American Journey

Who buys those berets they advertise in the back of magazines?

1965? No, this ad appeared in 2011.

Even since I was a child I’ve been intrigued by the ads for berets placed in the back of magazines. I’m talking 40+ years of magazine reading at this point. Yet this ad still appears regularly. The ad and the photo—of a vaguely Gallic looking man who appears to be in the midst of pointing out the best place to get steak frites in the 6th Arrondissement—remain the same. Even the price, $14 with only $2 added for shipping, seems impossibly retro.

I could see people maybe buying berets during the Beatnik enriched 60s, something to wear that would give them a Parisian air as they strolled arm-in-arm to a jazz club in Greenwich Village. But the mind absolutely boggles over who is still buying these berets today. I would have thought that most beret wearers have either died off or are resigned to spending their Saturday nights watching Lawrence Welk reruns at the local Sunrise Assisted Living facility.

The only beret wearers I can think of in recent memory are Monica Lewinsky—as she famously greeted paramour Bill Clinton on the White House lawn—and the flaky guy from Mythbusters.

If you, or someone you know, is a customer  for one of these beret purveyors please let me know. I’d really like to meet you, if only to ask, why? For now, a bientot.


About Michael

This blog has a mix of some of my main interests in life: travel, politics, food and generally being a curmudgeon. Enjoy.


11 thoughts on “Who buys those berets they advertise in the back of magazines?

  1. And I have wondered the very same thing – I do, however, know actual people who buy htose safari hats!

    Posted by Moe | January 11, 2011, 11:33 am
  2. This ad cracks me up, too! I envision the target audience for this distinctive chapeau as being the same kind of jaunty old chap who wears Greek fisherman’s caps, or safari jackets, or Birkenstocks with wool socks. Like my dad, God love him!

    Posted by The Pragmatic Progressive | January 11, 2011, 11:35 am
  3. My mom got one for my dad a few years ago, and he wears it quite all the time. In particular, he was wearing it when he visited me in Paris these last holidays. Needless to say, he found himself in the minority, but he did not seem to care.

    Posted by valuevar | January 11, 2011, 5:07 pm
  4. I would never buy a hat mail order – but that’s mainly because I have a huge head.
    Berets are actually a traditional men’s hat for un the northern Med. Old movies like Jules and Jim and Salvador Dali probably made people think it was for artists and women – before that it was for old men playing bocce or cards and paratroopers.

    so I can get away with it here in Italy

    Posted by carbonara | February 5, 2011, 11:32 am
  5. You must not know the ultimate pleasure a beret can give you. Have a look here, to unravel a little bit of the mystery:

    Posted by Daan | June 13, 2012, 9:39 pm

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