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How to Wear a Military Beret Properly? – Shape & Wear Tips

Written by Everett Bledsoe / Fact checked by Brain Bartell

how to wear a military beret

Military berets are an integral component of many armed forces’ uniforms all over the world. They are believed to have first appeared in European countries during the 19th and 20th centuries as headgear. Today, they are seen in almost all countries’ military.

Each country will have its own specific colors. Moreover, there are different colors for different units and personnel. The U.S Army, for instance, has black, rifle green, tan, maroon, brown, and dark grey berets, while the U.S Air Force has black, maroon, scarlet, pewter grey, dark blue, sage green, brown, and white berets.

These are an important part of the military identity. Thus, it is essential to know how to wear a military beret. Wearing a beret is simpler than you might think. In general, you just need to:

Step 1: Shape your beret

  • Prepare two bowls or sinks of water
  • Dip your beret into warm water than cold water
  • Put your beret on and line it up for shaping
  • Secure the leather band for a guaranteed fit
  • Smooth out excess fabric and check your beret’s tip

Step 2: Wear your beret

  • Put your beret on and position it properly
  • Check the beret’s rest head the leather band
  • Smooth our excess fabric and check your beret’s tip

To ensure that you properly wear a beret, continue reading for all the details. We also have a short section on handy tips for long-haired wearers. Thus, be sure to read all the way until the end!


Steps to Correctly Wear a Military Beret


Here, we will take you through the proper way to wear a beret. Read carefully and follow along!

Part 1: Shape your beret

The first part of this guide is shaping your beret for the first time. This is critical for your comfort and convenience when wearing berets going forward.

Step 1: Prepare two bowls or sinks of water—one cold and one warm

To begin, prepare two bowls or sinks of water. One should be cold and the other warm. Have them as close together as possible to make later alternating easy and mess-free.

Top Tip: Consider laying a towel in the distance between the two bowls or sinks. This will make sure any running water will not drip and make a larger mess.

Step 2: Dip your beret into warm water then cold water until it is softened and easy to shape

Take your beret and dip it into the bowl or sink with warm water. Keep it submerged for a minute, then alternate to the cold water. This should soften your beret and make it malleable for shaping. You can repeat the alternating as many times as needed until the beret flexes easily. However, be careful not to wet the leather band because it can shrink, and you will no longer be able to fit your beret.

Step 3: Put your beret on and line it up properly to shape it

Then, put the beret on. Line the seam up properly at the back of your head and check that your badge or insignia is where it should be.

Top Tip: We recommend shaping your beret at around the same time you will be getting a shower. The wet beret can dampen your hair. If you leave it this way for many days until you shower, mold and mildew can find their way into your hair!

Step 4: Secure the leather band for a guaranteed comfortable fit

Next, secure the leather band firmly around your head, but still making sure that it is comfortable. The fit should not be too loose or too tight.

Top Tip: If there are any hanging lengths, cut them off with a pair of scissors.

Step 5: Smooth out excess fabric and check your beret’s tip

Smooth out the fabric by the right of the beret to make sure that it contours to your head’s curve. The fabric should not bunch up in excess to the left or above your badge/insignia. Also, check that the beret’s tip is not extending lower than your ear’s midpoint.

Part 2: Wear your beret

This second part of the guide is when you actually put your beret on along with your uniform.

Step 1: Put your beret on and position it properly

Now, stand in front of a mirror with your beret in hand. Put it on your head horizontally. The badge or insignia should be above your left eye. Check that the band of your beret is straight and is about one inch from your eyebrows. At the same time, the beret should not cover your left ear.

Step 2: Check the beret’s rest on the back of your head and the straightness of the leather band

Once you are sure that the beret is sitting neatly on your head, turn sideways to check its position across the back of your head. Tuck the leather tie into the beret, making sure that it is entirely hidden. As with the front, the leather band in the back should be straight.

Step 3: Smooth our excess fabric and check your beret’s tip

Now, smoothen out any excess fabric of the beret to make sure that your ears are not covered. A good way to check if you are doing this step right is to look for the endpoint of the fabric. It should touch the tip of your right ear and not go further than the midpoint.

That sums up everything you need to do to wear an army beret. However, we have a section dedicated to wearers with long hair. If you find this relevant, continue to read to wear a beret army with ease.

Here are the essential tips that you should keep in mind.

  • Do NOT bunch and stuff lengths of hair into your beret. Any loose hair should be tied or pinned securely. If you do use accessories to style your hair, they must be as close to the color of your hair as possible. Unlike on a runway, you cannot use decorative pins, clips, or ties.
  • Do NOT let your bands down while wearing a beret. Even though bangs are not prohibited in other military contexts, they should not be visible if you have a beret on them. Always tie or pin your bangs up and back before you put your beret on.
  • If you have long hair, tie it into a bun and bring it to the back of your head. Your bun should not be wider than your head or thicker than 3.5 inches. Also, it should not touch your uniform’s collar. By this token, hairstyles that are free-hanging, like loose ponytails are a no-no.
  • If you have braids or dreadlocks, make sure that the lock is not wider than 1/8 inch. It should also be able to fit into a bun without exceeding 3.5 inches.


Military uniforms are not complete without berets. So, it is incredibly important that you know how to wear a military beret. You do not want to be scolded or embarrassed by your higher-ups if you show up with an incorrectly worn beret. After all, when you are in uniform, you are representing the country.

Therefore, keep what you have read close to your heart. After a few times of wearing it for yourself, the process will become natural; you will eventually be able to do it in your sleep!

If you have any other thoughts or questions about this topic, leave us comments. We love to hear from our readers.

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