I am always looking for accessories to complete my sporting ensembles. One thing I never pass up in an antique store is a rack of hats. Ninety-nine percent of the time the rack will be full of hats from the 1960s. I have a theory, that when hats began to lose favor in the late 60s women stored their old hats instead of investing in new ones. What else could account for the abundance of 60s hats at estate sales and antique stores?
But this post is about that rarest of hat finds – the pre-1960s sports hat. I gave a little happy dance when I spotted this little red tam among all the faux turbans and pillbox hats.
Items like this hat that were worn for decades with little change in the style, so they can be hard to date from that alone. Fortunately there were a couple of things that let me know this tam dated from around 1910 to the 1920s. First, the seams were finished using a Merrow overlock machine. The stitch is similar to a modern serger, but it is easy to see the difference. I see it a lot in pre-1930 knit bathing suits.
Second, the band of the tam is in a type of machine knit that is commonly seen on knit items from this era. I have a pair of navy blue mittens in the same type knit.
In looking at catalogs and other illustrated sources from the 1910s and 20s, the tam is the hat worn by most women for winter sports. The illustration above is from a 1921 Bradley catalog.
This illustration is on a late Edwardian postcard.
And this one is from the mid to late 1920s. It fits a bit closer to the head, and might even be called a toboggan.
Another factor that contributes to the scarcity of early knits is that so many of them were consumed by moth larvae. Thankfully, this one somehow escaped the hungry little buggers.