A cursory look at what the cool cats of street style are wearing and Resort ’19 trends will show that berets are hot AF right now. But as much as they’ve become the styling hack of the Bella Hadid Generation for their ability to add some sort of ’90s-cool mojo to your outfit, the fact of the matter is, berets have always made a statement.
The floppy disc-shaped headgear has reportedly been spotted in Bronze Age tombs around Italy and Denmark, landed on Classical sculptures and paintings, and even staked a claim as part of the sartorial lexicon of ancient Greece and Rome.
They then evolved to become the uniform of farmers and artists throughout the 1500s and 1600s, worn by peasants as well as grandmasters alike such as Rembrandt and Vermeer. Their association with the creative circle peaked during the Jazz Age when they became a sartorial symbol of bohemian genteelness, adopted by style savants like Edith Piaf and Lauren Bacall.
But it’s the beret’s political and revolutionary roots and association that has stuck with it for the most part of its modern-day use. Who can erase the image of a beret-wearing Che Guevara fighting for Cuba’s ’60s revolution? That militant style became the gold standard of what it meant to be anti-establishment and “woke” back in the day.
Besides Che, the nationalist and socialist party Black Panther Society also adopted this headpiece as the uniform (and symbol) of their fight — a look that Beyonce and her dancers resurrected for her Super Bowl 50 Half Time show performance.
While the berets worn by models for the Resort ’19 collections at Chanel, DSquared2 and Versace do not outrightly scream anti-establishment, the badassery they inject to a getup speaks volume. Chanel’s Fantasy tweed berets accompanied relaxed-vacay staples like sailor pants and the mid-riff tops. DSquared2 and Versace, meanwhile, adopted a more of a punk wardrobe that’s accented by jackets with strong shoulders and leather pants.
It got us thinking of another fashion icon who made wearing beret super feminine yet super kickass: Faye Dunaway in 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde.