Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
Click on the “accessories” tab of any shopping website and you will notice something odd: flat-topped, highly un-ergonomical garments perched perfectly atop a model’s head, marketing itself as a hat. I didn’t know “hat” was a synonym for “magical swath of felt that can somehow defy the laws of physics”!!!!!!!
Its actual name, of course, is “beret,” or as I have come to call it, Lie #48640559076 the fashion industrial complex has fed you.
Look how happy she is, in her millennial-pink color scheme that also perfectly complements her turtleneck and hair! I purchased it immediately, confident that it would be the final missing piece of the mood board I have always been too lazy to actually create.
Unfortunately, I soon discovered that it is also the least practical item of clothing in the entire universe.
Let me begin by noting that this is not Asos’s fault. Rather, blame rests upon the shoulders of the entire internet (or at least the segment of the internet in charge of selling berets). Because Asos isn’t the only one selling berets by placing them on models’s heads using some kind of egregious Photoshop and/or sorcery.
Take, for instance, American Apparel, which has clearly used some kind of extra-strength glue to keep this purple beret on this person’s head:
Or Beth Ditto’s new clothing line, which features a beret that, while very cute, has some nerve suggesting I shave the top round part of my head off in order to plop it on:
Meanwhile, Urban Outfitters would like you to just walk around all day holding your beret so that it won’t fall off, as if this is a totally reasonable thing to ask of a customer:
And Aritzia is pretending this hat wasn’t in the process of falling off as this photo was taken:
Gucci must have found the world’s smallest-headed model for this shoot, since no beret in history has ever had that much space left in the top:
Ditto with Inc:
Lazy Oaf, on the other hand, has got to be kidding me with the physics of this:
Even Hot Topic is complicit in this lie, which like, et tu, Hot Topic?!
The list goes on. In fact, I’d argue that there is not a single realistic image of a person wearing a beret on the internet.
To test this theory, I returned to the very root of this problem. Could my pink Asos beret actually look as good on a real, non-internet head?
For reference, here is the original photo:
And here is what it looks like when I try to recreate this pose and then move my head around:
See, unlike the promotional image, when placed on my head, this beret does not do the thing where it looks perfect and cute. Instead, it sits on my head for a few seconds and falls off.
In fairness, perhaps this is just not the way my head is meant to wear a beret. So I referred to this other Asos image of the same beret, but styled differently:
And here is me putting it on, looking at my reflection, and trying not to barf:
As is evident, no one except professional models should attempt to wear a beret like this, because it is ugly as hell.
Finally, here is possibly the most laughable photo of a person wearing the same beret on the internet:
I don’t even need to explain to you what happened when I tried to put my beret this far back on my head:
Incidentally, this gif is also a relatively good summary of how I feel about internet berets in general: Lies that I don’t buy, but that I will pay money for.