Tams Become Berets: McCall Hat Patterns from 1950

The Tam 0′ Shanter has been around for centuries, and reappears in women’s hat styles from decade to decade. (To see tams from 1917, click here. For tams from 1924 and 1925, click here and here.) The tams below — patterns #1493 and #1498 — are some variations from McCall’s Needlework Catalogues dated May and November, 1950.

McCall hat pattern #1463, Store catalog, May, 1950.

McCall hat pattern #1463, Store catalog, May, 1950. Views A and B would have been called “tams” in the 1920s.

mccall 1463 text may 1950018

As in 1925, tam 0′ shanters (now called berets) were made of wool, or of fancier fabrics such as velvet or silk, and trimmed with tassels, beads, costume jewelry, etc.

Tams from 1924 -1925. Pattern illustrations, Butterick's Delineator magazine.

Tams with trims from 1924 -1925. Pattern illustrations, Butterick’s Delineator magazine.

McCall pattern 1498, fromt McCall Needlework Catalogue, Nov. 1950.

McCall pattern 1498, from McCall Needlework Catalogue, Nov. 1950. Version C is a Tam, now called a Beret.

McCall pattern information for #1498, store catalog, May 1950.

McCall pattern information for #1498, store catalog, May 1950.

“Beret, smart, in velvet or tweed.”

The other, very-tight-to-the-scalp hats coming into style (View B) fit perfectly over the popular permanent (often a home permanent by Toni) that created a wreath of curls around the face, but left the hair at the top of the head smooth and uncurled. First Lady Mamie Eisenhower is a good example of this hairdo.

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3 Comments

Filed under 1920s, 1940s-1950s, Accessory Patterns, Hairstyles, Hats, Old Advertisements & Popular Culture, Vintage Accessories

3 responses to “Tams Become Berets: McCall Hat Patterns from 1950

  1. So a tam and a beret are actually the same style, but one is Scottish and the other French? These things confuse me!

    • They used to be different — a ‘tam’ had a bigger crown, and tended to droop to one side — but, like a lot of fashion vocabulary, usage changed. [E.g., a “bodice” was originally called “a pair of bodies” — what we call a corset. Both “doublets” and “bodices” were originally undergarments, but they became outerwear.]
      You’re right about berets differing from region to region — no wonder, since this form of circular hat with a snug headband has been around for perhaps 3000 years or more! see WikipediaA Basque beret and a Scottish tam o’ shanter looked quite different a hundred years ago. Now the word “beret” serves for both shapes, and a few new shapes as well.

  2. Fascinating! I particularly enjoyed your answer to Lizzie. So much to learn.

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