The weather is getting colder and I have been getting out my winter dog walking gear! I’m actually well equipped except when it comes to keeping my head warm. Most of my winter coats have hoods which keep me lovely and toasty but are impractical in dog training terms. I can’t hear a thing and my vision is impaired because the hoods keep falling down over my eyes. The solution is obvious – get a hat!
I do have one hat and the boys have left several in the coat cupboard under the stairs, mostly ‘beanie’ style. As a student, I experimented with hats and I like to think they suited me – not any more!
Of course, my appearance is the least of my concerns when dog walking but there are certain practicalities, as mentioned above. So, what sort of hat? In a flash – well almost – the answer came to me…
A beret! I have long had a love-hate relationship with this particular type of headgear. I think it stems from my days as a Brownie when a brown beret was part of the somewhat hideous uniform we had to wear.
Perhaps watching ‘Emily in Paris’ has had some kind of subliminal effect on me, despite the stereotype of French people all wearing berets, all the time. Who knows? Whatever the reason, I’m thinking that a beret may be the way to go. Although the glamorous below is not one I am aiming to replicate on my dog walks!
Then I remembered that I had written a post about berets already, in fact a couple of years ago. So, here is the updated version:
Like them? Wear them? Associate them with The French? It was this headline that caught my eye: ‘Berets, Unapologetically French And Unapologetically Chic’ (Elle UK). No surprises there, with the inclusion of the words French and Chic!
I’ve written before about stereotypes associated with France and the French, including the wearing of striped Breton tops, carrying baguettes all the time and the wearing berets. Over the years, I’ve seen very few French people wearing berets ( although I have seen plenty of striped tops and baguette carriers!!) and on those occasions I have they’ve tended to be sported by older gentlemen!
Berets have been around for a very long time. Depending on which source you read, the beret can be accredited to Noah or the ancient Greeks but the ‘modern’ beret is said to have originated in the Basque region.
I asked my youngest son what he associated with the word ‘béret’. He came up with worn by ‘the military and pretentious artists (!).’
He’s probably right up to a point. Picasso, Marlène Dietrich, Faye Dunaway and so many other painters, actors, singers have been pictured wearing berets. Whether this makes them pretentious, I have no idea! There are many other celebrated beret wearers. Too many to mention in one blog post!
The two pictures above ae taken from a Pinterest board which is dedicated to famous beret wearers.
My first encounter with a beret was as part of my Brownie uniform. Haha! Luckily, I don’t have any photos of me wearing, what I considered to be the most hideous outfit. For someone with olive skin, a brown dress, accessorised with touches of yellow, did me no favours at all!
I managed to find this image on Pinterest. It is almost an exact replica of my Brownie uniform. I believe that the Brownie uniform is much more practical now.
I must have been scarred by my Brownie Uniform Beret as I have never worn one since I was eleven.
If I do ever buy a beret, there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube that will me help me to wear it ‘properly’!
Sadly, there is only one historic beret factory left in France: Laulhère. The Laulhère company has become something of a French institution. It’s the last remaining factory producing distinct and 100% homegrown French berets, which it’s been doing for 200 years. Having survived the threat of bankruptcy, the company is now growing and its berets are even worn by a wide range of people, including the rich and famous.
The company has a website and social media presence on Facebook and Instagram.
I’m looking forward to hearing from all those beret wearers out there and, naturally non-beret wearers as well!