A B Graham

Balmoral Vs. Beret

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Ladies and Gentlemen of the forum. I posted a similar post on X but it was shut down due to inflammatory remarks made by one particular gentleman (I use the term loosely). From what I have seen balmorals are very similar to a typical beret, except for the toorie. I understand that it is not traditional in the tightest interpretation of the term. I am considering a military style beret. It must be noted that I understand that using any military decorations, rank, so on and so forth would be wrong. I am also aware that that certain colors have a strong meaning to current and former military guys. I would never do anything to offend the men and women who protect us and our freedoms. So opinions please.

Thank you

Graham

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I often wear a beret, but when kilted a prefer a balmoral. They're a little bigger & worn "flatter" than a beret, & IMHO just look a tad better with a kilt. Maybe this is just because one is more used to seeing them with kilts, but it works for me. Then again, I like tams too. The added advantage with a balmoral is that it wont offend the beret wearers.

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There are several shapes/cut that fall under the "beret" name. Some are shaped completely like a disk. Others are shaped like an inverted cone w/ a plate on top. Others are shaped more like a widened "T." The later is shaped basically the same as a balmoral- add a torrie, band on the bottom lip, a bow or tails in back, and maybe a cockade/badge and you've got a rather passable balmoral.

I'm not sure about how the military one is shaped. But, if you lay one down on a table top-down and head opening up, the way it lays shows the shape quickly.

As for the military style, I've seen em w/ kilts and they look fine. But, I also usually wear baseball caps w/ my kilts in casual environments, so I'm pretty flexible on headwear.

Are you asking if would look OK?

Or if it is OK for a non-military person to wear a military one?

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I think you are not just asking about berets with kilts but whether or not you can wear a military beret, I assume, having not served in the military ... I'll gamble on this and give you my best answer.

I am no expert on what is socially acceptable amongst Veterans, but I am a Veteran who actually thinks about such things. Amongst Veterans it is usually acceptable to wear any military beret that you were personally authorized to wear on duty, as well as any rank you actually held, crest you served under or badge you earned. It is also acceptable to wear the current Army beret, particularly with the VA issue Veteran pin in the standard blue w/stars flash. Most Veterans will not wear the head gear of a service they did not serve in. Also, most Veterans, when wearing a military hat other than the beret, will wear what ever hat went with the period they served, forest cammo for Cold War guys, desert cammo for more recent Veterans, olive drab 'ranger' hats for Vietnam Vets. Any Vet can wear a black cap with his badges, rank and units he served in depicted on it.

Now, part of why Veterans even wear these berets and hats is so that they can be recognized by other Veterans ... many of us look for other Veterans in a crowd and often find them via these various hats, and the hat tells us much about the man or woman wearing it. So, here's the crux of the matter: if you are not a Veteran and you wear a hat that indicates to other Veterans that you ARE one, well, it can be embarrassing every time one walks up to you and you have to explain why you are wearing a Veteran's hat. There is no law that says you can't wear a military hat or beret, there are laws about wearing unearned awards. Some beret's are considered awards, like the Green beret of the Special Forces.

There is one caveat: if your forefather was/is a Veteran or one of your children is/was a Veteran then you can definitely wear their appropriate hat with pride ... if anyone asks you just stand up straight and start bragging about who you are honoring with your military hat.

There are, of course, many berets that are not military, and, yes, they do look good with kilts ... my advice if you are not a Veteran, Son of a Veteran or Father of a Veteran is that you really should not wear the berets of the military forces. But if you do then do it right and do it as an honor to those who served under those various berets ... they will not likely hold it against you and may well feel honored by your wearing their beret with such pride and dignity.

Hope this helps.

Kilt ON!

Chris Webb

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Also, most Veterans, when wearing a military hat other than the beret, will wear what ever hat went with the period they served, forest cammo for Cold War guys, desert cammo for more recent Veterans, olive drab 'ranger' hats for Vietnam Vets. Any Vet can wear a black cap with his badges, rank and units he served in depicted on it.

Kilt ON!

Chris Webb

CHRIS: Not a nit pick, but I am a Cold War veteran (and loved SAC), but I wore OD fatigues for at least my first tour before going to woodland camo. I also served most of my first tour as an SP and we did wear berets. I can't stand people who falsely claim amd sometimes wear all kinds of medals and service commendations and perpetuate stories of heroism purposely and falsely. It insults all those who rightly earned it, often with their lives. We had a recent case in southern California where someone had gotten a political office claiming battle service with the Marines in Falluja. I am not 100% sure but I believe it turned out he washed out of boot camp. "Freedom is Never Free"

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To bring this thread back on track to wearing a beret with traditional highland wear, there is an option available to you,

"the beret/tam" made by Robert Mackie the only surviving bonnet maker in Scotland, they are loosely based on the balmoral bonnet in style and design but differ slightly in construction, the beret/tam having no ribbons to worry about, and not being lined ike the balmoral, the beret/tam will sit upon your noggin in the same style as a beret but without the obvious military connections, so you can wear it proudly without the worry of causing offence to ex military types.

L1030594.jpg

Beret/Tam in fawn

L1030594.jpg

Beret/Tam with diced headband in lovat green

L1030593.jpg

Plain lovat green beret/tam

Hope this helps, sincerely this isnt a plug to push a sale, but see my website for sizing, prices and colours available

www.dunaddtradingcompany.co.uk

Chris

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To bring this thread back on track to wearing a beret with traditional highland wear, there is an option available to you,

"the beret/tam" made by Robert Mackie the only surviving bonnet maker in Scotland, they are loosely based on the balmoral bonnet in style and design but differ slightly in construction, the beret/tam having no ribbons to worry about, and not being lined ike the balmoral, the beret/tam will sit upon your noggin in the same style as a beret but without the obvious military connections, so you can wear it proudly without the worry of causing offence to ex military types.

Hope this helps, sincerely this isnt a plug to push a sale, but see my website for sizing, prices and colours available

www.dunaddtradingcompany.co.uk

Chris

CHRIS: (and sorry if I took the thread off track) Is the diced style just decorative or is there some significance to it?

I like the look of the diced lovat color. Also any special "tricks" with getting these to fit correctly. I have seen other headgear where recommendations for soaking in water and then form fitting to the head and allowing to dry and the like.

I think there is something to be said for carrying the stock of the only surviving bonnet maker in Scotland, seems a shame that has happened.

Thanks,

Joe

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Here is my "take"

1. Military style beret. I started wearing one of this genre, PRIOR to them becoming "authorized" ( VERY early 60s)( diff. in that "unblocked") I wear it ONLY on VA Day.

The "current" issue ( USA & Brit) I personally do not own.

2. There are Some VERY Good "civilian" berets avail, Here is one of mine. ( Russet Lodge )

00081.jpgDSC00083.jpg

The one I wear the most is this one ( a simple "Roger's Rangers style") CopyofDSCN0102.jpg

Puffer

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Here is my "take"

1. Military style beret. I started wearing one of this genre, PRIOR to them becoming "authorized" ( VERY early 60s)( diff. in that "unblocked") I wear it ONLY on VA Day.

The "current" issue ( USA & Brit) I personally do not own.

2. There are Some VERY Good "civilian" berets avail, Here is one of mine. ( Russet Lodge )

00081.jpgDSC00083.jpg

The one I wear the most is this one ( a simple "Roger's Rangers style") CopyofDSCN0102.jpg

Puffer

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CHRIS: Not a nit pick, but I am a Cold War veteran (and loved SAC), but I wore OD fatigues for at least my first tour before going to woodland camo. I also served most of my first tour as an SP and we did wear berets. I can't stand people who falsely claim amd sometimes wear all kinds of medals and service commendations and perpetuate stories of heroism purposely and falsely. It insults all those who rightly earned it, often with their lives. We had a recent case in southern California where someone had gotten a political office claiming battle service with the Marines in Falluja. I am not 100% sure but I believe it turned out he washed out of boot camp. "Freedom is Never Free"

I hear ya, Brother ... as for periods served, shoot, I remember those od fatigues, I wore them too!! LOL! I was speaking from an Army Vet's perspective, and really just my own perspective ... and, like you, I don't wear ANYthing that I did not earn, was awarded or otherwise have the bonafide right to wear nor do I approve of those who do. But I still respect those who celebrate their parents, grandparents or children who earned those things by displaying them respectfully and in the context of honoring them.

