A Case For the Beret

What is it about this hat? For the past few weeks I’ve been staring at it, trying to justify the price while figuring out how to incorporate it into my existing wardrobe. A hat cannot double as pants. A hat this expensive cannot double as an umbrella. And this hat, because it is a beret, risks the clichéd image of an American tourist skipping through Paris, baguette in arm, asking “Am I French yet?”

It also begs for the uninitiated to make comparisons to mimes.

Yet there is something about hats that projects a certain kind of confidence — they’re a sartorial dare that can thoroughly enhance or change an outfit. They’re also easy to remove and stuff in your bag if you decide you literally can’t even.

Maybe all the talk about barrettes and the half up half down hair solution has me gravitating towards a more polished look up top. Sure I love a good beanie, baseball hat, and even fedora, but I do think a case can be made for sporting a beret without resembling a caricature if done with the right sweater, skirt, and boots or (even sneakers and a slouchy pant).

Plus, sometimes it’s just fun to to look like you’re wearing a muffin on your head. Do you have strong feelings about berets? Air them out in the comments.

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  • I personally love them!

    http://www.FashionSnag.com

  • I LOVE my beret! I found a black wool one at Nordstrom Rack discounted at $7. I wore it all winter long last year. But I also don’t wear it like in the photographs, I cover my ears

    • Charlotte Fassler

      Ohhh that’s smart, so you wore it more like the Ferretti model in the last picture covering the tops of your ears? Makes more sense in terms of functionality. It’s why I am a fan of beanies.

  • Quinn Halman

    Charlotte, you don’t need to convince me! My mom told me when I was younger that I had a face for hats and I took it and I ran with it, regardless if it was just one of those things mothers say. I love all hats, excluding bucket.
    “No freedom till we’re equal, damn right I support it” -M(acklemor)e talking about hats

    • Charlotte Fassler

      hahah My dad used to tell me that too. I think it is because he thinks babies are adorable in hats and thinks they make me look like a baby? He also loves a good straw fedora so go figure.

    • You two have really nice parents. My mom told me that I shouldn’t wear hats.

      To be fair, all I wanted to wear at the time was a denim beret with a brim and rhinestone flowers… What are those called again? Newsboy hats? So maybe it had nothing to do with me personally now that I think of it…

      • Charlotte Fassler

        Sounds very Lizzie McGuire chic of you.

        • Oh, I wanted to be Lizzie so bad. Like, SO bad…

  • Cool! I haven’t thought about berets. I might have to give this a try.

    ~Andrea
    http://www.withloveandrea.com

  • Audrey

    I bought a red beret last year and absolutely love it! You go with it, Charlotte!

  • sold

  • Doesn’t anyone else think that they make people look kinda…phallic? Requiring millinery circumcision?

  • Lyric

    One of my best friends dated a guy in high school who kept buying her berets. She was not interested in wearing one so she “lost” the first one. He bought her another one and she told him she actually didn’t like berets. He then bought her another one in red instead of black, as though that might fix her dislike of berets.

    They broke up.

  • Thamsa

    Love them! I have big hair and they’re the only winter hats I can wear that don’t make me look ridiculous 🙂 I wish I could rock a slouchy beanie, but the beret is the only one for me.

  • No need to convince here! I love a good beret. What I find most attractive about them is not so much their French heritage but the way they are perceived through the eyes and the style of Americans, as a tenet of French style. That kind of creative, Warholian figure of the ’60s New York who was a thief of intellectual and aesthetic properties, but who wore/said/created the object infinitely better than its original creators.

    Actually, I’ve been thinking about getting back into wearing berets more recently because of Stacey Nishimoto’s Instagram. That woman can wear a beret, a cat-eye, and painter’s jacket with such preciseness. I love her look in conjunction to the industrial qualities of DTLA and dream-like qualities of surrounding neighborhoods.

  • From the ages of 11-14 I horded berets for no reason at all, but maybe I will put out that collection today and take one for a spin.

    http://tostylewithlove.com/
    Daphne

  • parkzark

    Man I just swoon over Marlene Dietrich in a beret. I love how she wore it perfectly perched on the side as well.

    • Also, she totally worked the penciled-on eyebrow. Not many people can say that. She, however, was the queen of said look.

      • parkzark

        I wholeheartedly agree. It takes a special person to own that look, and she did it better than most all.

  • Ever since I was five, I was obsessed with berets. I thought it was “super-French” because it reminded me of Madeline (although she wore more of a bowler hat). I had my “signature” beret that I wore everyday to school, just until my head got too big for it, literally and metaphorically.

    When I went to France this summer, I wanted to get back to my childhood roots and find a decent beret. I discovered things about myself, such that I have become too picky and too concerned with how my hair would look. Although I am still more optimistic than Shopgirl in YOU’VE GOT MAIL who believes that all hats turn out to be a mistake. (I couldn’t help but at least mention that quote, one of my faves from the movie)

  • desideropacem

    I love them… Mine is I-don’t-exactly-how-old. 😉

    Lots of Love
    Verena Fiona | London, Paris, Milan, bla… |

  • toni

    I do, I do! I’m planning to get one this winter and act pretty french.

  • AstroLass

    Peggy Olson’s beret, anyone? bit.ly/1igTyyd

  • suzie

    I love them! !

  • I love berets! I’m glad you wrote about this because it’s been on my mind lately to buy one. Although I love that Marlene Dietrich photo below, I might personally feel like a douche wearing it tilted that way while going to my local coffee shop to buy a latte.

  • Pali

    So happy to see that there are other beret aficionados!! I’m personally into the smaller berets like the ones princess kate wears. I’ve found cute ones on etsy https://www.etsy.com/listing/170667222/kate-christening-felt-beret-in-wine

  • My head is too big to wear most hats, and it makes me so sad :

  • Lilja Klempan

    I bought a tan 100% wool beret for Halloween when I dressed as Faye Dunaway in Bonnie & Clyde… just like the photo! I have worn it a few times on colder days… keeps my head warm and cozy when it’s pulled down over my ears kind of like a beanie.

  • BK

    Three things I learned from my German Winter in a Beret:

    1. The kind with the leather trim around the opening feel sweaty and distinctly non-French on the forehead
    2. They’re not for the short-haired, they look weird and you’ll have to buy a beanie instead (related: don’t get your hair chopped off 1″ in length in the middle of Berlin winter)
    3. They are actually surprisingly warm and protective of the head, unless you do a me in section 2 of this comment in which case HEY GIRL YOU LOOK GOOD but God help you.

  • Irina Perju

    I love it. I have one with a sparkly jewel up front. I am looking for one like Emma Watson wears here. I also like this kind of headgear: