Why has the U.S. Army ruined the beret?

I’m putting this in Cafe Society, since it’s an aesthetic issue, but I don’t know which way the discussion will go.

Berets have been around a long time, worn by both men and women. And they can look nice. Here are some nice looking berets –


They have even been worn by the military. I believe the United Nations and British forces have been using berets for a long time.

In the U.S. military, berets were uncommon except for some small “special forces” units. However, sometime in the 1990s, the U.S. Army decided to adopt the beret as its daily headwear. So I see military people wearing berets all the time, and fuck it if they don’t look like shit.

They have completely destroyed the shape of the beret. Basically, it looks like some kind of skullcap that has been stretched at one end. Like a yarmulke that some kid has jumped up and tugged on to ruin its shape. That’s not what a beret is, and it looks fucking horrible.

Why did the U.S. Army adopt the beret and then ruin it?

I always think the traditional beret with that little stem in the middle makes the wearer’s head look like an acorn. :smiley:

Has the U.S. Army really abused it worse it than the French Army?

Unless one is a starving artist, a must-beloved but perpetually addled movie starlet, or terminally French, berets look ill-placed and stupid anyway. The U.S. Army beret is a particularly egregious example of this peculiar desire to adopt the profile of Art Clokey’s most famous claymation creation, but I think the Rangers are actually pleased to be rid of it as their most publicly identifiable feature. Anybody who can’t see the fucking Ranger tab on the left sleeve deserves what happens to them anyway.

No wonder they got chased out of Algeria. With headgear like that, who would take them seriously?


We have a number of Army gentlemen here so I hesitate to dump on the uniforms, as I don’t want to sound like a tool. I will say, as a civilian, I think the Army uniform could look better. I think the garrison cap and the “saucer” cap look better than the beret which every soldier now wears, and I also am not too thrilled about this uniform which I have seen numerous times. I really think the Army uniform worn during the 40s and 50s was sharper looking. I do think the dress blues look sharp, but I personally think they would look sharper if the pants matched the jacket.

Eite forces the world over have worn them much like the US ones for years. I’m pretty sure we didn’t invent it.

http://www.military-quotes.com/forum/aussie-troops-action-t29361.html (toward the bottom)

http://www.ladepeche.fr/article/2010/09/14/906437-Le-general-de-la-11e-B-P-en-visite-au-17.html (some French non-effete beret wearers)



The berets in every single one of those links look better than the U.S. Army beret, especially the last two.

I think the beret should have stayed exclusively for special units. I think the special headgear should be earned and else everyone else wear the softcap with their camouflage or the garrison cap for medics & cooks to wear with their whites. Now Airborne, Ranger & SF only have the color of their beret to show that they’re bad asses.

Don’t get me started on the dress blues. I really liked the Khaki color, but not the poplin fabric.

They have a very tight looking beret precisely to distinguish them from the poofy artist-beret.The beret is associated with hippies, artists and such which is at the polar opposite of the military. Military aesthetic choices are usually about being very clean cut, stern and definitely not poofy.
It’s warm, can be difficult to shape and it has no practical value while not looking that good. Long live the day when they give it up and headgear which is non-ceremonial/office and non-combat is either the baseball cap or the boonie hat. Or, you know, people could go without headgear when they don’t need it.

The less-attractive military berets tend to be too small, and the direction to “pull excess material between the top and middle of right ear” is not helpful.

Basically, berets require a little insouciance.

Mommy, why are those men wearing shower caps?

Yes! I like the US Army berets, although I agree that they should have remained the demense of Special Forces and the like, and not common headgear amongst all the forces. I was perfectly happy in my BDU cap as a non-Special Forces soldier.

They way they’ve altered dress blues, though, is criminal.

Who wants to wear a pouffy beret with an olive (or acorn!) stem at the top? It looks…faggy (and French!!), for lack of a better term.

Personally, from my own aesthetic sense, I don’t think the beret looks bad, perse, in uniform. But in coordination with the modern “gunny sack”, printed camos I think it looks sloppy and not quite “crisp” enough. Although, I’m sure the new blouses and trousers are much more comfortable and utilitarian than dressier versions. The military might as well just come out with a duck bill, baseball cap, ordinance softcover to go with their new uniforms.

I remember a news story back in the 90s in which the government got many, many berets at a cheap price from a Chinese manufacturer and decided to make them standard headgear for the Army–to the chagrin of the Green Berets.

True Fact: all hats are inherently ridiculous. Dogs can sense this, much like they can sense vampires and terminators.

Yes… they are attractors in a camo situation… they stick out like a sore thumb in enemy territory. This can be advantagous in certain tactical positions of presence but they also make targets. Judah Friedlander, everyone can relate to. He’s just a tourist.
Much like the beret is the national headgear of France… the trucker/baseball cap is the headgear of the civilized world.

Woah, Judah Friedlander can look sexy, who would have known?

BTW, been living in France for decades, still have to see one of my fellow countrymen wearing a beret. It’s mostly a SW France thing.

The black beret is a national icon of France, Basque roots. I choose the Indian’s Navy Blue Cap.

Really, knickers :confused::dubious:

It’s actually wonderful camouflage, though. From a modest distance, it makes the wearer look like they’re in the Air Force.