ODE TO THE BERET
If you know me in real life/follow me on Instagram, it may be fair to assume you’ve noticed my affinity for little felt hats. I love berets. I love them. I love them with jeans, with little strappy dresses, with off the shoulder jumpers, with my hair up, with my hair down – I just bloody love them. I’ve been wearing berets for years now and I’d like to think I’ve got quite a bit of experience under my belt....or, eh, beret. Here are a few little pearls of beret-wearing wisdom that I’d like to share with you.
1. When you wear a beret, every day feels like a Wes Anderson film. How can that possibly be a bad thing? I’d choose to live in that sweet, dreamy, perfectly-paletted world over real life any day of the week. Some of Wes’ most iconic characters have sported a beret, mostly famously Max Fischer in Rushmore and Suzy Bishop (A.K.A the most stylish twelve-year-old of all time) in Moonrise Kingdom.
2. A beret completes any outfit. If, like me, you’re a fan of accessories, sometimes you look at what you’re wearing and think ‘what’s missing?’. Nine times out of ten, I’m pretty sure it’s a beret. Except in summer. Berets and summer do not go together. (Despite what the aforementioned Suzy B’s wardrobe would lead you to believe.) See point 8 for more information on this.
3. Say what you want about the beret, I realise it’s not for everyone, but it IS a conversation starter. From the, admittedly not always welcome, “nice hat love” on the last train home to free coffees at Pret and upgrades to First Class on Virgin East Coast trains to Edinburgh – never under estimate the power of the beret. Don’t ask me to explain it, I can’t, it's magic. But I can confidently say that strangers are much nicer and kinder to beret-wearing me than non beret-wearing me.
4. I can’t really explain the feeling when Raspberry Beret comes on the radio and you are in fact wearing a raspberry(ish) coloured beret. It’s really something I think everyone should experience at least once in their lives.
5. When you come across a fellow 'beret person', they nod at you as if you’re part of the same club. NB. They don’t smile, most of them are far too cool to smile – not me, obviously, I grin like a five-year-old when I see someone else in a beret. Am I saying berets bring people together? Well, no. But it’s a welcome change from passively aggressively elbowing each other on the central line.
6. People may make French jokes, they will no doubt ask you where your baguettes are, or if you’d like some garlic with that but, if you ask me, there’s really nothing more chic than a black beret and a Breton striped tee.
7. Someone once told me boys find berets weird and that I shouldn’t wear them if I want to people to fancy me. I remember, at the time, just sort of nodding timidly, worried that maybe this person had a point. She didn’t, I’ve come to realise. Firstly, how boring for you if you dress for other people, ESPECIALLY boys - that must be exhausting. I definitely dress for myself; I dress depending on how I’m feeling/how I want to feel/what I want to put out in the world that day. I'm obsessed with Leandra Medine and love that she's built an empire around celebrating trends that women love and men hate. Who cares, let's wear what we want and either say something nice or don't say anything at all. Secondly, I’ve discovered recently that there are some boys in the world who don’t just like girls in berets, they actually prefer girls in berets. Those, I’ve decided, are the kind of boys I’d like to meet. So, yes, thanks again for your dating advice and your interesting thoughts on the correlation between berets and sexiness but I wholeheartedly disagree with you.
8. There are some occasions/situations in life when a beret is not appropriate. These include but are not limited to: a club, summer, pubs in Glasgow, when you’re participating in any kind of sport, when you’re watching any kind of sport and, sadly, in Paris - if you want to be taking seriously. (But Pandora Sykes wrote about this exact dilemma recently and to be honest whatever she says is gold so I’d probably do it anyway).
9. If you’re dipping your toe in the beret pool for the first time and you’re after a slightly subtle look, a black version is a great place to start. Also, pairing a beret with a super simple outfit like mom jeans a white t-shirt will help you feel less like it’s the 31st of October and more like you’re just shaking up your sartorial uniform a little bit.
10. Take some time to play with the angle of your beret (yes, I can hear myself, I know I sound like a pretentious beret wearing chump…but bear with me!). If you try one on and think straight away “this isn’t for me”, be patient. Try tucking your hair behind your ears and tilting your beret to the side (my angle of choice) or bring all your hair forward and wear your beret to the back. There’s always the Samuel L Jackson look (wearing your beret very far forward on your head) because, you know, I’m an advocate of the expression ‘you do you’. It can take a bit of shuffling around but you’ll know when you’ve sussed it out.
Also I dedicated a pinterest board to my beret icons with a terrible pun in the title. Apologies.