The Tam O'Shanter Cap

The Tam O'Shanter cap, also more commonly known as a Tammy hat makes a great gift or accessory! It is a traditional Scottish bonnet who's name comes from the Robert Burns poem from 1790. The bonnet is flat and usually made from 100% wool. Hand knitted in one piece and stretched over a disk to give it its traditional, unique flat look, the earliest form of the Tammy hat was known as the blue bonnet due to its colour and was made by the bonnet-makers of Scotland. The Tammy hat hit the height of fashion for men and servants at the end of the sixteenth century and remained popular well into the seventeenth century.

Tartan Bonspiel Tammy Cap

The Tammy hat was very similar to the flat bonnet that was common in northwestern Europe during the sixteenth century. The ball of wool also known as a "toorie" that sat on top of the cap made the Tammy hat more distinctive when compared to the flat bonnet. The "Tam O'Shanter" name did not catch on until the 19th century when Robert Burns' poem became extremely popular. The term came to denote hats worn for military use such as the Glenngarry and Balmoral bonnets.

During the Mid 19th century the Tammy hat was altered with bright vivid dyes. Before this period, Tammy hats were knitted from colours that were easily available at the time such as natural dyes like woad or indigo – hence the original name blue bonnet. Since the 19th century however Tammy hats have been made in a variety of materials and colours and even tartans. More recently more and more women have started to wear these hats, which may explain where the use of the name "Tammy" came from.

Hand Made Plush Teddy Bear with Tammy Cap

The Tam O'Shanter cap is often depicted as a military accessory. During the first World War a Khaki Balmoral bonnet was given to Scottish troops to wear in the trenches on the Western front. Over time people started referring to them as a bonnet or a "Tam O'Shanter" which was later abbreviated to "ToS" and ended up  replacing the Glenngarry which was originally worn at the start of the war with a khaki field dress. The military Tam O'Shanter was originally knitted but was later made from separate pieces of khaki cloth.

From there on the Tammy Cap has become a popular gift item and tourist accessory. Made in lambswool and in all the families clan tartans, many people like to get them for ceilidhs and other Scottish events instead of buying the full outfit.

If you are looking for a gift or a Scottish accessory that is more subtle than a kilt why not look at our selection of 100% lambswool tammy hats on our website -