Kilt ON!

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I also had EARNED a beret, the Maroon for going to jump school, then to a Airborne Infantry Regiment( 1/509 P.I.R.). I would only wear my mil headgear on a special occasion of recognition. I just couldn't get myself to wear it about the town so to speak. I try to wear my balmorals not as I would a mil beret, although sometimes old habits die hard. I also really wouldn't wear a PC patrol cap or soft cover)while out and about simply because I just think they look goofy except if you are in uniform...but that is just me. Boonies are good everywhere!....and again that is just me.

I think you should wear what you want because it for YOU. Now keeping in mind that you said you didn't want to show any disrespect, I wouldn't wear it with any unit crests or military memorabilia that you didn't earn. Colors are another thing, although I believe that if there are no crests attached, it doesn't apply ( my opinion). US Army colors are:

1) Black....Formally a Ranger color, it was stripped from them and given to all soldiers..not sure why, I guess to make them feel "special".

2) Green....SF, 'nuff said

3) Tan....The new Ranger color

4) Maroon....Paratroopers, and it was the first beret to be adopted by the US Army after it was awarded to them by the British Paras ( Quote from Wiki): In 1943 General Frederick Browning, commander of the British First Airborne Corps, granted a battalion of the US Army's 509th Parachute Infantry Regiment honorary membership in the British Parachute Regiment and authorized them to wear British-style maroon berets. US Army advisers to Vietnamese airborne forces wore the Vietnamese French-style red beret during the Vietnam War.[1]

Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) policy from 1973 through 1979 permitted local commanders to encourage morale-enhancing distinctions. Airborne forces chose to wear the maroon international parachute beret as a mark of distinction. This permission was rescinded in 1979 when the army introduced a policy of standardized headgear. Exceptions were allowed for the continued wearing of the black beret for Ranger and the green beret for Special Forces. On 28 November 1980 permission was given for airborne organizations to resume wearing the maroon beret.[1]

But seriously, the beret has the cardboard insert above the left eye for attachment of flashes and unit crests and no torrie, and a smaller headband. Thats the only differences I can see. And I might take some heat from other former paras and the like for saying this but, I think balmorals and tams are much more pleasant to wear than berets. I'll go away now.

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IMHO, you might not wish to wear a Brit,Aust,NZ "sand-colored beret" (SAS units)

BTW, the "New issue Berets", as KC said are not "comfortable" or "practicable" in the "field".( read "usually" not worn ) The 'older style Can, Brit berets ( which my "unauthorized" one is ) were.

Puffer

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Thanks for the info gentlemen. I do understand and respect the "earned" beret colors (green, maroon...). I am the son of a Vietnam vet, the grandson of two WWII vets, the great grandson of the WWI vet and the great great grandson of a Civil War vet. While I did not serve in the armed forces, choosing instead to serve at home in a law enforcement capacity, I have a great respect for those men and women who serve their country. I would never do anything to insult or belittle their sacrifice. I was thinking of either a black (with no blue flash) or a yellow beret with a clan crest where any military insignia would be worn, or perhaps a pin I have that says "My dad is a Vietnam Vet." I wore a military beret (white) in ROTC and really like the look. Any other comments are certainly welcome.

Thanks again,

Graham

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Thanks for the info gentlemen. I do understand and respect the "earned" beret colors (green, maroon...). I am the son of a Vietnam vet, the grandson of two WWII vets, the great grandson of the WWI vet and the great great grandson of a Civil War vet. While I did not serve in the armed forces, choosing instead to serve at home in a law enforcement capacity, I have a great respect for those men and women who serve their country. I would never do anything to insult or belittle their sacrifice. I was thinking of either a black (with no blue flash) or a yellow beret with a clan crest where any military insignia would be worn, or perhaps a pin I have that says "My dad is a Vietnam Vet." I wore a military beret (white) in ROTC and really like the look. Any other comments are certainly welcome.

