How to shape an Army beret in 10 easy steps!

By , February 19, 2010 8:46 pm

Step 1:
Order a new, unshaped beret from some Army website and forget that you can now order pre-shaped berets for only a few dollars more.  Argghh.
Step 2:
Purchase or dig out from under your bathroom sink several disposable razors to shave beret. With firm strokes starting in the center and circling toward the outside of the beret, shave beret until wool is smooth without fuzz.

Step 3:
Repeat Step 2 for at least 45 minutes as you think of one hundred and fifty-five more important things that you could be doing instead of shaving a wool cap. Discard your dull razor and dig out a new razor as you continue Step 2.  Wool fluff pile should be the size of a softball at this point.
Step 4:
Turn your beret inside out and use disposable razor #3 to shave the inside of your beret. You don’t want those little fuzzies in your hair after taking the beret off. Verbally chew yourself out loud for not purchasing pre-shaved and shaped beret while attempting not to wake napping toddlers.

Step 5:
Wet down beret with warm water in the kitchen sink.  WARNING: VERY HOT OR BOILING WATER WILL SHRINK BERET.  Do not soak, but moisten enough so that wool appears pliable.  If shaved correctly, a slight circular pattern should appear on the beret, like this:

Step 6:
Wear wet beret around the house while it forms to your huge noggin.  Explain to your four-year-old why you weren’t smart enough to purchase a pre-shaped beret as you make him lunch with wet beret on your head.

Oh, and take unattractive self-portrait documenting progress.
Step 7:
When beret feels only slightly damp, place on counter or area out of 18-month-old’s grasp and allow beret to dry completely.

Step 8:
Several weeks later, remember that you still haven’t finished beret for drill in the morning. Oops.  Quickly sew on unit flash (you know, the little patch that goes on the front of your beret?).  If sewing machine is unavailable, find someone that has one (takes a little less than 38 seconds to sew on), or get ripped off… ahem, pay an alteration shop to sew yours on for $5.

Flash stitching view from the inside of beret

Step 9:
Label your beret tag and cut off remainder of tag so your peers will never find out how fat your head actually is (7 and 1/2… seriously???).

Step 10:
Finally, tie beret headband string into a knot and cut off ends.  If you used really hot water and find that your beret is now a size smaller (Awww, MAN!), cut off knot and pull on headband praying the leather will give a little for your gargantuan cranium.

Now celebrate a good wasted four hours by impersonating that Sergeant Major who always tried to look tough by wearing his beret like this…

Or wear your beret like that almost worthless 2nd Lieutenant that you despised training…

But really, you know that you’re supposed to wear your beret like this (ignore the “not-in-regulation” hair and earrings)…

Hope you had as much fun as I did!  Now to bed.  Gotta earn this maroon airborne beret by jumping out of a plane in the morning!

© 2010 – 2011, FROM MILITARY TO MOM. All rights reserved.


69 Responses to “How to shape an Army beret in 10 easy steps!”

  1. Sergeant Vee says:

    *laughs* Yeah, would be an Officer to come up with something funny about the most mundane of tasks. That was entertaining to read while I was digging my own lint softball out of my disposable razor. Thanks ma’am.

  2. Marc says:

    Thanks so much…..I have a reunion coming up and realized its been an eon since I ETS’d, and certain skill sets are not what they once were. This was a very helpful reminder and I am most appreciative.

  3. Alyssa says:

    Glad you enjoyed, Marc and SGT V! Come back often.

  4. Nick says:

    Quick question: Where did you buy your beret and what brand is it? Many thanks!


  5. Alyssa says:

    Nick- Not sure what brand but I bought it through AAFES online. Hope that helps!

  6. This is not a comment so much as a question. I finally purchased a beret. I want to wear it to honor those that deserve the honor. My brother was 101st Airborne. I He served in Vietnam. I would like to honor his memory by sporting his flash. Would this be considered disrespectful? I will wear the beret either way, but would love to pay homage to my brother. Would appreciate your feedback.

  7. Jason says:

    That was great. I too have a reunion and it has been 20years since I saw my old beret. My unit isn’t even active anymore (7ID 107th LRS-D) I ordered one on EBAY but made sure I got a DSCP not a china knock off. Website link should take you there.

  8. Hi, I just wanted so say well done for the above advice. I run the last Beret factory in France and we provide armies around the world with pre-shaped and pre-shaved berets. Best recommendation would be to buy a real Beret from a factory that knows what its doing. One thing we see is that the offical Army Beret is not always what a professional wants, we sell 40,000 berets a year to officers that are not offical but favored because they have a much smaller crown (Its a fashion thing, and yes its important to some)

  9. Alyssa says:

    I think a Vietnam hat with his flash would be appropriate, but I probably wouldn’t wear the beret unless you’ve completed the training to wear it. Just my two cents. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. samantha says:

    Thank you so much! In JROTC we have to properly shape our berets or else we get in huge trouble, and this helped a lot! Thanks

  11. Vishal says:

    I’m actually from the Singapore Armed Forces. Just earned mine and looked up how to season one. Great article. Very helpful.

  12. Sterling says:

    Hi… its been a long time, but I seem to recall in Viet Nam (2 tours)that the only Berets were Rangers (Black) Special Forces (Green) and all Airborne units “C” cap with Glider Patch….

    FYI thanks

    Sterling (5th SF grp)

  13. Lester says:

    I find this very helpful, being a cadet in AJROTC since they have changed the uniforms from greens to blues and we are issued a beret. Now i know how to mold it so it fits my head right and I look more professional

  14. Joona says:

    Thanks for the humour. Most European berets (at least Finnish and German)have a cotton lining inside, so the way is not exactly the same. Makes it a bit more difficult to shape, as the cotton “lives” a bit differently during the drying process.

    Or some el cheapo mostly former Soviet Block may have polyester lining. Ack. But it was fun shaving. Kinda weird and amusing feeling shaving a godsdamn hat :P

  15. SFC Jeemy says:

    Ma’am, I had to shape a brand new beret for a high profile escort detail recently, and your blog post was a HUGE help! The last time I did one was 6 years ago. The pictures were great, as were the witticisms. With mine, I couldn’t see until the 3rd shaving, but the “clothing sales” beret I bought was actually factory-assembled inside-out (circular pattern on inside), but it still looked fine. You rock! Airborne!

  16. Tom says:

    They just issued us berets at West Point and are mandating their wear starting in a few days. Thanks for the humorous guide for a beret newbie.

  17. Marwkita Givens says:

    Hi i’m in army Jrotc they never told us about any thing about the beret what to do with a new beret

  18. Danny Everley says:

    Hi, I’m serving in the British army and found your article very funny and very true. Loved it.

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