By Jess Beech
The question of how to wear a beret without traveling into fashion cliché territory is a commonly asked one, but one that’s also surprisingly easy to answer.
First things first, let’s sum up exactly what we’re talking about when we say beret. A beret is a circular hat that’s relatively flat in shape and made from soft, often woolen, material. Although berets tend not to have a structured brim, some more trend-led styles do.
Traditionally, berets are black, navy or red, but pastel tones have become increasingly popular in recent years – putting a new spin on this classic piece.
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Now for how to wear a beret. Instead of taking notes from Lily Collins’ character in Netflix hit Emily in Paris and wearing yours with a check short suit, consider a more low-key nod to Parisian style in the form of a Breton top, tailored camel coat, or chic pair of cigarette trousers. You can even steer clear of French favorites altogether and simply use your new beret to add some je ne sais quoi to much-loved staples like your best jeans or best winter coat.
While some hats, like a straw boater or beanie, are strictly seasonal, berets have an all-year-round appeal. Wear for spring with a floral dress and trench coat, trading for a straight-cut woolen coat and faux leather leggings come winter. Effortless, French girl fashion, here we come.
How to wear a beret
Standing in front of the mirror unsure of how to position your beret on your head? No problem. We’ve broken it down into five easy-to-master ways to wear.
1. Off kilter
We’ve said it before, but fashion should be fun. So, instead of agonizing over perfectly positioning your beret, embrace the jauntiness that comes with a slightly lopsided approach. In fact, the Queen once wore her hat backwards – so if breaking with tradition is good enough for the royals, it's good enough for us too.
2. Straight and centred
If the mere idea of a less than polished look is enough to leave you feeling antsy, keep it simple by wearing your beret in the middle of your head.
3. Soft and slouchy
For a fully relaxed feel, place your beret further back – with the front nearer to the crown of your head than the hairline. Whether this laid-back look is achievable or not will depend on the fabric your beret is made from, and the softer, the better.
4. Tucked under
To create a fuller, more voluminous shape (and add extra height to your frame in the process), tuck the base of your beret beneath itself.
5. Pulled down
If you want to know how to wear a beret to disguise a wayward fringe, this is the style for you. Pull the base of the hat down to just below your hairline. This will stop your beret from becoming too high too.
Editors' picks: best berets to shop now
Accessorize Beret Hat in Pure Wool
Zara Wool Beret
Cos Cotton-Mix Technical Beret
ASOS Design Wool Beret
Cos Leather Beret
Hobbs Grace Wool Blend Beret
Jess Beech is an experienced fashion and beauty editor, with more than eight years experience in the publishing industry. She has written for woman&home, GoodtoKnow, Now, Woman, Woman’s Weekly, Woman’s Own and Chat, and is currently Deputy Fashion & Beauty Editor at Future PLC.
She caught the magazine bug during a stint as Fashion Editor of her university newspaper alongside her English degree, and hasn’t looked back since. As for the fashion bug, that came as part and parcel of growing up in the 90s, but the less said about that the better!
Jess’ average day in the office is spent researching the latest fashion trends, chatting to industry tastemakers and scouring the internet to bring you this season’s must-buy pieces - as well as advice on how to wear them. Weekends are equally fashion-focused, and Jess has been known to visit no less than five Zara stores in a single day in search of the perfect occasion dress.
The only thing that comes close to a buzz of finally tracking down that much-coveted dress is the joy of discovering a new beauty wonder product or hero ingredient. A beauty obsessive, Jess has tried everything from cryotherapy to chemical peels (minus the Samantha in Sex and The City-worthy redness) and interviewed experts including Jo Malone and Trinny Woodall.
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