From an early age I have always had a love affair with headwear. It gives oomf to any outfit, a certain je ne sais quoi. I donned a lovely burgundy velvet hat (with matching dress of course) for a portrait back in the ’90s, rocked a bucket hat in the early ’00s, and sported an array of straw hats and straw visors this past summer. Needless to say the fact that a once tacky unofficial French symbol, the beret, is making a comeback right now is sending me over the moon.
The beret for years has been an essential costume piece for mimes and French satire. It could not even be fathomed that any self respecting French woman would dare wear something so un chic, all hope was lost. And yet, the fashion goddesses have taken pity on the beret, and pulled it from the depths of despair and onto the tops of the most fashionable heads this year.
Last season the beret comeback started popping up all over the runways. Dior’s Fall 2017 Ready-To-Wear runway show featured sleek leather berets on all 68 of their models. Months prior, Gucci channeled your stylish grandma and had colorful eclectic knitted and wool berets coming down the catwalk. Many celebrities began adopting this quirky accessory: from athleisure with Bella Hadid, workwear with Winnie Harlow, red carpet with Beyoncé, to style icon Rihanna wearing previously mentioned Dior leather beret to said show before the accessory made its debut.
So, was it divine intervention that brought the beret back into our lives?
Not exactly, the beret may well in fact be actually back because of political and social movements we’ve seen in the past years. The fashion industry often takes into consideration the zeitgeist of the world around them and produces pieces to reflect that. Berets in the past (besides being worn by mimes) have been adorned on the heads of revolutionaries like Che Guevara who wore it in the ’60s to represent and assemble others to surge against the Batista governing power in Cuba. Years later in America berets were part of the uniform for the revolutionary socialist organization the Black Panther Party and Beyoncé later paid homage to the group during the Super Bowl 50 halftime show.
In a time of the “Me Too” and “Time’s Up” movements with feminism at an all time high it’s no surprise that fashion icons and leaders turned to berets to take a stand. Are designers simply trying to cash in on a social and politically conscious causes? Or is taking a stand and expressing our opinions through our clothing simply how fashion works?
Regardless of politics, being the big hat advocate that I am, I think all people, men and women should be and will be accessorizing themselves with berets this year. Whether leather, felt, embellished or knitted the choice is yours! Just make sure to pull it down over your head or off the back of your skull like a beanie.
Have I officially hooked you? Do you need a beret stat? Here are some of my picks for some instant Parisian gratification (I bought the first one last night).
ASOS Wool Beret, $16, ASOS
TOPSHOP Imitation Pearl Wool Blend Beret, $30, Nordstrom
Lolita Leather Beret, $168, Free People