The Casquette - An Icon of Cycling Style

The casquette, a peaked cotton cap, is an icon of the cycling world.casquette Worn well it elevates panache levels exponentially whilst protecting against the sun's harsh glare and the clouds' damp drizzle. In the days before helmets were commonplace in the pro peloton, a well-chosen casquette would sit proudly atop the heads of campionissimo and gregario alike.

Despite the ubiquity of helmets, casquettes remain a style icon.casquette Whether worn in a beret or as a full cap, these caps are a classic, elegant piece of cycling kit that should be part of every cyclist's wardrobe.

Casquette is a French word derived from the Latin "capus." In modern French it is commonly written as "casquette," although the term "calotte" (sometimes also called a beret) is still used in some regions of Canada to refer to a beret with a front brim.

The story of the filles a la cassette, or Casket Girls, is one of the more tragic chapters of New Orleans history. These young women were sent to the French colonies in America from convents in France in order to become wives for American pioneers. Rather than finding husbands, they were often placed into abusive marriages and left to fend for themselves.

Storytelling around the legend of these girls has expanded since those early days. The stories now include a belief that they were vampires who brought their caskets with them on the voyage to New Orleans. Some even believe that the shutters in their homes were nailed down with nails blessed by the Pope in an attempt to keep the vampires out.

Regardless of the truth of the legend, a casquette is still an important part of the history of the city and a beautiful, functional piece of cycling gear. The New Orleans Museum of Art has a fine example from the time of the filles a la cassette and other artifacts from their lives in New Orleans. This exhibit is worth a visit, and the museum also offers educational programs for all ages that teach children and adults about the history of the area. See 'Meaning & Use' for further details.


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