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Monday, July 16, 2012

The history of the French Beret

I have always loved a beret and for a time sported a royal blue one. I love this  photo of a French woman wearing one and while I didn't look quite as chic as she does wearing this one, I have always thought they were "tres chic".  Here is a bit of history on them:

Image via Pinterest via ~ P. Suzette Orr

A soft, brimless cap, round in shape, the useful beret (from the Latin birretum, meaning "cap") has been worn by many different peoples from ancient times into the twenty-first century. Usually made from sturdy wool felt, a strong fabric that prevents the passage of wind and water, the beret is designed with a tight-fitting crown that helps hold the hat on the head without the use of elastic. Simple in design, yet offering excellent protection from cold, wind, and rain, the beret has been traced back as far as early cultures on the Greek island of Crete, around 1500 B.C.E. . The beret was the most popular men's hat during the late Middle Ages (c. 500–c. 1500 C.E. ) and into the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, especially in France, Italy, and Spain.
French legend credits the biblical hero Noah with the creation of the beret, holding that Noah discovered that the wool used to waterproof the ark had been trampled by the animals into a tough felt fabric, which he then made into a weatherproof hat. Another story says that it was medieval shepherds who invented the hat by exposing knitted wool to the weather until it swelled and became solid felt. The real origin of the beret style is lost in history, but the hat became popular headgear during the Middle Ages. It was not only warm but practical too, because it kept the hair out of the face and stayed firmly on the head, yet it had no brim to get in the way of a shooter's aim. For these reasons, the beret is still a popular choice for special military uniforms.

How about you?  Would you wear a beret?

Image via Pinterest ~ Originally pinned by Astrid Rangel
Ooh la la, so very French!


  1. The woman in the picture looks gorgeous with the beret !
    I had one in my younger days and loved it !

  2. I love berets and I still have one in red that I sometimes wear. It looks great too

  3. LOVE the pic of that woman! Unfortunately, I really can´t wear one even though I´d want to - my face shape is all wrong for most hats. SO unfair! :-/

  4. I love to wear hats, but do not have a beret... tant pis! I would love a kitty in a beret!


  5. Hi Kris,

    Love berets, love hats! My first post in 2 months. whoo hoo. So difficult to find the time to do everything I would like to do.
    I miss your sweet face on facebook. Come back soon.

    Army son has had a few "issues" but overall is ok.
    Love and miss you!

  6. What a charming post today, Kris. Yes, I would bear a beret, but I have to say, I don't think I'd look this stylish. Interesting facts about this wonderful little hat, and the kitten is oh, so French.
    ~Sheri at Red Rose Alley

  7. Wonderful image of a pretty woman!

    ♥ Franka

  8. I love berets - they are rather chic aren't they:) Love the kitty and the glamourous lady. Happy day to you Kris,

  9. I like blogs full of good ideas and fresh as yours.

  10. I love women in berets ... and some men too! I have tried one on numerous times, wanting to look chic but just look slightly ridiculous! M x

  11. One has to love the French and their berets.

  12. great idea fora blog post, I love beret too-its cute+handy, loved all the historic info! have a lovely new week:-)

  13. great idea this blog entry, I love beret too; thanks for the interesting history part+info! lovely new week from me:-)

  14. Oui, I would wear a beret and a cloche, and just about any type of hat. I love hats. The Latin word for head is "caput" which is where we get the word cap.

  15. I'm still laughing over the kitty-----

    I love beret style hats--- one of the things I love most about winter is being able to wear great hats!!

  16. Love berets..they do look so marvelous. My daughter wears one..I really need to get another one - as it was mine she swiped ;D But, its good for going out or when I don't completely feel like doing my hair ;) xx


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