They’ve been around so long that it’s not really clear where the beret was first invented. In fact French legend gives credit to Noah for its creation. According to the legend Noah used wool to insulate the the ark. With all the animals trampling on it for 40 days and 40 nights it turned into a tough material or fabric. That fabric, according to the legend was felt. Noah then used the felt to make himself a cap – or the first felt beret!
There’s another opinion that it was shepherds who first created the beret hat. Why shepherds? Well they wore these knitted wool hats outside every day and due to the weather conditions it swelled and became solid felt. And thus, they had a beret.
Most probably though, the beret hat originated in Greece 2,500 years ago. The Romans thought very highly of it so they adopted them. Soon it became the style for man, woman and child. Berets were seen everywhere in Rome. So, therefore they became known as a Greek – Roman hat.
From 2,500 years ago the hat beret has definitely come a long way, here are some of the more popular uses they’ve been put to since the 1900’s.
- In the early 1900’s berets were mostly worn by the French (in France). Of course, Belgians also wore them since France set the trend for them. In France and Belgium, berets were worn only by men, either for uniform or style. It was also worn by younger boys for style.
- In the 1920’s the womens beret became very popular in America for women and girls. It was designed and decorated in a more feminine manner and was a very fashionable head covering.
- In the 1930’s the beret was mostly worn by men and boys in France and Belgium. In America, it was now little boys who wore berets for style.
- In the 1940’s, the beret hat was adopted by many military groups and forces.
- In the1950’s, scouts outside of France decided to adopt the beret as a uniform hat. They made a great uniform hat for a scout since they were comfortable and sat on the head in any position. They also got the idea from the military. Since the military had adopted this hat for their uniform it was more prestigious. However, once the military and the scouts started wearing these in France, men and little boys were rarely seen wearing berets for style anymore.
So there you have it. The concise history of the beret hat. Now-a-days they continue to be a fashionable head covering and the latest trends alway’s feature some version of this versatile little womens hat!