Berets: all the elegance without the accent


photo by Bethany Barker

Chay’s Closet is a recurring column where Staff Reporter Chanson Cadet shares her thoughts on the most recent trends in fashion.

You are eating a croissant over a balcony, a man with a handlebar mustache paints your portrait and calls you his muse; everything is bliss. France is often associated with love, baguettes, and “Ratatouille.” But the most significant part of French culture is the fashion which carries a romantic elegance to it that draws people in: the beret.

A beret is a soft-round cap often made of felt or wool. Most have a tab in the center and come in all sorts of colors and patterns. Berets easily elevate any outfit from drab to chic.  

Berets originated from Southern France during the 19th century. Their association gives anyone wearing one an automatic French and sophisticated flair. Though the beret is apart of European culture, they are not exclusive to Europe, but many people have not realized the advantages of the diverse headpiece. 

They can be worn in a multitude of ways, limited only by their wearer’s imagination. Before beginning my beret collection, I feared that my thick and curly hair would cause a beret to fall right off my head. In reality, I was simply trying to wear the wrong type of beret, the flimsy felt ones were more suited for my hair type. 

Berets come in different levels of thickness, either holding their own rounded shape or falling flat. Thicker berets are better suited for straight or short hair, while loosely-fitted caps fit the curly and voluminous hair patterns. 

There is no wrong way to wear a beret which is what sets them apart from most structured headwear. You can wear them to the front, side, back, with braids, a bun, fold them in on themselves, or allow them to sit up, round and aloof. 

Not many people take advantage of the class associated with berets. The added European style brings poise to your look. Even amongst the few fashion influencers that wear berets such as Amy Roiland and Chelsea H, men often negate the cap as being too feminine for their personal wardrobe. It is true that many of the designs on berets lean more feminine side, but they were originally a military symbol of dignity and pride.

Buying a plain black leather or wool beret is an easy way for men to subtly start incorporating them into their wardrobe. With the winter season approaching, matching a beret to a sweater-based outfit is an easy task.

Berets deserve the spotlight for their versatility and their ability to bring style to any plain outfit. As the winter months approach, it is the perfect time to try out a beret and see how it can be incorporated into your wardrobe. Taking a trip to Paris might not be possible right now, but wearing a beret can bring Paris to you.  

Scan this QR code to view a Pinterest board on different ways to style and wear a beret.