With the cool but not yet deeply frigid weather, it's time to dip into my foot-high stack of felt berets and find a jaunty angle. The beret is the perfect intersection of practicality and style: you can tuck it in a bag, and it emerges intact. You can buy a new colour for less than $20 or splurge with studs, sequins or cashmere.
Pulled over the ears, it stops sharp wind, but on a clement day, pushed to the back of the head, it's barely there. Mine are wool felt; blogger and expert knitter materfamilias creates a luscious soft wool model that friends beg for. Like a well-cut black V-neck, the beret's neither in nor out of style, just indispensable.
And for some reason, perhaps only wishful thinking, berets impart less hat head. An embellished beret, like the gray model at left, elevates a simple dress and boots. One of my favourites is deep purplish blue with gold nailhead studs, from the hat salon at Holt Renfrew. I like a brooch on a beret, an effect I saw several times in Paris.
If that's how I feel about berets, guess how I feel about men in them! I beg Le Duc to wear his Basque beret, and he occasionally obliges, though he prefers fedoras.If you doubt, pause to admire, strictly for sartorial edification, Alain Delon in "Doucement les Basses".
A cat in a hat? If a beret, mignonne!