How to shape a military beret

Updated April 17, 2017

Wearing a military beret is an honour of distinction among most branches of service, from the Army black beret to the Special Forces green beret. In most cases, a soldier cannot where the beret until he has earned it. Once earned, military officers expect nothing less of soldiers than to wear the beret with honour and respect. To that end, how the beret looks on a soldier is of the utmost importance.

When you first purchase a beret, you cannot simply remove it from the packaging and wear it. You will need to do some preparation and maintenance to the beret in order to shape and display that sharp military image.

Use the lint brush to remove all lint from the beret. Run the lint brush over the beret several times until the surface is smooth and no lint is visible.

Flip the beret over. On the inside you will see a tag just below the size lettering. Cut this tag off with a pair of scissors.

Pull the drawstring on the back of the beret tightly and tie it into a square knot.

Put the beret on your head with the edge of the headband 1 inch above your eyebrows, running straight across your forehead. Ensure the beret conforms to the shape of your head.

Adjust the beret so that the flash centres directly above your left eye.

Pull all the excess material tightly until it touches the top of your right ear. Do not pull the material past the middle of your right ear.

Untie the ribbon on the back of the beret and either tighten or loosen it to ensure a form fit to your head. Tie the ribbon into a square knot again once you have a comfortable but conforming fit.

Cut the ends of the ribbon as close to the knot as possible. Tuck the knot up under the beret so that it is not visible.


When purchasing a beret, you should purchase one that is the same size as your BDU cap for the correct fit.


Do not use a razor as often recommend by many soldiers to remove lint from the beret. This may easily cut the beret. Most military branches will not replace berets damaged by a method of maintenance not recommended by the manufacturer. Refrain from using warm or hot water to form the beret. This may cause the beret to shrink and not fit properly.

Things You'll Need

  • Beret
  • Lint brush
  • Scissors
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About the Author

Kenneth W. Michael Wills is a writer on culture, society and business. With more than 15 years of experience in sales, public relations and written communications, Wills' passion is delighting audiences with invigorating perspectives and refreshing ideas. He has ghostwritten articles on a diverse range of topics for corporate websites and composed proposals for organizations seeking growth opportunities.