In 1943 British soldiers gave maroon berets to their American counterparts in the 509th Parachute Infantry as a thank-you gift for their service. Since then, the beret has not only made its way as standard American military headgear, it also enjoys status as a classic fashion statement. Usually made from wool felt, cotton or fleece, a beret can stay looking new with proper care and storage.
Keep It Looking Good
Brush the beret with a stiff-bristled hat or clothing brush to remove dust, lint and debris.
Apply lint removal tape to detach especially stubborn lint.
Spot clean small stains. Dampen a dry piece of cloth with fabric stain remover and then press against the stain to saturate. Wipe the cloth gently back and forth. Rinse the spot thoroughly with a water-dampened cloth and lay the beret flat to dry.
Take wool berets to your dry-cleaner. Washing it with water may result in shrinkage.
Hand-wash fleece or cotton berets. Fill your sink or washtub with cold water and add a small capful of a gentle formula liquid detergent. After soaking and swishing the hat in the water for a few minutes, rinse it thoroughly under cold water.
Lay the beret flat to dry on a terry cloth towel.
Store It Safely
Wrap the beret in a plastic bag.
Lay the wrapped beret in a small hat box -- photo storage boxes often work well, too.
Place a lavender sachet or moth balls inside the box to keep pests away.
- Remove decorative pins from your beret before brushing or cleaning.
- When spot-cleaning or hand-washing your beret, remember that the hotter your water is, the more likely the hat will shrink.
- Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Getty Images