What’s the difference between a tam and a beret?

Difference Between a Tam and a Beret

As has become more fashionable, there are more types of them out there. For myself, I favor a beret or slouch; definitely not a beanie, which makes me look like a basketball head! My mom and sister, on the other hand, look great in beanies (and every other type of hat—lucky dogs!).

I’m lucky, too though, because there are so many fun knitted hats, slouches, and berets out there. I know there’s such a thing as a team, too, but it looks exactly like a beanie to me.

I came across this article in Knits Accessories 2011, though, which explains the difference. Here it is:

In knitting, we throw around the terms beret, tam, and slouch as if they are synonymous. Are they?

Historically, “tam” is short for the Tam hat, a Scottish wool hat with a pom-pom. These hats were worn by men and became part of the Scottish military regalia during World War I. The body is roughly twice the circumference of the band, similar to a beret in proportion.

The beret emerged in Bronze Age Europe and later became typical to France and Spain.

The trend of blocking berets over dinner plates seems to have waned, creating a trend of handknit berets that are more slouchy than disk-like. And we certainly don’t attach pom-poms to all our tams. So, for knitters, the terms are loose and can be interchangeable.

Maybe we should be saying Tammie in place of tam, however! Berets and tammies are generally twice as large around the body as they are at the brim. The brim should fit snugly around the head.

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