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.