There are many types of berets for men and women in the marketplace. The beret is a soft hat, shaped like a bowl that is normally worn tilted on the head. Berets are typically made out of wool knit, felt and wool gabardine fabrics. Due to the warm nature of the fabric, the beret is worn more often in cool weather than in warm weather.
The military and organized groups such as the Guardian Angels wear a beret as part of their uniform. Official berets are usually made from a thick, wool flannel material that has a stiffer appearance than a wool knit beret. The official beret can be found with leather trim around the edge, which gives the beret a dressier, more tailored look befitting a military uniform. American military personnel, American Boy Scouts and British Boy Scouts have all worn the official beret as part of their uniform.
Children in the 1920s through the 1950s wore light-colored berets, typically made from felt or thick cotton twill, with dressy outfits. The sailor look was fashionable for boys, and they would wear a white beret to complete the look. Girls wore berets with formal and dressy dresses. The berets worn by young girls were typically made from thick cotton twill, felt or velvet. The girls wore berets in colors that matched their dress, while young boys wore light-colored or white berets.
Wool Knit Beret
The wool knit beret comes in a variety of types. This soft and slouchy beret can be found in cashmere, angora, mohair and regular wool. The wool knit beret can be found in a variety of colors and can be easily embellished with sequins or beads. This beret can be knitted at home or purchased at clothing retailers.
Chunky Knit Beret
The chunky knit beret is an overly slouchy wool knit beret that hangs halfway down the head of the wearer. The most common form, nicknamed the Rasta beret, has a black background with yellow, green and red stripes. The chunky knit beret can also be found in solid colors with knitted patterns that form thick lines or upraised balls.
High Fashion Berets
Top fashion designers such as Ralph Lauren and Giorgio Armani have designed berets in a variety of fabrics and styles. High fashion has seen everything from leopard print berets to military-inspired berets made out of silky black velvet.
Cathy O'Brien is a San Francisco/Bay Area native. She has 15 years of experience writing corporate training materials. Her corporate background is in human resources, sales, management and high-tech start-ups. O'Brien has published business and fashion articles on eHow and Answerbag. She earned her Master of Business Administration from Dominican University and her Bachelor of Arts in English/writing from the University of San Francisco.