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What is a Beret? Types, Definition & Photos

Ever wonder how Parisian women get to be so stylish and beautiful, take a close look at berets with us and discover the various looks, pairings and facts about berets to achieve that Parisian look.

This is a close look at a woman wearing a blue beret with her white sheer blouse.

Bonjour madame/monsieur, is your wardrobe craving a little spice? Why not make your look Paris-chic and add a beret! As a beret lover, connoisseur, and owner to hundreds of them, I believe everyone should own at least one. You may wonder, “What is a beret?” Don’t worry; here is everything you need to know about them!

Pronounced “Beray” and French for ‘cap’, a beret is a circular, flat hat made of soft material, normally contains a tab in the middle, and has no visor. Originating in France and the border of Spain in the 17th century, it has been worn universally for generations by both men and women.

I must admit I am not a hat wearer at all, but ironically that is how I fell in love with the beret because I once heard that it is a hat for even the non-hat wearers; talk about a complete package!

The beret is iconic of French fashion. It’s unisex, can be worn on all occasions, and works with all shapes of faces and hairstyles. C’est le chic à la francaise.” Notes Rosabelle Forzy, CEO of the iconic Laulhère which, we’ll explore further below, but for now, you’ll need to read on to discover all about the iconic beret!  

Table of Contents

Are Berets In Fashion/Style at the moment?

A mother and son wearing matching red berets while gazing at the Eiffel Tower.

So now that you know what this fashion staple is are they actually in style all these years later?

Whether it is Netflix’s hit show Emily in Paris, New York’s hottest runway looks, seeing your favorite influencers rocking them on social media, or the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, one thing is for sure — the beret has been seen! The Parisian style is everywhere in 2021; you don’t want your closet to be left behind!

The beret makes a statement every time; that is why It is impossible for me ever to envision the beret not being in style. Everyone loves these fashion staples, from artists to cooks to celebrities to ordinary people to even the military personnel, we cannot get enough of them.

The proof is in the crème brulé! Just take a look all over pop culture, and you will see that the beret is totally in fashion at the moment. Cher, Rihanna, and Kendall Jenner are just a few fashions’ biggest names today that has been caught sporting the look.

Which Materials/ Fabrics Are Used For Berets?

Berets are typically made from circular sheets of fabric drawn underneath with a threaded band or using string to adjust to the shape of the head. Ribbons, pearls, tassels, and sequins are just a few examples of the decorations added onto the beret for that je ne sais quoi. You may want to try your hand at making a beret of your own and get creative, or you may want to find out what materials they use for them.

Get your croissant in one hand and your café gourmand in the other because here are six examples to help you out:

Vinyl

This is the Red Vinyl Hat, French Beret, Handmade from Etsy.

Source: Etsy

Wool Felt

This is a basque dark gray wool felt beret.

Velvet

This is a woman wearing a green velvet beret to match her all-green outfit.

Leather

This is a woman wearing a black leather beret with her yellow leather jacket.

Mohair (from the Angora goat)

This is a close look at a gray woven mohair beret.

Straw (using raffia ribbon/string)

surell - Straw Beret - Hand Woven Raffia Style Beach Sunhat - Sunny Beachy Gift

Click image for more info

Corduroy

Yonger Corduroy Bear Children Beret Boys Baby Hat Girls Kid Cap Brown

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What Are Alternative Options to The Beret?

The hats found below all share a similar circular shape as the beret and a similar design too.  Whether you want to change up your beret or like the design, here are some alternative options you need to know about:

Flat Cap

This is a green flat cap beret with a tweed pattern.

Sailor hat (not just for captains, but for fashionistas too!)

MIRMARU Women's 100% Cotton Greek Fisherman's Sailor Fiddler Hat Cap(47105-BLACK)

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Newsboy/cabbie hat

ZLS Women's Retro Peaked Ivy Newsboy Paperboy Gatsby Cabbie Painter Cap Hats (5-Tan)

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Bobble Hat

SEALSKINZ Unisex Waterproof Unisex Cable Knit Bobble Hat, Black, XX-Large

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Ivy Cap

Stetson Men's Oily Timber Leather Ivy Cap, Brown, Large/X-Large

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What Types/Variations Of Berets Are There?

Us beret lovers are spoilt for choice when it comes to them! This is your chance to find your perfect style and mix up your beret game because there is too much variety for you to wear the same one over and over. Grasp the magic of the beret and let the let’s see which one fits your ‘glass’ slipper perfectly”.

Summer beret

TENDYCOCO Womens Summer Beret Hat French Style Beanie Hats Hollow-Out Vintage Painters Woven Cap Artist Hat (Light Blue)

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French beret

A woman wearing a red French beret with her dress.

