Charting The Beret's History: From Protest To Catwalk

The beret has made an unlikely comeback this summer. Thanks to Adwoa Aboah's '90s streetwear turn at Glastonbury and Rihanna wearing Dior's leather number at Paris Fashion Week this past March, it's set to be your new headwear of choice. And though it was first worn as far back as Ancient Greece, the beret really entered popular consciousness as a political accessory — especially apropo considering the Trumpian state we live in today.
Worn by French resistance fighters during WWII, it was later adopted by Che Guevara, whose unmistakable dark beret is still preserved in Cuba's Museum of the Revolution. In the late '60s, Black Panther Party revolutionaries donned leather jackets with black berets atop their afros, a look Beyoncé paid homage to in her 2016 Super Bowl halftime show. Elsewhere, it was also associated with the Nouvelle Vague movement in France, with ingénue actresses Jean Seberg and Anna Karina sporting theirs with feline-flicked eyeliner and a cigarette in-hand. Of course, the beret has had its cinematic moments, too: Julia Roberts in Notting Hill, Alicia Silverstone in Clueless, Eva Green in The Dreamers and, more recently, Rooney Mara in Carol.
As is the way with iconic pieces, the beret has sometimes fallen into twee, costume, or hard-to-wear territory. But some of our favorite style stars are proving that there are countless ways to style the hat, from Beatnik- to military- to hip-hop-inspired. Here's five ways to wear the accessory du jour.
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Photo: Getty Images
Aboah channeled the '90s at Glastonbury, wearing a wide-leg camo jumpsuit underneath a Hunter rain coat. Worn by everyone from Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice to Tupac, streetwear has often incorporated the beret, and the model's yellow-tinted sunglasses and layered gold jewelry pay homage to the era.

Her beret is by Itchy Scratchy Patchy, Edie Campbell and Christabel MacGreevy's customization label; their pins and hats reading "Anarchy," "Respect," and "Solidarity" are a favorite with activists and Instagrammers alike.
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Photo: REX/Shutterstock
We always look to French singer Soko – often spotted in a beret – for finely balanced eclectic ensembles. Pictured here at Revolve's Coachella party, she pulled together a band tee, oversized silk jacket, choker, pleated skirt, tinted shades, and leather hat. Is there anything more French than round sunglasses and a beret.
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Photo: Getty Images
From Beyoncé's Formation video to Kendrick Lamar's Grammys performance, the Black Panthers' influence on culture has been recognized and revived over and over again. Here, Rihanna at Dior's fall/winter '17 show livens up a head-to-toe black look. She sported the brand's wool overcoat, choker, suede platform boots,ß shades, and beret, which were replicas of those worn on the runway.
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Photo: REX/Shutterstock
Color Pop
Artist and designer Miranda Makaroff is your one-stop Instagram style stalk for color, print clashes, and fun. (She's also the ultimate Alessandro Michele muse, thanks to an aesthetic that's part-5-year-old, part-granny chic. In a Missoni chevron-striped crop top, pink pleated H&M skirt, and Moncler jacket, she gives a good lesson in color-blocking, with a vintage yellow piece. Who said berets had to be black?
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Photo: REX/Shutterstock
Scottish model Emma Louise Connolly looks every inch Mick Jagger in Revolve at The Ivy Chelsea Garden summer party. A brocade and velvet collarless jacket channels a singular '70s aesthetic, but topped off with a chunky western belt, red lip, and black tilted beret, this is modern bohemian style.