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Learn More About Berets & Tams
Beret designs first emerged in the Bronze Age when peasants and shepherds noticed how strong, warm, and waterproof wool clothing was. The Greeks and Romans wore a version of a beret depicted in ancient art pieces. The beret is linked with historical cultural moments, from military uniforms and art movements to social upheavals.
The French beret became a symbol of political resistance during World War II and is now associated with the quintessential Parisian style. When you don a beret from a shop on Etsy, you’re wearing a piece rich with history.
‘Tam’ is short for ‘Tam-o’shanter,’ a name given to a Scottish military variation of the beret, named after an epic 1790 poem by Robert Burns. Though very similar, the difference between tams and berets is subtle—tams usually have a band and sport a pom pom on top, while berets don’t. Traditionally worn by men, the tam made its way into popular women’s attire in the 1920s as the tam cap, meshing seamlessly with the ornate fashions and shorter hairstyles of the time.
No matter how you style it, there’s no wrong way to wear a beret. One of the best-kept secrets of hat fashion is how incredibly versatile berets for men, women, or any gender are. The right color and style of beret or tam work with almost any outfit. Wear your new beret pulled to one side for that classic artsy style, mimic the powerful position of the military beret by wearing it straight across, or slick it back for a ’90s grunge call back.
Style yourself after counter-cultural revolutionaries and match a beret with a vintage pop-culture graphic tee], or pair a wool beret with a horizontally striped shirt to recreate a classic scene straight from the streets of Paris.
There are many ways to accessorize a beret or tam to make it your own. Berets and tams come in an array of fabrics and colors, opening up a playground of style experimentation. To accent your tam or beret, add some pins or vintage patches to showcase your own expressive point of view. Personalize your new hat with custom embroidery from a talented artisan on Etsy. Or, call back to iconic styles of the past with a vintage beret topped off with a hat pin for a one-of-a-kind ornament.