Since moving to Paris I stopped wearing berets after a lifetime of being an avid fan of the Frenchest of French headwear. Since a child, I have tried to channel Faye Dunaway in Bonnie and Clyde. I love berets and they make me so happy perched on my long straight hair, somehow making my self-cut fringe look straighter than it really is. Alas, I have not worn a single beret since moving here, having been too afraid of looking like a total cliché and/or a tourist. It is hard enough being an Englishwomen in Paris, going around speaking bad French and feeling guilty at the excitement that coming across a Pret conjures up, without adding a novelty hat to the mix. As Eva Wiseman said in a recent Guardian article, ‘wearing a beret, you’re always on the frontline.’ and that even more so the case here in France.
Wearing a beret is a statement look especially when you are a foreigner in Paris so I have been a coward for a few years now. A coward and a snob if I’m honest, because I was a bit concerned about looking too much like Carrie Bradshaw. I mean she looks amazing and like millions of women globally I want her wardrobe, but I have to take the metro and therefore endure the judgie French rather than simply hop into a cab wearing outfits as outlandish as my imagination. You see, the French are quite conservative when it comes to fashion and favour a neutral, parred back and more conformist approach. It is chic and I love their passion for quality, but it also does not welcome the kind of individuality and expression you see in London. As a result, my day to day wardrobe has changed since I moved to Paris and I have embraced navy, black, and scarfs but I still can’t resist adding a vintage piece or stand out footwear to an outfit, resulting in acquaintances telling me that I look so English, which I think is code for eccentric.
I was recently in the Parisian branch of Monki (I can be sighted there regularly tbh) watching French girls buying and sporting berets, and I think that it is now time, time for me to get over it. I will once again proudly wear a beret! Afterall, I do have a lovely camel coloured one in the wardrobe and cannot wait to pair it with sixties makeup or a plum lip like Rihanna.