What is a Scottish hat?


  • A Scottish hat is a versatile head covering with various purposes. It including protection against weather conditions. ceremonial events, religious practices, safety measures, and fashion statements.
  • When the term “Scottish” is associated with hats, it typically refers to the traditional headgear worn in the Scottish highlands. It preserving cultural traditions and serving as part of Scottish military or civilian Highland dress.

The Balmoral Bonnet: A Time-Honored Headpiece

  • The hat derives its name from Balmoral Castle, a royal residence located in Scotland. It adding a touch of regality to its heritage.
  • As an alternative to the Tam o’ Shanter cap (informal) and the Glengarry bonnet the balmoral offers a distinctive and stylish choice.

Historical Development and Variations

  • Originally, the bluebonnet, as worn by Scottish hat regiments, transformed into a stiffened felt cylinder adorned with an ostrich plume hackle sweeping over the crown from left to right. Additional embellishments like bearskin or painted turkey hackles were also incorporated.
  • In the 19th century, the tall cap evolved into the extravagant full-dress feather bonnet. Simultaneously, a simpler version of the cap, known as the Kilmarnock bonnet, continued in use as an undress cap until the mid-19th century.
  • The term “Balmoral” was first applied to this traditional headdress in the late 19th century. In 1903, some Lowland regiments briefly adopted a bluebonnet with a stiffened crown in traditional style for full dress headgear.
  • Following the Second World War, while other Scottish regiments chose the Glengarry, the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) adopted a soft blue Balmoral as their full dress headgear, pairing it with the green no. 1 dress jacket or khaki no. 2 or service dress.
  • Not limited to Highland dress, the Balmoral has gained recognition and popularity in various spheres.
  • Renowned songwriter Richard Thompson has championed the use of the Balmoral, incorporating it into his stage attire while preserving its traditional significance.
  • Its distinctive appearance and connection to Scottish heritage make it a notable fashion accessory and cultural symbol, transcending its original military and ceremonial purposes.


  • The Balmoral stands as an iconic example of a Scottish hat, deeply rooted in the country’s history and traditions.
  • Initially part of Highland dress, it has found its place in formal and informal settings alike.
  • Whether as a headgear choice for military regiments, a fashion statement, or a stage accessory, the Balmoral continues to embody Scottish culture and capture the imagination of individuals worldwide.

Types of Scottish Hats:

  • Glengarry Bonnet
  • Balmoral Bonnet
  • Tam O’Shanter

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