How to wear a beret even if you don’t suit hats

It's one of the biggest accessory trends of the season, but wearing a beret isn't as easy as it looks...

how to wear a beret
(Image credit: Will Goldstone)

It's one of the biggest accessory trends of the season, but wearing a beret isn't as easy as it looks...

I'm French, but that doesn't mean I can wear a beret. Sorry. In fact, I'm really not a hat person at all. Try as I might, they never suit me. But for the purposes of trying out one of the biggest trends of AW17, I set my personal gripes aside to give it a go.

The thing with berets is that they ARE tricky to pull off. Wear it the wrong way and you look more caricature than chic, and it turns out quite a lot of people don't know how to wear them, judging by how many Google searches there are for 'how to wear a beret'.

For inspiration, I looked to French style icons from the 40s onwards, who always managed to pull off the style seamlessly. Think Catherine Deneuve, France Gall and Brigitte Bardot. (Fun fact for you: even though everyone associates berets with France, they in fact originated in the Basque region of Spain, and were worn by shepherds on the mountains dividing France and Spain).

Then, as always, I looked to the catwalk, as berets returned in force at the Dior Paris Fashion Week show.

The key thing is that though it might look effortless, it's anything but, because you really have to think about the positioning. You can't wear it straight, because it cuts off your face in an unflattering way, and looks too prim.

how to wear a beret

Shop now: ASOS Wool Beret in black for £10 from ASOS

Instead, you need to wear it a slight angle. Start off by placing the hat on your head, then take hold of the 'spike' at the centre of the beret and dip it slightly on the side of your head. I chose the side opposite to my parting as it felt more balanced, but that's up to you.

Next, and most importantly, you need to wear your hair down. No matter how hard I tried with my hair up, the beret didn't go on properly, and when it did I looked like I was in the army.

how to wear a beret

Shop now: ASOS Wool Beret in beige for £10 from ASOS

In terms of colours, you can't go wrong with classic black which goes with everything, though I do like the chic beige version too. A scarlet red is also a great investment for the season, and you can match it to a red lip or coat for that extra pop of colour.

If you want to avoid stereotypes, then steer clear of neck scarves and striped tops.

Shop More Berets

Penny Goldstone

Penny Goldstone is the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire, covering everything from catwalk trends to royal fashion and the latest high street and Instagram must-haves.

Penny grew up in France and studied languages and law at the Sorbonne Nouvelle University in Paris before moving to the UK for her MA in multimedia journalism at Bournemouth University. She moved to the UK permanently and has never looked back (though she does go back regularly to stock up on cheese and wine).

Although she's always loved fashion - she used to create scrapbooks of her favourite trends and looks, including Sienna Miller and Kate Moss' boho phase - her first job was at, sourcing the best deals for everything from restaurants to designer sales.

However she quit after two years to follow her true passion, fashion journalism, and after many years of internships and freelance stints at magazines including Red, Cosmopolitan, Stylist and Good Housekeeping, landed her dream job as the Digital Fashion Editor at Marie Claire UK.

Her favourite part of the job is discovering new brands and meeting designers, and travelling the world to attend events and fashion shows. Seeing her first Chanel runway IRL at Paris Fashion Week was a true pinch-me moment.