Thanks again,

Graham

Well, in my opinion ( which is worth about as much as this.......) as long as you have this mindset, you can wear whatever you want on your noggin sir. I read your post "over dar" and it did get out of hand fast, I am glad you are getting some actual non-confrontational ideas here, and also Welcome to the BotK!!

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CHRIS: (and sorry if I took the thread off track) Is the diced style just decorative or is there some significance to it?

I like the look of the diced lovat color. Also any special "tricks" with getting these to fit correctly. I have seen other headgear where recommendations for soaking in water and then form fitting to the head and allowing to dry and the like.

I think there is something to be said for carrying the stock of the only surviving bonnet maker in Scotland, seems a shame that has happened.

Thanks,

Joe

Joe, with regards the diced head band, some will say it means one thing, others will say it means another, but in this day and age, the dicing on the headband is purely decorative and has no hidden meanings, if it did, then I feel sure that the PC brigade would have picked up on it by now.

Personally I feel there isnt the need to subject the Beret/Tam to the same sort of treat as some do the Balmoral, the beret/tam is an entirely different beast, its made of the same felted wool as the balmoral, but left unlined, and no ribbons, just the elasticated headband, hence soaking would not affect the headsize only the shape of the beret itself.

Chris

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Joe, with regards the diced head band, some will say it means one thing, others will say it means another, but in this day and age, the dicing on the headband is purely decorative and has no hidden meanings, if it did, then I feel sure that the PC brigade would have picked up on it by now.

Personally I feel there isnt the need to subject the Beret/Tam to the same sort of treat as some do the Balmoral, the beret/tam is an entirely different beast, its made of the same felted wool as the balmoral, but left unlined, and no ribbons, just the elasticated headband, hence soaking would not affect the headsize only the shape of the beret itself.

Chris

Thanks for the answer Chris. I am definitely a low maintenance person to it makes this beret/tam definitely more attractive. I also appreciate the info on the dicing. I just wanted to get the straight scooop from a Scot. I am as far as from PC as you can get so no worries there at all. I am not a Scot and don't claim to be and get the occassional comment on who gave me the right to wear the kilt, I just didn't know if the dicing would raise someone's ire.

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Don't forget-----black berets are also an earned item for our Navy's riverine forces. Just sayin'.

Stay away from the green or maroon berets, the black should be ok, but, wear it naked---that is, no insignia whatsoever. SpecWar vets get chafey when they see their things defaced with an other-that military insignia.

Edited by Spectre

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Down here things work as follows:

Green: Infantry (including commandos)

Red: MPs & Armoured

Black: Mechanised Cavalry

Maroon: Paras

These are generally recognised as ok for civvies PROVIDING no regimental insignia is attached.

Sand: As mentioned above by Puffer, these are the exclusive province of the Special Air Services regiment (to the extent that, except for RARE parade incidents, these are forbidden from leaving the lines at Swanbourne. The use of these in ANY form by non-badged personel is frowned on SEVERELY.

The Navy & Air Force dont use berets in any capacity.

Using this criteria, if you could find yourself an Aussie or Brit (Kangol) beret in Rifleman Green, you could wear it (explain it's Aussie if you get questioned)without offense, AND have it match the green-based tartans!

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I have two Black Berets at home, left over from my time as an adult adviser to an Explorer Post (a branch of Scouting) we wore them as part of our distinctive uniform. We wore no flashes or pins because we could never find anything that worked well before the unit disbanded. However, since I never served in the military, I am always aware that were I to wear these hats (kilted or otherwise) most would see them as Army and not be aware that they were mine from a former uniform. Thus, I can honestly say I have not worn them since the unit disbanded. THe interesting thing, is that I have seen these worn in a number of civilian settings and think that they look good kilted or otherwise, but really do have a much more uniform feel to them than just about anything else. If I wear a hat with my kilt, it is usually my Glengary which is not diced. This is because when I bought it, I was told the dicing was specific to the military, and having never served, I opted for plain so as not to offend anyone who did.

