As with any fashion staple worth its salt, the beret has a long and dramatic history. From the heads of shepherds to standard issue military attire to art house darling, it has slowly and irrevocably imprinted itself on the fashion world. But does it deserve the modern Gallic associations it’s typically credited with? Yes, it has roots in France and some people (mostly octogenarians) wear them, but where it really gained popularity was in the US and UK in the mid-1900s. So is it just a stereotype, or is it still a French fashion staple?
In one of the most dramatic millinery moments of recent history, a sleek, sophisticated trendsetter in a turtleneck made headlines with her black leather beret. Unfortunately, despite the accent aigu at the end of her name, American pop and R&B sensation Beyoncé is not repping France in this photo, but paying homage to the Black Panthers, in this pre-Grammy party ensemble.
Faye Dunaway redefined this French accessory in the 1967 classic, Bonnie and Clyde, ironically making it the look du jour for one of the most iconically American films of all time.
Kim Kardashian, reality TV star and the face of America’s most (in)famous family, is only about as French as her manicure, but she does know how to work a camel cashmere beret.
Hold on. We might have found it. She’s wearing a beret, she’s not American, she’s even European! Oops, she’s Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge and future Queen of England, and definitely not French.
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– Harry and Meghan are resplendent on the different pictures taken last March. Despite the rainy day's weather, Meghan is the sunbeam and gives Harry a sense of warmth. They are incredible. 🌧☀️✨ – Harry et Meghan sont resplendissants sur les différentes photos prises en mars dernier. Malgré la météo de ce jour pluvieuse, Meghan est le rayon de soleil et dégage au côté d’Harry un sentiment de chaleur. Ils sont incroyables. 🌧☀️✨
Former American Suits actress and once-upon-a-time Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle seems to have learned a few tricks from her sister-in-law Kate, stunning in a white beret that is both non-traditional and undeniably classy (much like Markle herself).
Finally! It’s an actual French person, model Caroline de Maigret, wearing a hat! Oh. Wait. It’s… not a beret.
Admittedly, a beret might have been an improvement upon this questionable rust-hued bucket hat worn by French actress and singer Charlotte Gainsbourg. But I’m sure we can forgive the César award-winning muse of director Lars von Trier.
Voilà! It’s French actress Marion Cotillard WEARING A BERET! …during a film scene where she plays a French spy in a World War II period piece. Almost had it!
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This list wouldn’t be complete without the one, the only, Sarah Jessica Parker, who wears so many berets as Carrie Bradshaw on Sex & the City that picking just one feels like a cop out.
…So good luck actually finding a real French person in a beret. It might take a while.
Featured image: Stock Photos from Mauro del Signore /Shutterstock