The Beret is Back
When you think of French girl style, what comes to mind? To us, it’s an effortlessly tied scarf, a Breton striped shirt, and let’s not forget, that classic French beret. A beret is as much a national symbol of France as a fleur-de-lis or the Eiffel Tower. Sure, the delicate, flat-crowned headpiece may border on cliché, but there’s a reason for its prominence in the collective imagination – this classic French chapeau is deeply rooted in European history.
The Original French Beret
The origins of the beret go back to the Bronze Age, where it was worn by the Minoans, Etruscans, and Romans in Northern Europe. The Basque style beret, the ancestor of the hat we are familiar with today, was once the traditional headgear of the Aragonese and Navarrian shepherds in the Pyrenees Mountains.
Originally a local craft, beret-making became industrialized in the 19th century. By the 1920s, berets had become associated with the working classes in France and Spain. Towards the end of the decade, these stylish little hats were being produced by the millions across Europe. Due to this illustrious history and evergreen popularity, the black beret was once considered the national cap of France, and to this day is an essential part of local identity across the country.
A Utilitarian Style Staple
The beret is associated with the military, as well as intellectual and artistic types. In the last century, this dashing hat has been worn by memorable individuals including Marlene Dietrich, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and John Lennon. Place a wool beret on your head, and it instantly brings a bohemian, poetic spirit to your ensemble. While a beret might not be a steady regular in your accessory arsenal, consider it an easy add-on for warmth, style, and statement-making.
A neutral beret is a chic, on-trend complement to a fall and winter wardrobe. As a prime example of the beret’s relevance, consider Dior’s recent collection. During the recent runway show, each model’s look was completed with a black leather beret worn low and loose on the back of the head. This contemporary instance proved that just one simple accessory can create a vintage, renegade vibe that the French truly adore.
How To Style Your French Beret
There are a number of ways for you to incorporate a beret into an ensemble. Wear a beret with jeans, a dress, a trench coat, or anything in between. When styling a beret, simplify your other accessories for an optimal result. Trade large statement earrings for minimal studs, and chunky necklaces for an effortlessly tied silk scarf. As for beret-ready hair, tie your tresses into a ponytail or bun, or let them hang long and loose. Either way, this useful hat can hide grungy, day-old hair or unsightly roots in-between salon visits. Last but not least, anchor your beret look with a bold lipstick. A cherry red, rich burgundy or wine-stained raspberry lip will do just the trick.
Where and how will you wear your French beret this season? Show us your chapeau style on Instagram by tagging #OuiStyle.