Berets have become a quintessential cool-girl accessory.
But before they became a wardrobe staple for the style set, these soft, round hats ― often made of felt or wool ― had many lives.
For starters, archaeologists believe the beret’s history dates all the way back to the Bronze Age, according to Dis Magazine. In the 14th and 15th centuries, they were common among the poorer members of European society, such as farmers and artists.
Berets ― specifically red ones ― made their foray into politics in the 1800s in Spain during the Second Carlist War, according to Dis. Black berets, however, remained a peasant symbol, the outlet notes.
Throughout the 1900s, berets were still connected to politics, but they were also worn as a fashion statement.
In the ’20s, creative types like writers, poets and movie stars wore them, quite simply because they looked chic, according to Mic. In the ’40s and ’50s, berets became a military staple around the world. In the ’60s, revolutionaries like Che Guevara and Fidel Castro wore them. And in the 1970s, the beret was famously adopted by the Black Panthers. (Beyoncé paid homage to the group during her 2016 Super Bowl halftime show when her dancers sported black berets.)
Over the past year or so, the beret has once again become a trendy fashion accessory, worn by the likes of Bella Hadid, Rihanna and Vanessa Hudgens and seen on the runways at Chanel and Dior.
Whenever we see a resident cool girl rocking one of these toppers, we instantly want to try the look for ourselves. So, we asked Marni Senofonte ― stylist to Beyoncé and Kendall Jenner ― for some tips on how to do just that.
“I think berets are universally flattering depending on the fit,” she said via email, adding that “berets can be worn with any hairstyle: straight, pin curl waves, curly hair, low ponytail, braids.”
Depending on how you wear your beret, Senofonte said, you can convey different messages.
“A small beret, almost resting on the head worn to the side a la Marlene Dietrich, the woman who essentially birthed beret-wearing for females, has a high-fashion vibe to it,” she said. “Vertical in the front with a side slant has a militant look to it, especially when worn with a turtleneck, leather jacket and military jacket.”
If you wear a beret poufed and pulled down over the head, it you’ll give off a more relaxed, casual, ’70s vibe, she added.
If you need a little inspiration, just check out the photos below to see how cool girls have worn berets through the years: