The Beret-A Favorite Through the Decades



My affection for Berets started when I was 17 from the striking pictures of Faye Dunaway. Her cool, sophisticated, dangerous stare looked out from posters of the big movie that year (1967), “Bonnie and Clyde.”

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Not as sultry a Faye, but it works for me. In this photo, I’m also showing off my new earrings by Michal Golan.

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Archaeologists have found felt beret looking artifacts in tombs as early as the Bronze Age. As far back as 3000 BC, folks figured out what happened to sheep wool when the fibers were wet and rubbed together: the miracle of felt. Every farmer, shepard and peasant were able to have a wool type beret to keep their head warm. For centuries, the beret was the hat of choice for the lower classes. Artists such as Rembrandt painted many self portraits donned in a beret.

    Rembrandt wearing one of his Berets in one of his many self portraits

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I’m probably just a little bit happier here than Rembrandt.

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Military

The beret took an important turn mid 19th century when an elite French group of the French Army, the Chasseurs Alpins, included light blue Berets as part of their uniform. Over the decades, other military organizations began using this simple wool hat. Britain during WWI adapted it for their tank corps. In the 1960’s, the United States Army’s special forces looked so great in their snappy berets they became known simly as the “Green Berets”.

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From top left and going clockwise: A French Alpine Chasseur Alpins-Alpines.fr Che Guevara- Che Guevara at the funeral for the victims of the Coubre explosion. Photo taken on March 5, 1960 by Alberto Diaz Gutierrez (Alberto Korda), from Museo Che Guevara, Havana, Cuba, General Bernard Law Montgomery or “Monty” with General Dwight D. Eisenhower , and The Black PanthersLonnie Wilson, untitled (Black Panthers at Alameda County Courthouse), July 14, 1968, Gelatine silver photograph, 14 x 9.5, the Oakland Tribute Collection, the Oakland Museum of California, gift of ANG newspapers

Revolutionary

During the ’60s, the black beret took on even more meaning as a symbol. Che Guevara will be forever immortalized wearing a black beret with the silver star. In the United States, the Black Panthers used the black beret as a symbol in fighting injustice with a strong voice.

Past, Present and Future

Getting a little make-believe and romantic look with my brown beret

walking

I didn’t get to have a real felted beret in 1967 because my mother wasn’t big on buying ready-made clothes from stores for me. If I realy wanted something, I had to make it. She would usually get me patterns and material. So I made a beret substitute, called then a tam, short for tam-o’-shanter.

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I didn’t put the pom-poms on just made a material loop to try emulate the beret. I remember not really liking my skirt too well and only wore it a few times. 

Using this pattern, I could make a tam out of wool scraps. I always had a rainbow of lining colors on hand. As a side note, I remember making that kilt on the front out of peacock-blue wool. Sadly, those earlier endeavors, have been lost (darn moths).

Over the years, I’ve been fortunate to own a few real berets. Until last year, I always just worn them unadorned. Last year I figured out that I could show off some of my pins with them for a little spice.

No pin on this one, but the deep red really jazzed up the black, didn’t it?

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Flat like pancakes, a beret collection doesn’t take up much space. Just for fun, I threw in my vintage Poodle pins.

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My oldest beret with one of my Pendleton 49ers coats.

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I just like berets, you may have notced. I’ll share with you an ETSY shop that I am drooling over because they have twenty-nine different colors of berets. I’ve had this shop on my mind for over a year, but held off ordering (shipping brings me down).

The ETSY shop is Jedrzejko. Jedrzjko carries creative things like hat-forms for hat designers and other handmade items. But they have all those colors of Berets! Bottle green, raspberry, eggplant are just a few of the yummy colors they offer.

I should probably mention that there are many good sources on eBay for berets (where a few of mine originated). I see quite a few on Amazon too.

Almost the last Picture!-Berets just seem to go with most of what I have, from faux vintage fur jackets, modern leather, or highland plaid.

furberet                                        That vintage jacket was love at first sight!

firstsight

Possible DIY

Most of you know I have quite a collection of woollies (sheep and Alpacas) on our farm and a fair amount of history with sewing, knitting, spinning yarn.  Also, I’ve dabbled with very elementary felt making. While writing this post, I thought that I might be able to make my own beret and have already viewed a few beret felting videos. I don’t know when I will give this a try but will let everyone know when I do and how it turned out.

That wraps up my tribute to the small piece of felt that fits my head so nicely. Berets are very popular at the moment. There are chances you can find them about anywhere. I would encourage you to just check one out, try it on and see what you think.

I link up with some great blogs every week. To see who they are go HERE.

Husband Michael gets credit for the photos of me and does a bit of editing from time to time.

Again, thanks for stopping by. Take care……..

namemistrial

Time for my usual link-up blurb!

It’s time for the January’s 2nd Loved 1st Friday Linkup which stays open until January 31st.

Any post on a blog, Instagram, Facebook or the like can linkup to this style celebration. If you can copy and paste the URL in the Linky box, you are good to go!

One item is quite OK—a hat, skirt, pants, shoes, purse, or a piece of jewelry.  That item (or items) can be from a thrift shop, eBay, consignment shop, vintage boutique, one of the online consignment shops such as RealReal–or even something a friend gave you because they didn’t want it anymore.

When you do post, I would appreciate a description about your 2nd Loved item (or items), what type of shop you found it and what drew you to it. Tell as much or as little as you want. To be featured in my collage, which I will put on Instagram along with your links, you have to say what item is second loved. That is a “have to”.

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If you have never participated in a linkup before, no fear. Go to Linkup 101 guide that is found on my 2nd Loved 1st Friday linkup page (also found at the top in the tab section).

Just click the frog below to link up and join the fun!


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24 thoughts on “The Beret-A Favorite Through the Decades

  1. I loved this post because you gave a fun history of this most versatile hat! I’m a big fan of the beret so this was right up my alley!!
    Hey–if you figure out the felt thing and start making berets, will you sell them??????

    Liked by 1 person

  2. As you said Terri, great minds etc! You are definitely a highly stylish beret wearer and what a wonderful collection of berets you have. I particularly like the photo with you wearing the deep red beret. I’m going to have to try one myself!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love berets too and you look fabulous in all of these photos but I think my favourite is the one in neutral colours with the plaid wrap. It’s such a sophisticated look and you look wonderful in it.
    I love the poodle brooches too of course 😉 xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember having such fun when I did that post because we went to the old bridge by our place. The shawl took much longer to fringe than I thought it would but I love it and it stays on the back of my chair and it is also a great lap blanket.

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  4. What a wonderful collection of berets you’re got, Terri! I love berets and decided to feature a white one this week, and then find two of my fave bloggers also featuring berets!!! Well, I think great minds think alike! Also I truly love the history you’ve given us – such a good read. A great post – thank you, really enjoyed reading it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know you have a few berets yourself. It’s funny how they are so big this year, given how long their history have been. I guess they just bubble up once in a while but I know some of us will just always wear them no matter what the so called “influencers” do.

      I especially remember your sequined beret and have a project in mind that was inspired by that particular hat of yours. I’ll say no more because I have no idea if and when I will get it done.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. A woolly sheep-I like that idea. I have sheep pins but none out of yarn and that sort of surprises me. Thank you for not being able choose a photo. I had no idea I wore Berets so much until I started gathering up pictures. I had so many, Michael got the week off as a photographer!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love berets and they really suit your pretty face and your hair, you look beautiful as always, Terri. I love Faye’s look BITD, and actually knitted myself a top similar to hers in that pic from a 1940s pattern, OK I was a decade out but I loved the pattern I found.
    My dad drove a tank in WW2.
    I checked out the beret website they don’t even deliver to Guernsey!
    Great POS, hugs x.

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  6. I think they deliver to Guernsey-I went to their real web-site and they list Great Britain and “others”. With as expensive the shipping is for me, I’ve decided I have to try and felt one before I spend all that money.

    I have a book of patterns for vintage knitted tops but never attempted so the fact that you knitted one-kudos!

    Your Dad rove a tank-wow. My Dad spent WW2 in Panama watching out for German aircraft. Mom was a Marine MP in Washington DC and even walked a German Shepard sometimes with her. I have a photo album of her years being there and treasure it greatly. Take care, and hugs back-xo

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  7. A fascinating history of the beret! You have an enviable collection, and they really suit you. The Etsy shop you mentioned is very tempting, I think I might be doing a bit of online shopping this evening! I’d love to know how you get on with the felt-making. Thanks for linking up!

    Emma xxx
    http://www.style-splash.com

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Terry,
    Ahhhhh! I love your post & your blog! I have to admit I have lost my way in style a bit over the past few years with a few unwelcome visitors taking up residency in my physical self….

    I love up cycling though & am beginning to slowly find my own unique style…so your blog is just so encouraging in that! I too have white hair now, once a strawberry blonde. I think the biggest challenge with style is to meet our changing self with chic rather than fashion trends…don’t you?

    You are most welcome to drop by with your favorite beverage, add a tasty treat of deliciousness & reflect with me for awhile.
    Jennifer

    Like

  9. Hi Terri
    I love learning the history of garments and fashion, very interesting. I really love the berets you own, i was looking at some the other day, as i do think they look great on. i really love your vintage pins and how you added them to your hat. your grey and brown ensemble, is so chic too!
    thanks for linking!
    jess xx
    http://www.elegantlydressedandstylish.com

    Liked by 1 person

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