One look at my Instagram profile proves, whether I like it or not, I'm a beret person. It all started in my early 20s, when I was working my first publishing job in New York City. I made frequent visits to the office's "free table" (a literal free-for-all where editors disposed of rejected gifts). It was always a mixed bag of unwanted skin care, makeup, books, and accessories—and, one fateful day, I stumbled upon a beige beret. Even though I had never worn one in my life, I snagged it.
Setting aside the risk of looking like a bad mime costume, I gave it a shot...and basically never took it off. Okay, that's a stretch, but it did become a staple in my wardrobe. The beret was surprisingly easy to style; it instantly elevated my look and didn't come off feeling clichéd. It also didn't hurt that the hat was a simple way to appear more put together when I was really just trying to avoid washing my hair for another day—which is why I'm here to tell you to give the beret a chance.
People always say I have this rare "gift" of being able to pull the hat off, but anyone can wear a beret by making a few deliberate styling choices. So before brushing off the accessory you think should come with an accordion, check out these style tips on how to wear a beret the right way—from a real-life accidental beret person, alongside some very stylish ladies on Instagram.
Wear it with muted makeup.
People usually worry about a beret coming off as "too much," and one way to avoid looking over-the-top is by keeping your makeup minimal. French women are known for their less-is-more approach to beauty, so opt for a subtle berry-stained lip and bare face or a wash of blush, tinted lip balm, and touch of mascara. Et voilá!
Use it as a transition piece.
The beauty of the beret is that it's heavy enough to keep your head warm in winter but lightweight enough to bring with you into spring. It pairs well with transitional outfits (like long-sleeve dresses and billowy blouses) and will add a feminine touch your springtime style.
$148.00, Free People
Make the beret the focus.
If you're feeling underwhelmed by your look as a whole, a colorful beret is an easy way to make a statement. This all-black look needed some extra oomph, so I added a bright red hat to make it pop.
$28.00, Free People
Modernize the hat.
If you're worried about looking frumpy, a fun finish or a bold hue will bring your look into the 21st century. Go with patent leather or neon to keep the grandma vibes at bay, then add dad shoes and stacked chains for a street-smart flair.
On the flip side, the beret was a favorite among style icons of the ’60s and ’70s like Brigitte Bardot and Bianca Jagger, so making a nod toward retro style is a natural move. You don't want it to come off costumey, though, so try a ’90s-inspired sporty sweatshirt with flares to make sure your look feels balanced and current.
$49.00, Urban Outfitters
Make it edgy.
There's something rather feminine about the beret, but you can easily add a rock-and-roll feel with a moto jacket or combat boots. This slip dress and boots combo will strike the perfect balance between sultry and a little rough around the edges.
$99.00, & Other Stories
Play up the romance.
If you're not here for edge, lean into the whimsical spirit of the beret. Serve Parisian daydream by playing with ruffles, sheer textiles, flowers, and pearls to get the dreamy aesthetic the Paris filter is going for...in real life.
$275.00, The Outnet
Originally Appeared on Glamour