You decided you'd like a beret, you arrived at this web site and now you're overwhelmed with the choice of berets available. Who would have thought there are so many berets, and how on earth do you choose what's right for you?
As headgear goes, choosing a beret is probably one of the most personal choices you can make. Despite the simplicity of a 'circular shaped piece of felt with a wick', it is amazing how different one beret feels and looks from another. Size (yes, size does matter), the density and quality of the wool, the beret's flight, wool or cotton, satin lined or unlined... It's not that simple, really. And that is without looking at the individual buyers personal circumstances: do you live in a warm or cool part of the world, do you need protection from the rain or sun, are you looking for a practical every-day hat that easily fits in your pocket or do you go for elegance and fashion - are you a bricklayer going for 'practical' or an executive wanting to make a statement?
There is a lot to consider...
Finding your Way around this Web Site
This web site is organized per country, and although there is a lot to say for this system (Italian berets are principally different from the French and the Spanish, for example), it is mainly to provide some system. Have a good look around, see what appeals to you and compare diameters, sizes, colours and cost.
For those who are completely new to beret wearing, here are some guidelines:
- Top of the range are the artisan made berets made by Boneteria Auloronesa; the Spanish Elósegui 150 Años Edición Limitada and the French Laulhere's.
- Berets that are perfect for everyday wear: our own New Zealand South Pacific berets; the Italian Bascos Roma and Francia; the Argentinean Espinosas and Tolosa Tupida's; Uruguay's Fábrica Nacional de Sombreros boinas Castilla and Nutria; Laulhère's Rafale's and Classic Workers Berets; the Spanish Basica's and the German Baskenmuetze.
- Small diameter berets that are pleasant to wear in- and around the house: Czech made Radiovka's, Italian Roma's and the Spanish small diameter Super Lujo 244mm.
- Berets that make a statement: the Spanish Txapelduns, the Argentinean Plato Grandes (in wool and in cotton), the Uruguayan Cataluña Plato Grandes and the Foulards Alpin by Boneteria Auloronesa.
The flight is the fold of the beret, the surplus material that folds sideways. On the one end, there are the small diameter berets in 25cm (e.g. the Elósegui Super Lujo 25cm/10", the Italian Roma or the Czech made Radiovka) that sit on top of the head without much, if any, overhang.
In between are the medium diameter berets from 275mm (e.g. the Argentinean Boinas Espinosa and the Italian Basco Francia) to 31cm/12" (Boinas Super Lujo's, Tolosa Tupida and Castilla) with a reasonable amount of material "to work with" and, at the other end of the scales, are the Alpins, the Txapelas or Plato Grandes, up to 37cm/14.5" - huge berets that offer great protection from any weather, but may require some courage if you (or your environment) is not used to these grand berets.
Material:Most woolen berets are made of fine pure wool (our South Pacific Range, the Italian and Czech berets) or merino wool (the best quality wool that can be found, with excellent insulation, moist and odour absorbing qualities).The dense felted wool has a high water resistance and most berets will keep you dry for a good amount of time. A simple guideline: the denser (heavier) the wool of the beret, the longer it will stay water resistant. The Spanish berets in the higher price range are (Teflon) treated to make them completely impermeable, or waterproof. Cotton berets are generally lighter than their woolen equivalent, breath well and are well suited for warmer weather (although many customers have converted from wool to cotton berets and wear them year-round!). All the cotton berets we stock are knitted out of one thread, made in exactly the same way as a wool beret, finished of with the txortena (the 'wick' or 'fuse' on top).The satin lining with the embroidered label is often seen as the finishing touch. Interestingly, you'll find that a lined beret actually keeps you warmer and it also helps to keep the beret's shape better. Some people prefer just the un-lined wool beret for it's better breath-ability. Many French farmers and labourers in the olden days kept their paper money between the actual beret and the lining (after taking a few cm's of the stitching out).
And of course, if you have any questions, please ask through the contact form on our 'Contact Us' page.
All berets I sell are fully guaranteed; exchange or refund given for any material or manufacturing fault. Once tried on, berets, similar to underwear, can't be exchanged for other reasons.
To determine your head size, measure around your head where the beret would sit, then convert to a hat size using the following chart: