France’s Unofficial National Accessory is Making a Sartorial Comeback

Headwear is big news at the moment – anyone who braves a hat projects an air of confidence. They enhance – or at the very least change an outfit. But what makes the beret so relevant now? Despite its military roots, the beret has long been associated with creatives and hipsters throughout history – they were worn by beatniks, painters, directors and poets. Ernest Hemingway, Pablo Picasso, Edith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich, John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Brigitte Bardot all loved them. It was the hat favoured by intellectual free-thinkers.

With all this in mind, it’s no surprise that this formerly cheesy French favourite is back. The beret is woke. As we all know, it is fashionable now to be socially conscious, to campaign, to be outspoken and to be politically engaged. The woke generation are informed, questioning and passionate about change. The beret’s history renders it the ultimate symbol of wokeness; of the current popular stream of thought.

That’s right, fashion IT girls from around the world are incorporating the beret hat into their every day looks and I must say that the looks are stylish!

 

A stereotypical, almost caricatural symbol of France – along with baguettes, a string of garlic cloves and Breton stripes – the beret has been dismissed by the fashion crowd in recent years.

But fast forward to present day and it’s having a real style surge.

The fashion industry has always reflected the times we live in and it’s no coincidence that this chapeau has a history steeped in military influence and intellectual free-thought.

Long associated with artsy, creative types, the beret was worn by the likes of Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, Marlene Dietrich and John Lennon until it all got political in the 1960s.

Then, Che Guevara used it as a symbol of revolution as he rallied for supporters to rise against the Batista government in Cuba while some years later the black nationalist and socialist organisation Black Panther Party wore theirs atop their afros – a look which Beyoncé paid homage to during her 2016 Super Bowl half-time appearance.

Bringing the beret up to speed, it made a comeback on the runway this season too as Dior topped off all 68 of its looks with a £610 leather style.

Resting them on soft waved tresses, creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri made a nod to the hat’s revolutionary roots in choosing it to represent a generation of women wanting to make a stand.

Cementing its sartorial comeback, France’s unofficial national accessory has also sat firmly on the heads of some of fashion’s biggest style influencers. While Rihanna wore hers on the front row of the Dior show paired with a dark navy overcoat and burgundy lip, the quirky headpiece has been also been spotted on everyone from Bella Hadid to Adwoa Aboah.

Whether fluffy, felt or leather, the beret hat is an accessory almost everyone will be wearing this winter. The best thing about it though, is that it suits literally every type of hairstyle and acts as the perfect cover-up for in-between salon visits.

Beret, the Must Accessory in 2018

Everyone is suddenly wearing a fashion beret and it’s making me all kinds of uncomfortable.

Let me clarify, not the beret itself. There are far greater injustices in the world than the infiltration of a small felt (or leather, or wool) accessory. It’s that fashion berets speak to our obsession with emulating the mythical French Girl. Perhaps you don’t have a closet full of well-tailored separates or the digestive enzymes for refined carbohydrates; there’s now a trendy hat for that. The fashion beret is a costume.

Nowadays, beret hats have been there from time immemorial, mostly associated with the army and Parisians, albeit, they have been making a comeback in a fashion way. From plain colored to vibrant colored, studded to embellished, the beret comes in many designs. It makes for a cool statement accessory not just for warmth on a cold day or night but also to add a pop of color or spruce up a boring outfit from dull to dazzling.

Beret, pronounced as be-re-h  is a unisex accessory that can be worn by both men and women. The beauty of this accessory in 2018 is that it literally looks good on anyone and on any hairstyle. Other hat styles gradually making their way into 2018 fashion trends are the newsboy hats that have become the go-to accessory for fashionistas all over social media.

As for the beret trend though which is our focus, it has been given the stamp of approval by top African style connoisseurs both domestic and overseas, therefore, you have nothing to worry about.

Have you tried the beret trend? If not, these are inspirations on how to rock the trend.

You can dress it down for a laid-back look. Add some trendy clout or cat eye sunglasses and you’re weekend ready.

You could also complete a dressed up look with the beret as the cherry on top say for an upscale weekend event.

As above mentioned, the beret comes in many fabrics and designs and you can pick whatever tickles your fancy be it a leather beret or a wool one.

When you need to sprinkle some  into a basic outfit, the beret to the rescue.

Depending on how you style it, you can literally turn heads.

Wearing a beret serves no direct purpose other than to possibly make the wearer look like they’re i) about to overthrow capitalism or ii) pioneer a new art movement. It’s this tenacious yet tongue-in-cheek effect that makes us think, come various fashion weeks in January, 2018, will it be a big year for the beret? Maybe the thirst for ironic garms is still too strong, but we really look forward to the moment when someone can pair a fire outfit with a beret just because they can. Not forgetting that in our turbulent political climate of coalition governments, military coups and the eternal struggle for equality, the politicized nature of the beret feels more apt than ever.

Lastly, it doesn’t compromise on your style, whether you’re going for a minimalist, eclectic or bohemian look, the beret will effortlessly merge your style.

If you are out and about in berethat on hat shopping trip, there are a few … Here you will find a charming selection of caps, hats, and beret hat with Mohair.

 

A Serious Fashion Comeback-Beret

n recent times, the beret has occupied two very different spaces in the collective consciousness; one of artful, beatnik hipsterdom, and one of military and political revolution. Both are good and both are valid.During the 14th and 15th centuries, berets had been adopted by the poorest classes in society – farmers and artists – because of the cheap availability of felt at the time. Although they weren’t called berets (they were imaginatively named “felt hats”), the distinctly soft, circular silhouette remained the same. The associations of berets with artists and struggling creatives stretched well into the 19th century; iconic painters such as Picasso would often don a beret or depict his subjects wearing them in his paintings.

Military association with beret has always learnt it a sense of strength and authority and this is probably the reason for it becoming an important element in political fashion.

In South Africa, beret hat, as a symbol of political emancipation and revolution, it should come as no surprise that in 2017, the beret is again being spotted in the forefront of protest marches for socio-economic change. Fashion is always a keen observer of social trends and this year saw Dior, Gucci and others capture the modest beret’s strength of character combined with timeless elegance in their wardrobes for a modern woman.

Marc Jacobs’ modern interpretation of the beret took inspiration from the 90s Kangol soft hat, while French fashion house Jacquemus played with the proportions of the beret, delivering a daring take on the French classic.

As the ultimate unisex accessory, the berets has also been embraced by those fashion labels that have moved into subtle unisex territory. Autumn/Winter 2017/2018 fashion shows for Louis Vuitton, Moschino, Prada and Missoni had male models march down the runways in strikingly cool variations of the headwear.

Street fashion has also noticed the beret and interpretations include every more glamour in materials that include glitter, bold colours, floral, plaid and the classic black. In South Africa, berets are not waiting for winter and both H&M and Top Shop are selling the modest little classic soft woollen hat. Vintage boutiques are also a great place to hunt for retro berets.

So, how to wear the beret in 2018?  With Christmas party outfits ready to go, the beret is the perfect festive addition for a touch of contemporary chic. Dress up the classic black beret with knee high boots, trousers and a warm chunky sweater for a chilly night out. For a more dramatic look, swop out the plain beret for one that has metallic embellishments.

Red, cream or teal colored berets complement any outfit and looks great with classics such as the leather jacket and trench coat. Glitter is a huge trend, so the glitter beret is a definite must have.

Finally, the most important tip of all: How to wear the beret is absolutely key to nailing the trend. Here’s how: The beret should be pulled fully over the head, covering half of the ears. Avoid the beret being overly jaunty else you might have to say this season’s coolest accessory.