Vive le Beret! French Hat Gains Popularity During Recession

Vive le Beret! French Hat Gains Popularity During Recession

Bonjour everyone! What a glorious morning! After my energizing run I headed inside for a fiber-packed breakfast:

I started my day with Kashi Go Lean Crunch!

Kashi Go Lean cereal: a very high fiber way to start the day!

Had a little Kashi Go Lean Crunch – packed with 8g of fiber per cup -whoa! – with a few slices of a very ripe pear on the side. Gotta love that fiber.


While perusing the Internet during breakfast (I know I should really NOT multitask during breakfast, it’s so not French) I came across some very exciting news. The Telegraph, a major newspaper in Britain, recently reported that the French beret is making a comeback. Yeah! I’m so excited because I’ve always liked berets. Really, from the time I was a little girl I imagined that I was the storybook character, Madeline, sporting a yellow beret and walking around Paris with my classmates (ok, so she didn’t really wear a beret, but she was French and did wear a yellow hat that I thought was a beret).

The French beret is back in style!

The French beret is back in style!

Apparently, the French have taken it upon themselves to start the beret craze once more, but not merely as a fashion statement. According to the article, the French are wearing their berets to emphasize their French heritage: 

Following the collapse of the Anglo-Saxon economy young people are harking back to their roots, showing they’re proud to be French.

Some manufacturers are even claiming that beret sales have doubled since the start of the credit crunch.


Berets are the somewhat stereotypical French accessory, historically worn by both men and women in France. I think that the mushroom-top hat became so associated with the French that it eventually became cliché and even a fashion faux pas to wear it outside of France. Even then, if you were an American wearing a beret in France, this fashion statement could been seen as a mocking gesture to French culture.

Even French men can wear a beret and look good - well, sort of....

Even French men can wear a beret and look good - well, sort of....

Like many trends of the day, berets seem to fall in and out of fashion – sometimes being worn by supermodels and other times only elderly women and diehard Francophiles. Classic film stars – Brigitte Bardot and Greta Garbo popularized berets in the 30s and beatnik poets did the same in the late 50s early 60s. Berets came back in style for a very short time in the 90s when Monica Lewinsky was pictured in one with former President Clinton – although I’m not sure how much this did to improve the beret’s reputation.


Still, about 10 years ago, I ventured into the Gap and actually saw a beret on display. This was the first time I had seen a beret in a very long time (outside of France in Epcot). I absolutely loved the little light brown wool beret and immediately plopped down the money to buy it. A friend who I was with thought I was crazy because berets were “really not in style”. What he meant was, berets weren’t his style – but they were and still are definitely my style. After 10 years, I still have my first beret, although I have to admit it is slightly smaller than I remember and slighlty more “worn” looking than I would like. I think it’s time for a new one!

So, thank you France for being proud to be French and wearing your berets with pride. Even if they are only back in style for a season, I am very glad that they are. Now, if I could only find a nice lightweight beret for summer!


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