attention is typically paid to what the men are wearing. Not too much is said about the standard shirt and tie—only some opt to spice things up a little with a pink shirt, perhaps, or a checkered pocket square.
But who says this can’t change? Lately, people have been paying more attention to–you guessed it–the kippah.
While subtly husband-searching—I mean, people watching—in the sanctuary, you may have noticed one of these trends from suede to hand knit kippahs. (Some boys even look like they’re wearing a yarmulke cut out from their grandmothers’ crochet table linen He may in fact just be a trendy guy. But one caution: girlfriends across the nation are making these for their boyfriends, so he may already be taken. Sorry.)
Unique kippahs are not necessarily a new trend, but rather a recurring theme in the yarmulke world. Back in the day, my own mother used to crochet yarmulkes for her boyfriends, and eventually, her future husband.
Today, girls across the world continue this tradition. Haley Schulman, a freshman at SUNY Binghamton, learned how to crochet while studying abroad on a gap year in Israel. Since returning to the States, she has been handing out hand-crafted yarmulkes to her dad and friends. She is also improving her technique and has now almost completed her first lettered yarmulke. She says that she enjoys crocheting yarmulkes because it’s a fun hobby, “plus it’s pretty cool when I see my friends walking around wearing yarmulkes I made for them.”
Here are some of the latest and greatest is kippah trends:
Anyone who has ever been to a bar or bat mitzvah knows that suede yarmulkes are a staple. Well, now there is an alternative for those who care about the environment as much as fashion. Many stores are starting to sell an eco-suede option, made from cardboard. But don’t expect to be able to scope out these eco-friendly yarmulkes anytime soon—they look just like the regular suede models. Either way, it is a great conversation starter. “Shalom! Want to feel my yarmulke? It’s not as smooth as you would think!”
A lesser known, but quite possibly future trend is the idea of a yarmulke and a baseball cap combo—the Yamulkap. They were introduced this past summer by a man in New York after he observed Orthodox boys playing Frisbee in Central Park. The boys were wearing yarmulkes instead of baseball caps, and they were not being protected from the harmful rays of the sun. It looks a little awkward, and it hasn’t fully caught on yet, but the Yamulkap is definitely something to consider when going on Birthright, especially in the hot summer months.
Not to be outdone, women’s yarmulkes are also becoming trendy. One unique and feminine model comes out of a small town in Illinois. A woman named Bonnie Fenton started wearing a yarmulke for worship and other Jewish gatherings, so her friend made her one out of wires and beads. After that, she created her own company, Byado, and soon she had orders coming in from individuals, as well as businesses. She mainly makes them for bar and bat mitzvahs, but she has completed orders for a few for brides, as well. She enjoys making them for “people who just want something a bit different,” she says. “It makes me smile to think about all the simchas that have a bit of an extra sparkle as the lights reflect off the beads of the kippot.”