A couple of months ago, we did a story that asked our editors to call out the one thing they’d never, ever wear. Not because the thing in question lacked for coolness or fashion cred, but because it simply seemed out of place in the realm of their own personal style. One reply that stuck with me specifically, from a former colleague: “I’d never, ever wear a beret. It’s a hat that serves no purpose and almost everyone who’s seen in them (poor souls) has them pulled too far down on their foreheads or are clearly attempting to tilt them just right. If you’re wearing a beret, you’re trying too hard, simple as that.”
I’d laughed with her—berets do tend to have a certain smarminess to them; a symbolic cliché if there ever was one. But it seems the slouchy little hat is making a play for the fashion crowd and succeeding thanks to—quelle surprise—Alessandro Michele and his “new” Gucci.
Since taking the reins at the Italian fashion house, Michele has articulated his very specific vision with clothes and accessories that embody quirk, youth, and wit—and what’s quirkier, more youthful, or wittier than a beret? The designer and creative director loves the style so much that he’s showcased knit and straw versions across several collections, plunked atop the heads of models to complete a more-is-more message that often includes oversized glasses, floppy pussy bows, sweater vests, granny bags, and plenty of metallic.
Because anyone who follows fashion is fond of proclaiming how much they love what Michele’s doing right now, it’s a given the beret has made its way onto the street style scene, and—inevitably—onto shelves at every fast-fashion retailer from ASOS to Zara.
Not sold? Check out the above gallery, which proves a beret doesn’t have to look—for lack of a better word—ridiculous for day-to-day wear, and shop a few of our favorite styles, too.