Beret story

Beret story
Romantic and revolutionary, bohemian and modest - it takes an amazing and, paradoxically, universal thing. At one time, he was worn by shepherds, soldiers, cultural figures, film stars, and politicians. And he approached everyone equally well, and he was always appropriate. To understand the secret of the “classics of Parisian charm”, refer to history.

Versions of origin

Although the history of this headdress is closely connected with France, the French themselves do not claim to be the proud title of its inventors. There are several versions of the origin of the beret, but none of them has yet been recognized as official. The earliest turns us to the Bible. Supposedly, when Noah was swimming in his ark, over which it was constantly raining, he noticed that the sheep wool on the deck was crushed and turned into felt. From it, he cut a circle, which he put on his head so as not to get his hair wet. But there are options more like the truth. Many historians believe that the Celtic headdress with a pompon on top of its head, as a "tam-o-shenter", became the prototype of the modern beret. According to other sources, the beret appeared in ancient Greece, and later came to the Romans. They gave him the name beretino and began to distribute the headdresses of aristocrats and ordinary citizens in the colors. From there, the berets migrated to the Basques (the people inhabiting part of modern northern Spain and southwestern France). Local shepherds in the Pyrenean rivers brought round flat caps of sheep's wool to the state of felt berets in our usual form.

Middle Ages

By the 15th century, berets became an indispensable part of the vestments of clergy, and later of other privileged gentlemen. But unlike shepherd's hats, they were made in the shape of a quadrangle. Proof that there are paintings and illustrations, which depict representatives of noble families. Recall at least the portraits of the English King Henry VIII Tudor, who poses in a variety of berets. By the end of the century, a flat cap was worn throughout Europe. The Germans, for example, prefer hats with the fields bent off to the back, and the French have models of silk, satin and velvet sewn onto the hard side. All sorts of embellishments in the form of embroidery, ostrich feathers, pearls and gilded ribbons were welcomed. In his toilet used such hats and women and men. At the beginning of the XVI century, the berets became round, and the first to change their shape were the Spaniards.

Era of romanticism

Until the 17th century, such a headdress in the trendy community was not particularly remembered, but in the era of romanticism a new milestone in the history of the berets began - they were loved by artists. For example, Rembrandt perpetuated this accessory in his self-portraits. At the same time, one of the Dukes of Florence introduced flat hats into the shape of his pages, which are colored models depending on the season. With the advent of the cocked hat, the beret again loses its relevance and until the XIX century remains only in the uniform of the Scottish military and the Swiss Guard of the Pope of Rome.


By the 19th century, textile production had already been established in the south-west of France, so it is not surprising that it was there that they mass-produced headgear, so popular for this area. The first factory of berets launched its work in 1810, and soon others followed it. Since until this time all the hats were made by hand, they had a characteristic “tail” on the top of the head. In machine production, this detail was added on purpose, so as not to deprive the accessory of its inherent charm. Soon the berets became so numerous that they became widespread throughout the continent. And when the industry was launched in Europe, and people from suburbs and villages began to move to major cities in search of vacancies, he was recognized as the headgear of the working class.

As an obligatory attribute, beret took and artists. Either from the fact that they wanted to imitate the great masters of the Renaissance, such as Rembrandt, or from the fact that they needed to keep their heads warm when they could not pay the rent and spent the night on the streets. Whatever the reasons, Monet, Cezanne, Marie Lorenn, Picasso and many others love to wear and paint this accessory, which has since been inextricably linked with the image of the artist. In 1889, the Hour Mountaineers. And during the First World War, he officially became part of the tank uniforms. Today such a hat is an element of the uniform of most armies in the world.

Russian empire

While the fashion for berets spread throughout Europe, for the first time they reached Russia at the beginning of the 19th century. They were made from expensive materials and were worn exclusively for exits. And if in the rest of the world this accessory was worn by everyone who wanted, then on the territory of the Empire it was supposed to wear this thing exclusively to married ladies. For example, in Pushkin’s work “Eugene Onegin” takes the symbol that the main character Tatiana is promised to another.

Beret Fashion

During World War II, the berets moved from the fronts to the wardrobes of fashionistas. As Mademoiselle Koko bequeathed, women wore them, sliding to one side. In the 1960s, this accessory became as revolutionary as a short skirt. Representatives of the beau monde and creative professions chose him as a headdress. Hipster wore berets with vests and turtlenecks, imitating Marseilles fishermen. In the Soviet Union, they were used for more practical purposes: as part of workwear at industrial enterprises. A little later, his example inspired all rebels Cuban politician Ernesto Che Guevara. And then Jamaican musician Bob Marley.

At the beginning of the XXI century, the berets disappeared from everywhere, including from fashionable reports, and this headdress began to call more likely provincial associations. But today it’s his finest hour. And whatever mood and image you choose, as history has shown, the beret will always have a place in it.

Comments 1