Ever since I saw Faye Dunaway don a chic yellow beret as Bonnie Parker I’ve been obsessed. I’ve watched women wear berets in film throughout my life and it’s shaped the way I wear them too.
Growing up, my mom always dressed me in them. Perhaps secretly pretending I was a little French bambino. As a precocious young girl I loved old noir. The only thing more interesting than the mystery was the femme fatale, and in many cases, her sleek, trademark beret. But once I saw Marilyn in a sideways black one in Gentleman Prefer Blondes I officially embraced the style for myself.
Now, I have several, in various colors. Some are plain, and others with pearls, or small pins I’ve added to them.
Berets have gone in and out of style for decades. A staple of those 40’s noirs. Then huge again in the 60’s and 70’s with endless actresses like Faye Dunaway and Lauren Hutton rocking the look. Future decades would see a new wave of trends that weren’t harmonious with the hat.
And yet, they remain timeless. A perpetual staple in my closet.
Lately, the world is embracing berets again. Thanks to the cliche, divisive new show, Emily in Paris, and (a remake of the Hitchcock classic) Rebecca, Netflix is bringing them back into the spotlight.
I haven’t seen Emily in Paris but I did watch Rebecca. Like many comments I’ve seen, I also remain ambivalent about the reimagining of the story. But one thing is undeniable: the star power of Lily’s James grey beret. Accessorized with its frequent companion, the blonde bob.
Besides a few beautiful women showcasing them recently, there are obvious reasons to love them. They’re easy, classic, and (in many cases) usually quite affordable. Plus, almost always a chic way to show off style.
The resurrection of this accessory, (which to me never went away) has me reminiscing on all my favorite berets in film. And all the women that wore them so perfectly.
My favorite berets in film:
Bonnie Parker – Bonnie and Clyde. She was a killer, a lover, and a style icon.
Cora Smith – The Postman Always Rings Twice. I’m not sure why femme fatales always seem to gravitate towards solid colored berets. But in every noir where I find them, they always look wickedly good.
Lorelei Lee – Gentleman Prefer Blondes. Her hot pink evening gown in the Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend number is one of the most celebrated looks in film. But I think her black, sideways beret might be even more memorable. At least this is a look I can emulate.
Cher Horowitz – Clueless. We’ve envied Cher’s extensive wardrobe since we watched her stand in front of a rotating closet. Some trends have stayed in the 90’s but much of her wardrobe remains relevant. We may never rock a baby barrette again. But we still love her school girl chic, including that matching accessory.
Carly Norris – Sliver. Is any character in film more committed to her love of berets than Carly? Not only does she wear several throughout the movie, in an alternate ending she marries Zeke, her lover/stalker. The scene is impossible to find other than in grainy footage. But I did, and in the wedding scene she wears a white, wool beret. ICON.
Veronica Quaife- The Fly. Cronenberg’s sci-fi horror movie focuses on scientist turned fly Seth Brundle (Jeff Goldblum). But it’s Geena Davis’s less aggressive role as protagonist and love interest that steals many of the scenes.
Rebecca Carlson – Body of Evidence. Out of all Madonna’s many style evolutions her role as Rebecca Carlson is probably the least well known. Yet, I always remember it.