I remember the first time I took note of the balaclava. It was a little over a year ago, at a crowded house party in deep Brooklyn. A lanky, twenty-something man wore a bright orange balaclava—despite the tropical microclimate created by all the packed, dancing bodies. He took nonchalant sips from a red Solo cup, mesmerizingly comfortable in his anonymity.
At that time, I viewed the moment as eccentric and kooky. Who wears a balaclava if they’re not in the arctic or planning a heist? Though balaclavas—also known as ski masks—have been popular for a long time in frigid locales such as Eastern and Northern Europe, they weren’t as common in a city like New York. But perhaps their relative out-of-placeness is what made them a great candidate for trend-forward New York style. Colorful, striped balaclavas like the ones sold by Fuego Online catches your eye, but also obscures the identity of the wearer. It places all your attention on the clothes, not the person.