18th-century Scottish hats were referred to as bonnets. These hats were worn by male Scots, perhaps for purposes of religion, clan or class. Each of these hats was distinct in design and use. Highlanders wore military-decorated hats to denote rank and obligation, while others, such as those linked to Balmoral Castle royalty, wore distinct ribboned hats.
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The Glengarry bonnet was worn during the late 18th century by Scottish Highlanders, who sought to distinguish themselves from the British military. These hats sat high on the head, which made them useful for pipers playing battle music. Made from animal hide and fur, these hats warmed the Highlanders who wore them. Although Glengarry bonnets are still worn today, they are larger than the 18th-century versions worn by Highlander warriors.
The Balmoral bonnet is linked to Balmoral castle. Those who wore this hat could claim high-class status. These hats were flat on the top and rounded on the sides, with a furry ball on top. It was originally knitted from blue wool and worn by Highlanders. Thereafter, these hat wearers were called "bluebonnets." However, modern-day Balmoral bonnets are made from tightly woven fabrics and have smaller crowns. Balmoral bonnets are all worn to one side of the head, usually with a badge attached to the upper front side.
Tam O'Shanter Bonnet
The Tam O'Shanter bonnet got its name from the famous Robert Burns poem "Tam O'Shanter." It is a whimsical hat that is twice in length than in circumference, which causes the hat to hang far down the side of the head. It was dyed blue and originally called a blue bonnet. It was not considered a formal military cap by the Scots. However, it was often worn on evening outings or summer strolls along the countryside because of its casual appearance.
The feather bonnet was worn by the Scottish Highlanders of the late 18th century. These bonnets were worn by pipers and drummers, but were able to withstand the force of a sword or club. Made from ostrich feathers, it sat high on the head and tilted slightly to the front. The Highlanders dyed these feathers black and placed them onto leather hats made from animal hides. Wearing these black hats and playing battle music, the Highlander pipers and drummers inspired great Scottish armies into battle.
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