The Highland Dress

The highland dress is the traditional costume of Scotland. It is worldwide known by the tartan pattern on the kilt. It is composed of kilt, sporran, sgian dubh and ghillies.

  • The kilt is a knee length skirt type for men and boys, with pleats at the rear. It is mainly made from wool, with a tartan pattern, specific to the origin area of the wearer. Back in the 16th century, it was a daily garment, but nowadays is worn on special events and at highland games. It is worn with knee high woolen socks.
  • Sporan is a special purse that hangs in the front of the kilt from a leather strap or chain.
  • It is made of leather or fur and complements the pocketless kilt. It serves as a wallet or personal items container. The sporran can be very ornated with similar motifs found on the sgian dubh and the sporran cantle – the rear of the horse saddle.
  • Sgian dubh is a small knife with a single edge. Originally it was used for cutting materials and protection, but also for daily activities like cutting bread and cheese, fruits and meat. It is worn tucked in with the handle visible, in the right or left kilt socks, depending on the dominant hand of the wearer.
  • Ghillies or ghillie brogues are traditional shoes made from leather, with long laces, both for men and women. They are worn over the high kilt socks and do not have any tongue. The women’s versions have thinner soles, as they are typically worn in house and for dancing. The men’s version have thicker soles, to protect their feet in the activities outside the house.2357518_f0ff4f6d

Although this costume is intended to be worn by men, women wear it too during sport competitions like highland games or lacrosse.

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