The New Popularity of the Beret in Paris

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The New Popularity of the Beret in Paris
When my family and I visited Paris in the dark ages of the early 21st century, my husband brought his beret. His Basque beret was part of his personal style, so his accessory naturally came with him. However, he was the only person we saw during our week in Paris wearing the iconic hat. It was a little laughable for him to be the only example. Fast forward to 2023 and everyone’s wearing a beret, and wearing it with gusto. Bins of these colored pancakes are found in the tourist-driven boutiques that line the Seine. What could be reason for this switch in the beret’s popularity? Love her or hate her, Emily in Paris has turned a multitude of French visitors into fashion victims. A cursory Google of Lily Collins/Emily Cooper shows she must have a hat rack brimming with red, black, and yellow berets. During the show’s first season, there was a surge of online searches for red berets. To me it seems these acorn toppers are a stereotype of Frenchness that has travelled across the Atlantic and back again.   View this post on Instagram   A post shared by Emily In Paris (@emilyinparis) Like a striped Breton jersey, a bicycle and a baguette, the basic beret is emblematic of the French. Credit is due to 17th-century shepherds in the Basque and Pyrenees regions of France for creating the beret. Shepherds were long aware that the fleece of their flocks kept the sheep warm and dry. They started lining their shoes with tufts of wool, which soon became matted and felted, to say the least! Their country wisdom led them to knit a simple saucer-like hat knitted from the wool of their sheep. The hat shrunk instantly when exposed to rain. However, the shrinkage served to naturally felt the wool into an impermeable fabric. Soon the shepherds’ têtes were as water repellent as their woolly charges.

Lead photo credit : Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

More in Beret, emily in paris, fashion, La Manafacture des Bérets, Laulhère, Le Béret Français

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A freelance writer and amateur historian, Hazel knew she wanted to focus on the lives of French artists and femme fatales after an epiphany at the Musée d'Orsay. A life-long learner, she is a recent graduate of Art History from the University of Toronto. Now she is searching for a real-life art history mystery to solve.


  • Hazel Smith
    2023-02-03 09:52:10
    Hazel Smith
    David and Mary - Cashmere berets can be found at The other two beret manufacturers in my article offer berets made of top quality wool. I have included links to their websites.


  • David Beams
    2023-02-02 10:50:20
    David Beams
    How can I purchase a cashmere beret made in France?


    • Mary Beyda
      2023-02-02 11:29:34
      Mary Beyda
      I have the same question. And it must be for a very large head.