When one speaks about berets many images can pop up in the mind: from a coolest french accessory to a militar garment, representing two statements: a fashion and a politicl one. But how did it became so broad and popular?
The beret comes from several regions of the world and each one has its own style.
Bronze Age (3200-600 B.C.): We can trace berets so far as the Bronze Age (3200-600 B.C.) due to the finding of images of them inside tombs, namely in Italy and Denmark.
Until 15th century: Through time beret shapes varied, however the material was always the same: they were made from felt (a type of cloth), which turned it into a popular hat along the next centuries. Easy and cheap to produce, berets became trendy in lower classes in the 15th century.
18th and 19th centuries: The beret gained a political status, being used by the military, namely the French Army.
The word “beret” emerges in 1835.
Basque military figures in Spain wore discintive red berets.
1910s and 1920s: The British forces, USA and Australia adopt the beret.
1930s: The beret goes to the fashion scene: artists, singers and movie stars start wearing it.
1940s: During WWII, French resistance fighters wore berets.
1960: Che Guevara gets his photography taken with his beret for TIME Magazine for the list of the ‘100 most influencial people’ in the 20th century.
1970s: The Black Panther Party and other activist parties wore berets as a political statement and a sign of resistance.
1990s: The beret stands on the line between a political statement and a fashion accessory.