Initially popular in 19th century France, this traditional, flat, woolen hat, became the head-wear of choice for the early punk rockers. Already popular with the military, who had found that a felted beret was warm, light and apparently didn’t fall off when entering and exiting the small hatches of tanks. The humble beret had also enjoyed a mid-century resurgence in popularity among underground jazz musicians and beatniks, it was positively Hep! Daddio. You could say that it was a hat of both war and peace. More recently, in the late 1950s and 60s it became associated with the Marxist revolutionary leader, Che Guevara, and so inevitably it became fashion shorthand for revolution.
Berets were also inexpensive, unisex, slightly subversive and readily available at your friendly neighbourhood surplus store.
Berets, as worn by Captain Sensible, Debbie Harry, and Dolly Mixture.