Beret cloche

Mr. Song Millinery Beret Cloche Hat with Premium Lace - Q62 Gold

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Sequins beret

This is a woman wearing a black sequined beret to match her black shirt.

Pearl beaded beret

Beret Beanie

BYOS Chic Soft Knit Airy Cutout Lightweight Slouchy Crochet Beret Beanie Hat

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Beret with pom

This is a traditional Irish tartan bonnet with checkered pattern and pompom.

How To Wear A Beret?

The way you want to wear your beret is totally up to you and your style! That is what makes the beret so special; it has no rules. You can take these guidelines and make them work for you:

A leather beret paired with a leopard print dress, any shoe that matches the beret, and a color-coordinating cardigan, grab your pumpkin spice latte because this look is a staple in fall!

This is a woman wearing a leather beret with her animal print dress.

Channel your inner artist by rocking a red beret with a classic black and white striped top and your favorite black pants. Add a red lip for that POP too.

A woman wearing a red velvet beret with her striped shirt.

 Nothing says “a fashion staple” like a color-coordinating beret that matches your outfit; adding a statement jacket just pulls the whole look together. 

This is a man wearing a black beret with his denim jacket.

Brrr… don’t let the winter season give you the blues. A wool beret is perfect for the season; a turtle neck, skirt, leggings, warm winter socks, and thigh-high boots are suited ideally for any fashionista in winter.

VECRY Lady French Beret 100% Wool Beret Floral Dress Beanie Winter Hat (Bow-Cream)

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The leather-look a genuine head-turner, who doesn’t love it! A vinyl beret paired with a classic white tee, leather jacket (any style), bold eyeliner/makeup, pants (leather/denim), and sneakers.

This is the ASOS DESIGN vinyl beret in burgundy from ASOS.

Source: ASOS

The summer season, with the sun shining and the warm air it is a magical time. A beautiful flowy sundress, a high heel shoe or sandal, and your Parisian beret are the perfect trio for a chic summer’s day.

A woman wearing a red beret with her short dress.

Now go and get styling!

The Pros And Cons Of The Beret

Pros:

  1. Need your roots done, or didn’t have time to wash your hair? Don’t you worry, the beret saves you from ever having a bad hair day.
  2. They offer protection from the sun in spring or summer.
  3. Keep your head and ears warm in winter and fall.
  4. They compliment any outfit and add that stylish touch.
  5. The beret is an efficient hat to put on and comfortable too.

Cons:

  1. Berets can be challenging to put on if you have a lot of hair.
  2. Some people do not like that they do not cover your whole head at the back.
  3. If the wrong size is bought, the beret can be uncomfortable.
  4. Some fibers in berets, such as wool or felt, have caused some people to experience an itch.

The history behind the beret

This is a close look at a woman wearing a beige beret with her tan trench coat.

Thanks to 17th-century Shepards, we are talking about the incredible beret today! The French regions of Basque, French Pyrenees, and Béarn, are where it all began. The Shepards wanted to take in all the benefits, noticing how their sheep’s wool would protect them in any season. The beret was formed!

Laulhère, since 1840 they are the last remaining artisan beret manufacturer in France using the best wool their legacy lives on today. They offer the crème de la crème of berets! As a result, all admired the berets formation, even becoming part of the official French military uniforms in both world wars, starting in 1889. The beret was everywhere through the 1800s and 1900s, from top chefs, artists as prominent as Picasso, movies, religious uniforms, runways to remote tribes in Tibet.

 In the 1930s, credibility goes to Coco Chanel for splashing the beret into fashion’s mainstream culture. Thank you, Coco! Your mark, “I do not do fashion, I am fashion,” speaks for itself. From Bridgette Bardot in the ’50s, Twiggy in the 60s, John Lennon in the 70s, Milli Vanilli in the 80s, Alicia Silverstone in ‘Clueless’ in the 90s, Britney Spears in the 00s to the Royal family in the 10s, one thing is for sure we cannot get enough of the beret. There’s no Au Revoir to the beret anytime soon!

How Much Is A Beret?

It all depends on the brand and place you look, but generally, berets range from 3 $ – 3500 $; remember to look out for the best possible deals!

Where can you buy a beret?

With our journey exploring the beret together, you have now probably fallen in love with the beret and are probably wondering where you can get your hands on one? It’s time to add that special touch to your closet because here are eleven different places for you to meet your budget and beret dreams:

  • Amazon
  • Etsy
  • Nordstrom
  • Laulhère(they offer international shipping!)
  • Shein
  • FashionNova
  • Chanel
  • Asos
  • Net-A-Porter
  • Forevr 21

Bon Shopping!