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Vintage Fashion Clothing Blog | Beyond Retro

  • A Brief History of the Beret

    The beret is regarded as a classic French symbol, but it actually has a history that dates back to ancient Greece and the Romans, who named it the ‘Beretino’. The Romans in particular held the beretino in high regard and invented an applied colour law which created a distinction between aristocrats and commoners.

     Of course we are all aware of the beret’s significance in the military, as a piece of uniform that is altered over time depending on rank and station. However, Archaeology and Art History has shown us that the beret was popular among the nobility and also among artists across Europe throughout history. Of course the beret wearing eccentric artist has become as much of a stereotype as the beret clad French man dressed in stripes!

    Che Guevara (wikimedia) Che Guevara (wikimedia)


     The very specific association to France is predominantly due to the fact that mass production of the beret began in 1800s in factories around France, which resulted in the hat becoming a popular and cheap choice for the masses over there. The fact that the French had such a natural elegance and grace meant that the beret came to be regarded as a very chic and effortless accessory! What was once regarded as uniform, was transformed into a fashion statement!

     The beret has always held certain political undertones, not just through its ties to military uniform, but also to revolutionist uniform. ‘Guerrillero Heroico’, one of the most famous photographs of the Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara, shows him wearing a black beret with a brass star in 1960. Following this iconic image, the beret was revived in the sixties, this time with powerful revolutionist.

    Faye Dunaway - Bonnie and Clyde '67 Faye Dunaway - Bonnie and Clyde '67

     As well as proving popular with the masses, the iconic headgear was also the fashion choice of the stars. Faye Dunaway rocked the beret in ‘Bonnie and Clyde‘ in 1967 and no one can deny the cool elegant appeal that Bridget Bardot learnt the beret in the same decade.

    France Gall (pinterest) France Gall (pinterest)

     Once the style icons got their hands on the beret, it was cemented as a classic fashion item! It maintains its air of modernity even with an ancient history.

     The appeal of the beret certainly lives on and has become a part of long-standing stereotypes of the intellectual, artists, poets, bohemians, beatniks, film directors and hipsters. We have countless berets (in countless colours!) Online and even more In Store that are waiting to be picked up by anyone who fits the beret bill! Just wear this iconic piece with style, and perhaps lashings of eyeliner to resemble Bridget in the 60s, and make Beyond Retro proud.


  • BUFFALO STANCE


    If you ever been to Essex, you may have stumbled onto a place called Loughton , where there is a English hunt wear trend going on... In fact this look is dotted all around Blighty and usually consists of pristine Hunter Wellingtons, untarnished Barbour's and riding breeches. This has been going on since the Sloane Ranger look of the 1980’s, that embodied the young and affluent set of South Kensington and beyond. The country look has always been a go to for the fashion world but the vintage universe has its own great outdoor hero, an all American staple in the form of the buffalo plaid jacket.

    Where buffalo plaid gets it right over the Anglo version is its ability to fit better into an urban landscape than going whole hog Horse & Hound. By adopting English shoot wear you are - in a way - latching onto a world that has a preconceived status and ideal whereas the US version holds no supposed ideal to it

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    The back story to buffalo plaid is a good one and actually does has something to do with horned animals, thank God! Firstly, the plaid is in fact a tartan with its life starting in bonny Scotland and is one of the oldest (8th Century) and the family colours of the MacGregor clan! Yes, that’s right Rob Roy MacGregor - he who battled Mel Gibson in the great Hollywood audience battle of the 90’s. Apologies to all my Scottish companions.
    Fast-forward to the late 1800’s, Connecticut, USA - a burly Scot named Big Jock MacCluskey brought with him his ancestral clan tartan, The Rob Roy. Now old Jock was apparently a fearsome man to behold and one that left quite an impression with all he met including the local Sioux and Cheyenne Indians.

    Early 1930’s Buffalo Plaid Huntsman Suit Early 1930’s Buffalo Plaid Huntsman Suit


    Now Big Jock first made his living as a Buffalo hunter, then realizing that bartering was a far more lucrative and less energetic form of capital gain he became an Indian trader. This profession had all but been deserted by the European settlers after the defeat of General Custer by the Sioux.
    Jock though was sympathetic to the Indians cause and made comparisons with his own people’s plight with the English aggression through conquest. This was a rare occurrence in this time of holocaust that made the Indians not only respect Jock but, again due to his fearsome stance, slightly weary of him.

    Through this weary alliance the trading of buffalo pelts with various goods was the norm and on top of every brave’s wish list was a heavy woven blanket from Scotland. That’s right the tartan of Rob Roy!. So in awe of its vibrant red the Indians believed it contained the souls of MacCluskey’s fallen enemies that he had slain, Jock would nod his head to this and say, “Aye”. Such was the belief in this that when worn in battle it would protect the wearer from death.
    To round off this little bit of historical fact, the tartan became known as buffalo pledger, pledger being the Gaelic word for blanket. Due to the mispronunciation of this curious word by both American natives and settlers alike, in time it became shortened to plaid. This is said to be why tartan in the US is called plaid.

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    And there you go…more excitement than a John Wayne impersonator being mistaken for Clint Eastwood at Tesco’s.

    We always have a fantastic selection of vintage buffalo plaid from brands such as Woolrich, Filson and Pendleton - go have a hunt!

    Words: Oliver Abbott
  • The Revolution Range


    At Beyond Retro, recycling is our passion. We love bringing new life to materials as we work to close the loop on fashion waste. 4 years ago, we started our very own Beyond Retro LABEL our sustainable way of saving what we love! We're on a mission to find more innovative solutions to The Crisis of Stuff. Our new Revolution Range brings you amazing products made with up-cycled and recycled materials.
    The Revolution Range resolves and evolves our mission- it's the start of an innovative sustainable cycle!

    Of course we are only one of thousands of people working hard to make a change, so we've partnered with some incredible brands to bring you amazing products with a purpose!

    revolution_range_logo_for_ecom_7
    East End Prints
    East London graphics print shop who use recycled paper, and have been supporting local designers since 2010.We’re very pleased to be working with East End Prints with a new collection of artists :
    Daniel Battams
    Lucky Budgie
    Fitzy GoGo
    Daniel Battams / Chicken Print Daniel Battams / Chicken Print

    Otra
    Recycling never looked so good. Mix style and substance with jewellery made from intricately cut, upcycled rubber for a strikingly modern look. Otra jewellery is made in France from recycled truck tyre inner tubes.
    Otra Recycled Necklace Otra Recycled Necklace

    Wool and The Gang
    A sustainable knitting revolution. With the jersey yarn made from recycled factory offcut fabrics, and the mix tape yarn made from up-cycled t-shirt scraps, give the gift of creation with a Wool and the Gang DIY kit. We have 5 styles in store and online to choose from, all you have to do is buy a kit and learn to knit!

    Baggu
    100% recycled cotton canvas tote bags and backpacks that feel good to use, High quality, high value environmentally friendly bags without sacrificing style or fun. Expect clean designs, pop colours and cheeky prints.

    Kapdaa
    Helping designers and manufacturers turn their offcuts into unique marketing products. Beautifully hand crafted notebooks made of rare vintage fabrics from our Design Archive. Each notebook one of a kind, this is a piece of history treasured by you!

    Kapdaa / Beyond Retro Archive Notebooks Kapdaa / Beyond Retro Archive Notebooks


    Now you know what goodies we have on offer, head down to one of our stores or hit the website to see for yourself how incredible recycling really can be!

    Words: Mary Costello

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