​12 Ways to Embellish a Classic Beret 

4th Jul 2022

Few hats have been adopted by so many groups of people living in different places and in different periods of history as the humble beret. 

The modern origin of the beret however can be traced to the Basques, those rural people living on both the French and Spanish sides of the Pyrenees Mountains. As it turns out the beret is not so humble. It was the chosen headwear for the French Resistance Movement, the American Green Berets, the revolutionary guerrilla fighter, Che Guevara, notable writers like Ernest Hemingway, artists and musicians and even at one time, the Girl Guides.

And we all know that Emily in Paris channelled her inner French chic and wore it as the quintessential French accessory. Perhaps even Madeline could have been persuaded to ditch her straw boater for a beret, and certainly it is going to be only a matter of time before Claris the Chicest Mouse in Paris dons a dashing beret.

Here at Embellish Atelier and Hatters Millinery Supplies we love our lambswool berets, fashioned in the classic style. Berets are so easy to wear – everyone looks great in a beret. 

They are also so easy to pack and are super warm which makes them the perfect travelling companion. 

To extend the life of your beret and keep it current, our creative team has come up with 12 clever ways to embellish your beret with materials and accessories available from Hatters Millinery Supplies.

1.PEARLS AND BLING – to add sparkle to your life Hand-sew or glue flat-back jewels, beads or sequins (why not use all three) to your beret for a touch of glamour 

2.PETERSHAM RIBBON – for a regal, formal look Create a gorgeous millinery bow or cockade from this versatile twill/grosgrain style of ribbon and stitch it to your beret. A cockade, or rosette knot of ribbons was at first the button and loop which ‘cocked’ up the side of an ordinary slouch hat.

3.VEILING – for mystique and allure Add beautifully-blocked veiling or even cut-off veiling to your beret to create a different style of hat 

4.HAT PINS – add a decorative highlight Make or purchase a hat pin or even a fabulous brooch (or two) and pin them where they can easily been seen 

5.CUSTOM DYE – experiment with different colours Get creative with dyeing such as tie-dye and indigo dyes. Or hand-paint to create an original look 

6.POM POM – winterise your beret Create a ‘tam-o-shanter’ with the addition of a fluffy fur pom pom. Totally gorgeous 

7.CHARM OFFENSIVE – go bohemian Raid your jewellery drawer for charms, broken chains and wayward pearls and crystals – the more the merrier – and sew onto your beret at random

8.APPLIQUÉ – go posh Appliqué is a time-worn trick for ramping up the style volume. Stitch neatly onto your beret where it counts 

9.EMBROIDERY – stitch your flowers We love covering a beret with a garden of flowers. Use cross-stitch, bullion stitch, lazy daisies, satin stitch and gold-work to make a signature beret 

10.FLOWER POWER – with one big bloom Add a flower handmade from wool or silk. Even a few petals will individualise your beret 

11.FABRIC MANIPULATION – experiment, be brave, slash or weave? Try your hand with fabric manipulation techniques for an original effect

12.NEEDLE FELTING – with wool Create exquisite, innovative designs by needle-felting into the wool of the beret. ** Why not combine techniques for an original design and make sure to send us images of your beautiful creation


•Hatters Millinery Supplies for ribbons, veiling and vintage silk flowers

•Embellish Atelier makes a variety of hat pins 

• Join one of our  workshops to learn how to make silk flowers or 

•Join the Language of Flowers workshop for how to make a signature vintage-style cockade

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