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Item of the week: the beret

By Rachel Douglass

25 Jan 2023

Fashion

(From left) Image: Helen Kaminski, Helen Kaminski, Karl Lagerfeld

What it is:

The beret is a staple piece of headwear that originated in France, where the commercial production of the design began in the 17th century. The style became a common fashion accessory among women in the region around the 1920s, but later entered into the mass fashion world thanks to Coco Chanel, who was cited as the first designer to use the beret on the catwalk. Her influence saw the hat design gain popularity in other countries, including the US where it was adopted quickly. Now the style has a global appeal, cemented into fashion as a fundamental hat style for every season.

Image: Barts

Why you’ll want it:

The beret’s place as a staple item in fashion allows for it to have a global appeal and therefore a wide potential market. Alternative iterations of the design see it produced in a variety of materials, from leather to faux fur to wool, making it an item that can also be suitable throughout each season, with options available for almost every weather possibility. While men have also been known to wear the style, recent years have been vital in the development of genderless fashion, making it even more noticeable in menswear, as evident in SS23 designer collections.

Image: Madewell

Where we’ve seen it:

Kenzo was the biggest adopter of the beret for the SS23 season, adding to the brand’s mix of collegiate-inspired clothing and utility wear. Oversized berets could be seen among both male and female models, adorned with prominent motifs and, oftentimes, droopy bills. Moschino also took on the beret, utilising animal print for its main form, while Emporio Armani opted for a more minimalistic iteration for its own show. The design could also be seen in the popular Netflix series Emily in Paris, in which many of the characters don the hat style in bold colour tones.

Image: Betmar

How to style it:

How to style the beret is primarily in the way it can be worn. While the most seen form is to wear the style on the back of your head, with the bottom at the base of the neck, the ‘classic’ style is where it is placed directly on top of the head with a slight tilt to the side. An alternative angle is to place the beret on the top of the head, with the head band sitting above the eyebrows, while the rest of the material is tucked in to achieve a flat cap look.

Image: Kangol

The beret is a culturally historic item that has held its ground over centuries and has become something of a staple in the fashion world. The rise of genderless fashion and its place in popular culture has helped it gain ground in the past year, pushing it towards remaining in the spotlight for the upcoming months ahead.

Image: Tamaris

Similar items available for (pre)order can be found in the FashionUnited Marketplace. You can find them by clicking on this link.

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