How to wear a beret: 7 tips for styling a beret
Throughout history, berets have featured prominently on the heads of countless cultural icons, from prominent political figures (like Che Guevara and the Black Panthers) to famous artists (like Rembrandt and Picasso) to fashion pioneers (like Coco Chanel). Learning how to wear a beret correctly will allow you to add flair and sophistication to your outfit.
What is a beret?
A beret is a soft, round hat with a flat crown, usually made of wool, cotton and acrylic fibers. The beret is flat in shape when held, but becomes bulbous when placed on the head. Rather than the wrap-around peak of a more structured hat, the visorless brim of the beret is a tight headband that keeps it from flying off your head.
Berets have long been a staple of French culture, beginning with the Basque berets of the 17th century. This is a traditional headdress for shepherds from the Pyrenees (located along the border of France and Spain). In 1840, the southern French manufactory Laulhère began commercially producing berets in Oloron-Sainte-Marie, France.
In 1889, the French Chasseurs Alpins (mountain infantry force) adopted military berets. After World War II, US Army Special Forces also adopted the green beret with their military uniforms. The popularity of the beret continued throughout the twentieth century and remains a retro yet trendy accessory today.
How to wear a beret
Wearing a beret can help you channel French flair into your style. Here are three ways you can wear a French beret:
1. Back of the head:
This style involves fitting the beret towards the back of the head so that the bottom edge hits the bottom of the neck. For this style of wear, place the beret on your head so that the strap lands right at your hairline, then slowly stretch the back until it sits at the back of your head. Secure the beret in place with a bobby pin or clear clips. Note that this style does not secure the cap tightly, so it may fall off.
2. Classic style:
Wearing a beret on top of the head with a slight slope is a classic French style of wearing. Simply place the cap a little more than halfway up your forehead so that the headband sits an inch behind your ears. Tuck the brim down and then gently pull the fabric of the hat to the side until a flattering tilt is achieved. Alternatively, tilt the tilt towards the front of the face or the back of the head, depending on your preference.
Place the beret on the head with the headband about an inch above the brow line. Fold the brim of the beret to give the appearance of a flat cap that will fit more snugly on the head. To look puffy, open the brim of the beret, place it over your ears and pull it down slightly from the top.
7 tips for styling a beret
This French accessory is one of the most versatile styling tools. Heavier berets can warm your head in the winter, lighter berets add a twist to a spring outfit.
Follow these styling tips to create a great ensemble:
- Experiment with fabrics. Try different styles and types of berets. A woolen beret, a felt beret or a leather beret will add a different twist to your outfit.
- Incorporate modern fashion trends. Pair your classic beret with statement pieces like a leather jacket or combat boots for a more modern, street-inspired look. Wearing a beret with casual work clothes such as jeans, trainers or ankle suits will also give a more modern and eclectic look.
- Pair with complementary colors. Wear a bold beret hat with colors that complement the other shades of your outfit. For example, pair a mustard yellow jacket with a navy blue or maroon beret.
- Pair with a trench coat. Add the right dose of classic style to your ensemble by teaming a brown trench coat with a red beret.
- Try on a jacket. An ensemble consisting of a black beret with a plaid jacket and a black turtleneck is sophisticated and professional. Complete the look with high-waisted trousers and short heels.
- Wear neutral makeup. Heavy make-up combined with a beret and designer clothes can be an intense look. Use a natural makeup full of muted tones when donning the beret (especially if the hat is bold, patterned or colorful) for a balanced look.
- Wear your hair down. When wearing a beret, prefer hairstyles that are more natural and less demanding. Too much hair under the hat can loosen its grip, making it prone to shedding.