Caps

A Beret Cap is a soft round cap with a flat crown which is worn by both men and women. The cap fits snugly around the head, and the soft crown can be shaped in a variety of ways – it is commonly pushed to one side. Berets were originally worn by Northern Basque peasants and were knitted from wool. Today berets are normally made from wool felt. Berets caps are worn by many military and police units and in some countries are particularly associated with elite units, who often wear berets in more unusual colors (such as the maroon of the British Parachute Regiment or the green of the American Special Forces). Berets are a part of certain military uniforms, such as those of the British Armed Forces and the United States Army. Berets are traditionally worn by those in armoured fighting vehicles. Light blue berets are worn by United Nations Peacekeeping forces. Military berets are usually pulled to the right, but the militaries of some European countries (including France) have influenced the pull to the left. The use of berets as a military headdress dates back to the creation of the French Chasseurs alpins in the early 1880s. These mountain troops were issued with a new style of uniform which included several features which were very practical and advanced by the standards of the time, notably the large and floppy blue beret which they still retain (see below). This was so unfamiliar a fashion outside France that it had to be described by the 1911 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica as "a sort of tam o'shanter hat".

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