Traditional Scottish hats are typically made of wool, and may be adorned with clan tartans, feathers and checked bands. Being aware of the three main types of Scottish hats can help you decide how to choose one of your own.
The Glengarry bonnet was worn at least as early as 1812. It consists of a close-fitting, boat-shaped cap with a creased peak. The Glengarry bonnet might be decorated with a checked band, and a pom-pom, called a toorie, might be sewn on top. The cap is also sewn with ribbons hanging down the back. This cap could be folded flat and stuck into a pocket or waistband for easy transport.
In its first incarnation, the Balmoral bonnet was a soft, knitted hat with a close-fitting band and a loose, flat crown. Over time, it became more structured, and today's Balmoral bonnet is made out of fairly stiff wool and the short crown falls to the right when it is being worn. Like the Glengarry bonnet, it may feature a checked or plain band, and there may also be a toorie sewn to the middle of the crown. Unlike the Glengarry bonnet where the ribbons are left loose and trailing, the ribbons of the Balmoral bonnet may be left loose or tied in a bow.
The Tam O'Shanter, also simply called a tam, received its name from a poem by Robert Burns. In structure, it is similar to the Balmoral bonnet, but where the Balomoral bonnet has a very short crown, the crown of the tam is larger and looser. Unlike the Glengarry bonnet and the Balmoral bonnet, which were worn by officers, tams were commonly worn by soldiers.
- A Scottish Piper image by Ray Carpenter from Fotolia.com