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The Checkered History of Americans in Berets

  • Najib Benouar

Yesterday we voiced a bit of (lighthearted) outrage over the berets topping Team USA’s new Olympic ceremonial duds. As a kind reader of ours pointed out, America does have some history with the French invention—most notably, our Army Special Forces wear a green beret (a look borrowed from the Brits in WWII). But we thought we’d dig deeper to see if the beret really is more American than we originally thought.

What we found: a few eccentrics and militant-inspired fringe groups of the ’70s, sure, but we also stumbled upon a number of style icons—the likes of Gregory Peck, Ernest Hemingway and even yesterday’s Andy Garcia, among others—getting their mushroom-top on.

It makes for quite the tapestry of felt-toppered Americans, and we felt compelled to share...