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It is impossible to think of France without evoking the baguette and the beret. Abroad, this famous duo represents the Hexagon. Timeless, the beret has been part of fashion for decades. How has this accessory stood the test of time? Why does it occupy such an important place in French history? Discover 4 anecdotes about this famous beret.

The beret: a cliché that comes from England


The beret has a rich history. Nevertheless, the association of this hat with France dates back to the 19th century. At that time, Breton onion merchants were doing business in England.

With the success of the product, the merchants multiplied. Hundreds of merchants in berets flooded the English markets. The British concluded that all French people wore this headgear.

A headdress that dates back 2000 years

However, the history of the beret is not recent. Its existence goes back to more than 2000 years. The Gallic word “beret” is associated with a flat and round headdress made of wool. The first trace of it goes back to the 15th century.

The hat was already worn by the Scots and Basque sailors. Napoleon III attributed its origin to the Basque Country during his trip to Biarritz. He indeed noticed that the local population wore the beret. He therefore decided that the beret was of Basque origin.

Currently, the beret is less present in the French dress code. However, some rural communities continue to wear it proudly.


The beret: a military tradition

French soldiers wore the beret during the First World War. At the end of the war, the hat was adopted by the Foreign Legion. It later became a fashion accessory worn by civilians in the streets. During the Second World War, the Resistance decided to adopt it for this reason. It allowed them to go unnoticed during the German occupation.

American special forces also adopted the hat after the war. The headgear was worn by famous personalities like the revolutionary Che Guevara.

The beret: a fashion accessory

From the 1930s onwards, the beret became a must-have fashion accessory for women. The great fashion designers decided to integrate it into their collection like Gucci. That’s why many movie stars proudly wear the beret as an accessory.

During the 50s and 60s, a new version of the beret appeared. It is the beret-cap with its visor.

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