Way to Beret

It Doesn't Get Any More Iconic than Lauren Bacall in a Black Beret
It Doesn’t Get Any More Iconic than Lauren Bacall in a Black Beret

This season’s smoking stylish hat is one that is so practical, so effective, so adaptable to your own style, and so sexy, that it can’t be Beat. Okay, it’s iconic Beat. Discover the Beret for yourself.

Minakolife Beret in Grey with Metallic Silver Grommets and Beads. Wear as-is or try weaving a ribbon through the grommets to make a bow in a color matching your outfit.
Minakolife Beret in Grey with Metallic Silver Grommets and Beads. Wear as-is or try weaving a ribbon through the grommets to make a bow in a color matching your outfit.

 

Berets are symbolic of the Beat Generation, when people were hip, artsy, literate, and fashionable without trying too hard or reliant on spending a lot to achieve an awesome effect.

 

Rothco Monty Beret in Red with Black Trim also comes in Black and Forest Green
Rothco Monty Beret in Red with Black Trim also comes in Black and Forest Green

Berets are an old French fashion item that can go from Classic to Post-Modern without a hitch. Who doesn’t want to project those vibes? Clean lined and surprisingly simple, a beret is nevertheless astonishingly adaptable and looks good on everyone.

The Classic: Laulhere Authentic Basque French Beret in Black
The Classic: Laulhere Authentic Basque French Beret in Black

 

 

 

 

Depending on the fabric, berets can be warm and cosy for winter, or cool and chic for Spring and Summer. No hat is easier to carry or work into your wardrobe. You can take it off and stuff it in your handbag or pocket and, when you pull it back out, it will still look awesome. By adding pins, brooches, scarves, or embellishments (some tips and tricks below), you can personalize your beret to your taste and customize it to your outfit.

 

Schiaparelli France 1960's Beret with Rhinestone Trim
Schiaparelli France 1960’s Beret with Rhinestone Trim

Another hot aspect of berets is that there are tons of cool vintage ones available, often for ridiculously low prices. Since berets are traditionally rather sturdy, tough little hats, for all of their soft flexibility, they tend to hold up well with use and age.

 

You should have no trouble finding a great vintage beret at your local thrift store, or perhaps on Etsy, eBay, or via Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram sellers.

1930s Lenci Art Deco Cubist Wool Beret
1930s Lenci Art Deco Cubist Wool Beret

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIGGI Beret in Ivory with Soft Blue Diamond Embellishments
SIGGI Beret in Ivory with Soft Blue Diamond Embellishments

If you aren’t into vintage or can’t find one that suits, get a new one!

 

What are some easy and wonderful ways to personalize your beret? Over time, one of the most popular choices has been to simply add a pin or brooch. It’s fast, will flash up your look, and you can change it at a whim. Or have you thought of trying a beret over a scarf wrapped around your head? Chic and warm! Most berets have a sweet, tiny “pull tab” right in the top middle, from which you can tie and dangle a variety of cute charms, pom-poms, ribbons, or even a flower bud. (Note: For those who wish to try using real flowers for this or other apparel purposes, such as hooked onto a pair of French earring wires, check the flower for pollen-coated pistils or stamens (the several long thready pieces found in the center of some flowers). Just clip these off before wearing, so you don’t get pollen on your clothing or skin. The pollen won’t harm you or your clothing, but can leave a bright yellow dust on your clothes or skin.)

 

 

Rembrandt van Rijn rocks a black beret and the corresponding attitude to go with it
Rembrandt van Rijn rocks a black beret and the corresponding attitude to go with it
Belgian Military Berets in Wool with Leather Trim from Sportsmans Guide. Not the best product photos, but these are authentic. Ladies FYI: For the best fitting military surplus for women, try the French and Belgian gear....
Belgian Military Berets in Wool with Leather Trim from Sportsmans Guide. Not the best product photos, but these are authentic. Ladies FYI: For the best fitting military surplus for women, try the French and Belgian gear….

You can also try a man’s beret. Thrift and military surplus stores often have these, sometimes adorned with distinctive patches and metals. These look great with jeans, cargos, camouflage, and other casual gear. But that’s no reason to limit yourself. A classic rather militant but striking look is to combine a military style beret with a close fitting outfit of pants and a sweater or blouse all in one color. While black, olive green, and tan have been traditional iconic choices for this look, try it in something unexpected, like a neon color or pink.

 

Etsy Shop Holy Table Salt demonstrates a number of ideal beret wearing parameters. Embroidered Girl Power beret. Holy Table Salt donates 10% of proceeds to women's education worldwide.
Etsy Shop Holy Table Salt demonstrates a number of ideal beret wearing parameters. Embroidered Girl Power beret. Holy Table Salt donates 10% of proceeds to women’s education worldwide.

One of the cutest beret customizations is the addition of an embroidered motto. These are traditionally placed a little off-center at the front edge, where it can make a jaunty statement. Or you can conceal a secret inside your beret! Try embroidering your favorite saying, scripture, or commentary using a near-match color for a subtle tone-on-tone effect that is classy (how about “I Love You” in French?). Or go for a bold, broad statement in a contrasting color. Enhance with small rhinestones or beads if desired.

Whatever you do, be sure you wear your beret with a fetching air! A beret will automatically encourage you to be positive, keep your chin up, and view the world with savoir-faire. Go for it!

Mary Tyler Moore made the pom-pom beret an expression of the joy in self-empowerment
Mary Tyler Moore made the pom-pom beret an expression of the joy in self-empowerment

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Make-up & Hair Tips for Berets:

Cookie Beret from Harajuku Hearts
Cookie Beret from Harajuku Hearts
  1. Berets and scarves go together like hugs and kisses
  2. Berets and eyeliner: Take advantage of the emphasis that a beret puts upon your beautiful eyes with a defined, rather dramatic eyeliner look.
  3. Berets and brows: Since Berets create a sort of graphic framework that draws attention to your face, playing up your facial structure can result in the striking iconic effect you’re looking for. Benefit from a strong brow line when wearing a beret.

    Notice the relationship between the angle of Marilyn Monroe's defined eyebrow and the jaunty tilt of her beret.
    Notice the relationship between the angle of Marilyn Monroe’s defined eyebrow and the jaunty tilt of her beret.
  4. Berets and Lips: Likewise, berets also play off great against colorful, bold lips.
  5. Berets and Clean Skin: because a beret does so much to play up the graphic lines of your facial features–your brows, eyes, and lips–you otherwise might want to tone down the cosmetics on other parts of your face. You want a hip, effective look, not leaning toward I’m-A-Mime. Berets are thus great choices for those days when you aren’t much into cosmetics, but still feel like a bit of a dramatic face.

 

 

 

What about hat size? Some berets are stretchy, and some have a little give. But many have a rather firm band right around the bottom part that sits on your head. You should measure to make sure the beret will fit you comfortably. Believe it or not, but there is such a thing as a hat stretcher. So if you stumble across a too-small vintage hat you adore (or inherit one), there is still hope!

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