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I have two Black Berets at home, left over from my time as an adult adviser to an Explorer Post (a branch of Scouting) we wore them as part of our distinctive uniform. We wore no flashes or pins because we could never find anything that worked well before the unit disbanded. However, since I never served in the military, I am always aware that were I to wear these hats (kilted or otherwise) most would see them as Army and not be aware that they were mine from a former uniform. Thus, I can honestly say I have not worn them since the unit disbanded. THe interesting thing, is that I have seen these worn in a number of civilian settings and think that they look good kilted or otherwise, but really do have a much more uniform feel to them than just about anything else. If I wear a hat with my kilt, it is usually my Glengary which is not diced. This is because when I bought it, I was told the dicing was specific to the military, and having never served, I opted for plain so as not to offend anyone who did.

I also frequently wear a black beret with a USMC EGA "clan badge" (see my avatar). It caused a rather interesting discussion. I am a civilian consultant to a DOD agency. One day, taking a lunch break from a presentation, I walked out of the building with a SF Major and a straight infantry Captain. As we all put on our berets, the Capt said "It takes a lot of guts for a civilian to wear a military style beret here!". Before I could think of what to say, the SF Major said "It takes a lot of guts for a 'leg' to tell a Marine what he should wear!" The subject was quickly changed.

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If you like the "beret" style but don't want to offend anyone, Try a Caubeen. Traditional headwear for the Irish.

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I have a couple of caubeens, both green. One is British Army surplus, right size, but doesn't really fit. I suspect it was deliberately shrunk to get an exact fit by the original wearer. Otherwise I would have no problem wearing it, but with NO military badge. My other is a new J. Byous 'Canadian' summer caubeen, from the state of Georgia, and AFAIK is the only caubeen you can buy that is one size fits all (once bitten twice shy, you might say, after buying the other one), and adjusts to fit using ribbons. BTW, it looks nothing like a Canadian Army caubeen (wrong shade of green, plus see below).

Caubeens are basically a high crowned beret, or a balmoral with no toorie. Except the ones issued to the Canadian Army have a toorie! Irish pipe bands typically wear either green caubeens or black glengarries (but see below), despite the British Army also wearing green caubeens. That's probably where they get them, surplus. The IRA wear black caubeens or berets (worth noting if you want to wear your caubeen in places where the IRA is a banned organisation, which includes not only the UK, but also the Republic of Ireland), and the regular Irish Army (but only the pipers) wear black caubeens with a saffron band, but call them glengarries for reasons known only to Irish quartermasters.

FWIW, J. Byous do replicas of all the above, except for their 'Canadian' ones which seem to be rather different from military issue, and no, I'm not Canadian.

BTW, the Irish never wear a hat with red and white dicing, on the belief, right or wrong, that it symbolises loyalty to the British crown (unless of course they ARE loyalists). Worth remembering for those of us who are only hyphenated Irishmen.

ETA: Important - a caubeen should be worn raked, but a balmoral should be worn flat, unless you are American, LOL!

Edited by O'Callaghan

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IMG0148.jpg

Me wearing surplus black beret. I cut the blue shield off, this pic is from an Irish hooley so I added a shamrock, not as smart looking as Balmoral or tam, but I don't have them yet. I'd like to wear my brass crossed cannons on the beret and come up with a Army kilt pin.

Also, since the US Army has gone with black beret as a garrison hat you should be fine wearing one, they have become very common. As others have said, don't present yourself as a vet if you're not, but feel free to be proud to honor those who have.

And, I have to add that when I served ('89 - '97) Combat Arms were authorized to wear berets and cords in color matching there MOS when in Dress Uniform, as an Artilleryman I wore Red, I think Infantry had blue and Armor was yellow.

Brett

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My usual headwear from autumn to spring is a basque cap, as it is worn in the basque country at the french-spanish border, or all over France for that matter.

It's clearly a civilian headwear, and as I am born near the french border it's also very common in my hometown.

Mine is from an italian company, that produces these caps since 1925.

I also wore it last e´week with my kilt outfit. Made a good combination with the black tweed of the kilt, because the cap is black as well.

And very comfy, being made of Cashmere.

http://www.biber.de/artikelansicht-Baskenmuetze.100...Cashmere-1630-0804538-3300-2.html

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It would suit quite well I'd think, as the Basques were most likely Celtic in origin too.

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