How to Wear a Beret…Without Looking Like a French Cartoon Character

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The beret is not often our go-to winter hat, despite the fact that so many of our current fashion muses are big fans of the style: Meghan Markle, Princess Diana, Rebecca Pearson and…all French women. Which raises the question: why aren’t we rocking berets on the regular? Perhaps because we’re not quite sure how to wear one and not look like we’re wearing a mime costume. So, we did some research, played around at home and have come up with the three most stylish ways to wear a beret (with step-by-step instructions), plus a few additional styling tips to keep in mind.

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McKenzie Cordell

1. the Traditional Tilt

If we were asked to conjure an image of someone wearing a beret, this is pretty much exactly what we’d see: a wool topper tilted to one side. Indeed, this is how the hat was designed to be worn.

Step 1: Place the beret on your head about ¾ of the way up your forehead and an inch or two behind your ears.

Step 2: Tuck the brim under, to secure your hat in place. Then, pull the fabric above the brim out a bit to create volume.

Step 3: Pull one side of your beret down, being sure to pull from the crease that gives your hat its shape. This step will take some trial and error to find what looks best, but you can start by pulling the edge to either the right or left until it covers just the top of your ear. Moving the tilt forward over your eyebrow will give a more dramatic effect, while pulling it backward and to one side looks more casual.

Get the look: ASOS ($16); Halogen ($29); Vince Camuto ($38; Hat Attack ($46)

McKenzie Cordell

2. plopped On Top

If the tilt is a bit too much for your taste, or if you prefer the natural dollop shape of a beret, you can try this voluminous styling option.

Step 1: Place the beret on your head so the brim hits about an inch above your eyebrows. (You can go higher if you have a larger forehead, just play around to see which spot is the most flattering for you.)

Step 2: Tuck the brim in, under your beret, or leave it as is for more of a soufflé shape (aka closer to the head at the bottom before it balloons out at the top).

Step 3: Tug gently on the top of your hat (many designs feature a small knob in the center you can hold onto) to create volume. You can pull a few times to puff out the fabric, then gently smooth down any areas that have gotten too big. You can also pull on one edge for a slight tilt that’s halfway between this look and the first.

Get the look: H&M ($13); My Accessories ($19); Cole Haan ($78); Lauren Manoogian ($150)

McKenzie Cordell

3. worn At The Back

This is perhaps the easiest way to place your beret. Unfortunately, it’s also the most likely to slip and move around as your go about your day.

Step 1: Place the front edge of the beret just beyond your hairline and the back edge as close to the nape of your neck as it will allow. If you have a lot of hair or a larger head you may need to go higher.

Step 2: Tuck the brim under the beret to help secure it in place.

Step 3: Look at your hat from the side or use a second mirror to see how it looks from behind and make adjustments accordingly. You can add a bit more volume by tugging on the center or you can let it lay flat for a more circular look. You could also use bobby pins to further secure your beret from slipping.

Get the look: ASOS ($16); Auxiliary ($35); Aqua ($48); Hat Attack ($50); Ruslan Baginskiy ($200)


Keep your makeup muted
Pairing a Parisian beret and a bright red lip feels a bit too cliché for our taste. (Although, if you tuck a baguette under your arm and wrap a scarf around your neck, you’ve got an easy Halloween costume). We prefer to keep things simple with a touch of muted blush, some rosy eye shadow or a simple swipe of mascara to avoid an over-the-top effect.

Maybe skip the Breton stripes for today
Similar to a red lip, classic navy- or black-and-white stripes are just too on the nose when worn with a beret. Save your striped knits and tees for another day and opt for something in a floral print or an easy solid hue (color blocking would work, too).

Don’t be afraid to try fabric other than wool
Faux leather lends an unexpected tough edge to the classic beret, while chunky knits feel much more akin to a winter beanie. Switch things up and play around with different fabrics and patterns until you find one that suits you best.

Get the look: Amazon ($17); & Other Stories ($59); Eugenia Kim ($295)

Anchor your beret in place with a bold hair clip
Those with an abundance of hair or bouncy curls may find it hard to keep such a delicate hat in place. And while you could always try to sneak in a few bobby pins, unless they’re close in color to both your beret and your hair, they’re definitely going to stand out. We say go all out and choose a large clip or bold barrette (or two) to anchor your hat in place. Even better if they’re covered in mini faux pearls, tie-dye enamel or acrylic blooms.



Abby Hepworth is an RRCA-certified running coach who has worked in fashion for over 10 years. Want to know what shoes are in this season? She's got you. Need recommendations on...