Wool Beret

Thanks to the fall runways and support from trendsetters like Nicole Richie, at this very moment, the beret is having its sartorial heyday. While the wool beret (not to be confused with its homespun cousin, the knit beret) is traditionally associated with artists, beatniks, and commando units (like the Green Berets), this season the head-topper was quite the hit with the fashion crowd.

The Fall 07 shows primarily showcased black or white berets (see examples of Louis Vuitton, Versace, and Ralph Lauren, above), but we think this chapeau looks quite darling in a cheery cherry, like the one Richie recently picked. Of course, one of the lovely aspects of this accessory is the fact that you could certainly buy several shades and not have buyer's remorse. Even with the exchange rate, Topshop's red Felt Beret ($24.50) is still a good buy. We also dig the simple ivory Wool Beret ($32) from Hat Attack, as well as their Scotch-tam style Wool Beret With Pom Poms ($36).

If the affordability and accessibility aspects haven't convinced you to get on the beret express, there are other reasons to try this look. Much like the right sunglasses or scarf, a beret has the ability to upgrade an otherwise beige outfit. It adds a certain style factor that can glam up even jeans and a t-shirt. On a more practical note, it's also a fantastic way to hide dirty or unkempt hair. The beret is a fashion item, not just a utilitarian head-warmer, so you won't look odd wearing one inside (as you might wearing, oh, say, one of these).

Photo of Nicole, Pacific Coast News.