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Tam o’ Shanter

Scottish hat named after a Burns character

A Tam o’ Shanter is a Scottish style of hat originally worn by men. The hat is named after a character in a poem written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1790.

The Tam o’ Shanter is a Scottish bonnet worn by men although women have adopted a form of this hat known as a ‘Tam’ or a ‘Tammy’.

The hat is usually made of wool and with a toorie (pom-pom) in the centre. It is a floppy hat with the crown often twice the diameter of the head, named after Tam o’ Shanter, a character in the poem of that name by Robert Burns.

Originally, the hat was made only in blue due to the lack of chemical dyes and hence know as ‘blue bonnets’. The hats are now available in tartan and a wide variety of colours.

The Tam o’ Shanter is a casual alternative to the Balmoral or the Glengarry in Highland dress which are part of the uniform in several military units.

Famous Tam o’ Shanter wearers

  • Russ Abbott