What is Scottish Beret Tam?

A tam o’ shanter (in the British military often abbreviated to ToS), or ‘Tammie’ is a name given to the traditional Scottish hat bonnet worn by men. The name derives from Tam o’ Shanter, the eponymous hero of the 1790 Robert Burns poem. The woolen bonnet is thought to have arrived in Scotland through scholars returning home from the centers of learning on the continent during the 16th century. In a country where the weather could change at the drop of a hat, the bonnet was quickly adopted and became an essential item of everyday wear.

Similar in outline to the various types of flat bonnet common in northwestern Europe during the 16th century, the later tam o’ shanter is distinguished by the woolen ball or toorie decorating the center of the crown; the name itself did not enter common usage until the early 19th century, subsequent to the popularity of Burns’ poem. The term came to denote a hat, usually associated with Scottish military regiments, derived from the old bonnet, along with the Glengarry hat sky blue and the Balmoral bonnets. The Balmoral was sometimes simply described as synonymous with the tam o’ shanter.

Before the introduction of inexpensive synthetic dyes in the mid-19th century, the Scottish knitted bonnet was made only in colours easily available from natural dyes, particularly woad or indigo (hence “bluebonnet”).Since that time the tam o’ shanter has been produced in a wider range of fabrics, such as serge, as single colors, as well as tartan. Women have also adopted a form of this hat, known as a “tammy” or “tam”.


In the First World War, a khaki Balmoral bonnet was introduced in 1915 for wear in the trenches by Scottish infantry serving on the Western Front. This came to be known as the ‘bonnet, tam o’ shanter’, later abbreviated among military personnel to ‘ToS’. It replaced the Glengarry – which was the regulation bonnet worn by Scottish troops with khaki field dress at the start of the war. Originally knitted, the military tam o’ shanter subsequently came to be constructed from separate pieces of khaki serge cloth.

Today, the Royal Regiment of Scotland and some regiments of the Canadian Forces continue to wear the ToS as undress and working headgear. The various battalions of the Royal Regiment of Scotland identify themselves by wearing distinctive colored hackles on their bonnets. The Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland wear a red hackle in their ToS, as do soldiers of The Black Watch of Canada.

What is the difference between a Tam and Baret?

Historically, “tam” is short for the Tam O’Shanter, a Scottish wool hat with a pom-pom. … Traditionally, a beret would be worn tilted to one side, while a tam would perch straight on the head.

How does a the baret stay on?

Every beret has a brim that fits snug on your head and holds the beret in place. Tuck the brim up and under the excess fabric of the beret. Then puff out the fabric of the beret so it hides the edge of the beret. Tilt the beret to 1 side, with the front of the beret pulled down to your eyebrow.

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