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How to Dress Like a Scottish Man

In today’s world, it’s rare that a culture stands out substantially more than others. Humans are subject to change, conformity, and trend. One culture that hasn’t seemed to absorb any of this change, however, is that of the ancient Scottish culture.

In particular, the dress of a Scottish man, known as Highland Dress, and is still an active part of the Scottish culture today. The reasons for this being is that Scotts are very proud of their heritage, and do not shy away from displaying their pride. When you think of a Scottish man, for example, a kilt might come to mind. While this garment that was once worn by Scottish soldiers is certainly a part of Highland Dress, it’s not the only garment you’ll find a Scottish man in Highland Dress wearing!

Scottish Soldiers in Service of Gustavus Adolphus in 1631

Scottish Soldiers in Service of Gustavus Adolphus in 1631

It’s rare that, in today’s society, that such a prominent, cultural brand of clothing still exists. The Scottish Highland Dress is comprised of many traditional garments that hold both cultural and historical significance, and are worn by Scottish men today.

Let’s take a look at several components of Highland Dress, as worn by a Scottish man.

The Feileadh or “Little Kilt”

The Scottish National Tartan Little Kilt

The Scottish national tartan little kilt by Slaters.

While there are many arguments over the origin of this well-known Scottish garment, the little kilt seems to have originated from its big brother, the belted plaid. A common tale of the little kilt’s origin is that it was developed when a blacksmith got tired of having to remove his entire belted plaid every time it rained. It’s believed that the little kilt came to popularity in the early 1700’s which makes it, by far, one of the newest pieces of Highland Dress attire!

The Hose

House of Chevlot Formal Diced Kilt Hose

Formal diced kilt hose made by traditional Scottish maker House of Chevlot.

The hose is an ancient form of footwear, once worn by Highlanders. By today’s standards, the hose wouldn’t be considered adequate footwear. The simplest way to describe them is that they’re stockings that cover the feet and extend up to the kneecaps. The stockings are made out of cloth, which may have given them additional durability in the older days of Highland Dress.

The Sporran

Close-Up of a Scottish Sporran

Close-Up of a Scottish Sporran. Photo by Etienne Valois.

The Sporran has made its way through Scottish history although its origin is fairly unknown. Its prominence is unquestionable; such a convenient and well-designed pouch surely held much use back in the older days of Scottish history. The Sporran is simply a pouch that’s often worn on the belt of traditional Highland Dress.

In older times, a Sporran was usually adorned with jewels or creative attire to signify the status of the individual wearing it.

The Sgian Dubh or “The Black Knife”

Sgian Dubh Ceremonial Dagger

A ceremonial version of a Sgian Dubh. Photo by Har Gobind Singh Khalsa.

As with many components of Highland Dress, the origin of this knife is unknown and rather ominous. Obviously, it was developed as a measure of self-defense. As society progressed out of the dark ages, however, the need for a concealed weapon gradually decreased. It began to morph into a knife solely for ceremonial purposes.


The Scottish Dressing Makes the Man

A traditional Scottish Dressing comprises more than just the four garments mentioned above, but if you’re in possession of any of the aforementioned garments you’re well on your way to dressing like a Scottish man! Go ahead lad, put on your battle dress, and fight for your freedom!

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