The beret has been my go-to for this years Winter season ‘Flic’ style. It is also responsible for why I’m now singing Prince’s song lyrics “She wore a raspberry beret” in my head, as I type this post! Oh, you’re now also singing those lyrics?? You’re welcome! LOL. Anyone who follows my Instagram account will be nodding at my declaration of beret love. A possible borderline beret obsession! I can hear those faint whispers “is she wearing another bloody beret this week”?
I cannot get enough of the beret. I bought a black beret initially back in the Autumn and fell head over heels for it. It dresses up and down like a dream. Cute and regal with my velvet tipped collar Alexa Chung X M&S coat yet cool and feisty with my vintage faux fur leopard coat.
It checks the box for all things Beatnik (my current style passion). It checks the box for hiding day 3 of dry shampoo (I can’t be arsed to style my hair in -25 January & February temps). But I also worship this mighty little hat as I can wear the beret both indoors and out. Are you running off to meet a friend for a coffee or a bite to eat? Then just throw on a beret with a whip of red lippy and you’re good to go with a little ‘Ooh la la’ lovely chic thrown in for good measure. This way, no one will know you spent the majority of the previous hour lying on the sofa sipping your wine and resting your iPad on your boob shelf for a blissful screen swiping Instagram session of ‘like-like-like-ooh I want that!!’.
The beret is different to the hats that I’ve worn previously over the past few years, but the best bit is that this is not a style purchase to dent the Visa bill. What’s not to love about the raspberry beret this season? Yes, I threw that in just incase you had stopped singing that tune your head! You’re welcome!
The Style History
The beret’s history dates back to the 19th century. It is said to be originally associated with the Basque region of France where it became the traditional headgear of Aragonese and Navarrian shepherds from the Anso and Roncal Valleys. Hence the name of the ‘Basque style Beret’, this is the soft roll rimmed beret with its headband folded in. A French Factory, Beatex-Lauvere claims their production records date back to an impressive, 1810. No wonder we think of French style when we think of the beret.
By the 1920’s, the beret was associated with the working classes in parts of both France & Spain symbolizing peasant status and was then later adopted by the Parisian artists, poets, musicians and writers. This soft round flat crowned hat then went on to take on numerous meanings in its style history and with a tweak in its style, it was approved by King George V in 1924 as military headwear suitable for soldiers to wear, particularly useful when climbing in and out of tanks. It then became a staple piece of military uniform during world war II and then later symbolizing political beliefs.
Military & Politics
*All above images via Pinterest – Che Guevara, The Black Panthers & WWII military uniform
The Vintage Inspo
The beret became the chic accessory worn by my 1940’s and 1950’s black and white classic film heroines that I adored to watch on a Saturday afternoon. Anyone else spend their childhood sitting in front of BBC2 on a Saturday at 2pm and pretend to smoke an elegant, albeit homemade paper, cigarette?! No? Just me? I obviously make my Mother very proud!!
*All above images via Pinterest – Classic movie stars including Marlene Dietrich and Lauren Bacall
The beret then went on to hit its style stride in the Beatnik scene and so elegantly worn by our style icons of the 60’s. An incredible time in fashion history. Seriously bloody cool.
*All above images via Pinterest – Pablo Picasso and Dizzy Gillespie wearing their signature beret
Iconic Beret Babes
But here are the beauties that wear the beret so well. Chic, cool, stylish, they are effortless in beret style and working that pout!
*All images via pinterest- Faye Dunaway as Bonnie from Bonnie and Clyde, Britt Eckland and Brigette Bardot
The Catwalk inspo
*All above images via Pinterest
Go on….get your beret!
So, thankfully if you fancy dabbling in the beret then you don’t need to head to a Basque French field with Dolly the Sheep tucked under your arm. If you are popping down to the shops and contemplating a peek at a beret then I recommend that the 100% wool beret holds a better shape. The felt wool mix beret tends to be more stiff and less versatile in style. It’s well worth trying some on too as I’ve found they are not necessarily manufactured in one size. Predictably, the slightly higher the price point then the better the style and fit will be. Some of the High Street shops have embraced the beret trend but also check out traditional department stores and the men’s department. I often find the good traditional hats can often be found in the Mens department.
Glorious Gucci entice us with a leather version and a beautiful soft grey version.
On the High Street its worth checking out the usual suspects. But in the meantime, these caught my eye.
Wearing the beret
Assisting my indulgence of Beatnik style, my stripes naturally go hand in hand with my beret. Of course I’m always aiming to look more like Kate Moss in a beret than Frank Spencer, and I avoid all conversational situations that risk a “Ooh Betty” response to help my cause!! Then again, if I went parading down the streets of Ottawa in -25c temps lounging back like Kate, sans sweater, then “ooh Betty” may slip out along with a few other words as pinky and perky go blue and freeze!
How I wear mine #OOTD
From those past crisp sunny Autumn days of October and November to the current ice box -25c/-35c temps. Here are some of my snaps of how I’ve loved and worn the beret this season.
On the cost-per-wear front, I think I can safely say that the beret is now paying me to wear it!! Excuse some of the snow laden outfit photos. Only two more months of snow to go, Ottawa!
Now, stop singing Prince in your head and go and grab yourself a beret or a Gin, actually preferably both!!
Thanks for reading