Saturday, January 16, 2010

berets

I love berets. Wearing one makes me feel French: like a bohemian, beatnik, poet, artist. A beret is a soft, round cap, usually of wool felt and associated with France and Northern Spain. Precursors extend back to the middle ages.

I'm not sure when I started wearing them. Post college. I was heavily influenced by the children's book Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina. A peddler wanders the countryside selling beret-like caps and shouting "Caps for Sale." He carries a very tall stack of caps. Monkeys are involved, but I don't want to reveal too much and spoil the plot.

Although published in 1947, this was not a book of my childhood. I first read it when I taught nursery school back in the late '70's.

Famous beret wearers include: Picasso, Jean Piaget, Linus Pauling, John Lennon and Che Guevara.

Although we tend to associate a beret with an artistic personality, lots of paramilitary organizations wear berets as part of their uniform. In Hong Kong the Police Tactical Unit wears a navy blue beret. In Iceland the polica cadets wear black berets. In South Africa the South African Police wear a camouflage beret.

Boyscouts, Brownies and Girl Scouts wear berets. (I think?)

Just to name a few. Have a beret nice weekend.

20 comments:

Irene said...

I love to wear beret as well, my favorite colour is red, but this year, I opted out for a animal print. We're very cold up here in Canada, and if you choose the right yarn a beret keeps you warm and your hair looks presentable when you take it off. Thanks for a lovely post I'll be sure to checkout the book mentioned for my hat wearing little grand-niece. (who loves to wear hats)

Clevelandgirlie said...

"Caps, caps for sale..." oh I too remember that story. Captain Kangaroo used to read that all the time. (remember him?)
I have two dear personalities who wear berets - our sweet red head friend Andrea and my Sabrina!!
I would love to wear one - but I look silly with my round face in a beret. Kind of like a chubby mushroom! Enjoy this beautiful weather that I hope you too are the benefit of this weekend, Suki.
PS - your collection is quite impressive!

Teri and the cats of Furrydance said...

What a lovely photo...surprising in it's "impact" to me, something mundane turned into something artistic, colorful and almost zen-like.

I wear hats sometimes, but have never tried a beret...I will!

Lilacrobin said...

Suki, I, too am a devoted beret wearer (and other hats as well, cloches, fedoras....). They do help keep your head warm - and I love how they frame one's face!

The red is so pretty on you! Although, as you might gather, my favourite beret is....Lilac!

Robin

Lynn said...

Hat, hats hats! Love the stack of berets! I match pictures with you so many times...love the beatnik image...I think we would have hung out in the same coffee houses in the 60's had we met back then. Remember when espresso coffee was all the rage and brand new to us?
I too taught nursery school, had my own nursery school for five years when my kids were young and of that age.
I am sure I read Caps, CAps for Sale to them, although I can't remember the end of the story.
Love seeing our Artshine Traveling Sketchbook Link on your side bar. I hope others see it and come to visit.

Teri C said...

What a fun and unique post Suki. I am almost ready to go out and buy one.

willow said...

Oh, yes, I adored Caps for Sale. My hero, Captain Kangaroo used to read it to me! I've been loving that pic of you in the red beret ever since you posted it on your sidebar, Suki.

parisdreamtime said...

Wonderful post, I LOVe beretes too:) And always liked the photo of you in the beret in your sidebar, it suits you so well! I'd love to take a look into this book...
Have a wonderful weekend
love
Andrea

Mary said...

you always look so wonderful in your berets! not everyone can wear them and look smart and stylish but you do ;-)

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

Wish I could wear one but I am like Cathie.. to round a face. But you look lovely in yours and so many colors too. Cool post.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

My best friend often wears a beret. She makes them too. She uses all types of material. I don't think I look very good in a beret. I usually have hats with a brim.

Natalya Aikens said...

my mother loves her berets, maybe one day i'll be able to pull one off too!

marianne said...

You just look suberb in your berret!
I already told you!
No wonder you love them!
Got your card today, thank you dear! It was a pleasure

♥♥♥
>M<

Julie said...

Lookin good in your red beret on the sidebar!!! I think it is a lovely fashion statement!

patti said...

Beautiful colours in the stack of beret's. I think they are very cool & stylish too, tho I am a hat with a brim kind of gal.

Hilarywho said...

Great photo and nice post. I don't wear berets, but I should. Maybe I'll buy one tomorrow!

old pajamas said...

Susan,

As you know, a beret doesn't become me. But a leopardskin pillbox hat...well, that's something else.....

kikipotamus said...

I'm sorry to say that hats and caps don't really flatter my face/hair/head very much, otherwise I would surely be a collector. Thank you for this profile of the beret and your relationship with them. You are beret punny!

studio lolo said...

I love berets but I can't pull off the look as well as you can.
Your pun at the end made me laugh out loud because I didn't see it coming!

Another group that wears berets are those guys (the name escapes me) that ride subways and things like that and try to keep the peace. Do you know who I mean? I think they wear red ones.

Annie said...

I used to wear them a lot, but since I moved to Taos I need something a bit warmer and I wear thick ski caps. xoxo