Have you been wondering about the history of a French beret? Did you ever wonder why French berets are so popular in military uniforms? Read our guide for this and more information…
The French Beret has not only been a popular military head dress that is a part of the military uniform of many countries but it is also a style statement that has been used by many celebrities. The word which is pronounced as buh’rei is a round cap that is made of a soft material such as wool or felt.
It has a flat crown and you will normally see both men and women adorning this cap. Even though the name suggests that it is traditionally associated with France there are several varieties of the beret that come from various regions. One such is the traditional Basque beret which it identifies by a folded in headband.
The beret has been very popular as a military hat in many countries in the last few decades. In some countries it is a hat worn by certain elite security units. These berets will usually have unusual colors like the maroon berets worn by the Common wealth parachute troops or the green berets of the Royal marine Commandos and the United States Special Forces. However the first military unit to select this hat as a part of their uniform was the French Chasseur Alpins.
Berets were originally used by the peasants from the Northern Basque region at the border of Southern France and Northern Spain. These were traditionally made of wool but today various other fibers such as wool felt and acrylic fiber are also used to make the beret. The correct way to wear a beret is to have it sit snugly around the head while the soft crown can have a variety of shapes. Even though generally this crown is pushed to one side and which side it goes to is a matter of local custom, there is no hard and fast rule regarding this.
Generally a beret that is a part of a uniform will have a headband or sweatband made of leather or silk attached to it for obvious reasons. When worn military style the headband of the beret is turned down making it visible. In some militaries it is common to remove the liner because this interferes with the head warming capacity of the beret, most units do not require the permission of a superior officer to do so.
Berets were first introduced as a part of military uniforms the world over around the mid twentieth century. Normally the trend among most military units that use the beret as part of their uniform is to pull the crown to the right but you will see that the militaries of many European countries including France will pull it to the left.
The reason for the astounding popularity of the beret as a part of a military uniform lies in the fact that it has certain very practical features associated with it. The first feature is of course the ease of making and the cheap cost. They can be made in a variety of colors signifying the different braches of a security force.
They can be carried without too much hassle and all an officer needs to do is fold it and stuff it into his/her pocket without damaging the hat. But they are not particularly useful in battle conditions a they offer little protection to the head against sun and the rain. Yet nobody can deny their popularity with the militaries of the world since the late 20th and early 21st century.