Highland dress

The term Highland dress describes the traditional, regional dress of the Highlands and Isles of Scotland. It is often characterised by tartan(plaid in North America). Specific designs of shirt, jacket, bodice and headwear may also be worn along with clan badges and other devices indicating family and heritage.

Men’s highland dress includes a kilt or trews of his clan tartan, along with either a tartan full plaidfly plaid, or short belted plaid. Accessories may include a belt, sporransgian-dubh, knee-socks with a cuff known as kilt hose, garters, kilt pins and clan badges.

Women’s highland dress is also based on the clan tartan, either that of her birth clan or, if married, that of her spouse’s clan if she so chooses. Traditionally, women and girls do not wear kilts but may wear ankle-length tartan skirts, along with a colour-coordinated blouse and vest. A tartan earasaidsash or tonnag (smaller shawl) may also be worn, usually pinned with a brooch, sometimes with a clan badge or other family or cultural motif.

Ghillies are thin, foldable turnshoes, now used mostly for indoor wear and dancing. The sole and uppers cut from one piece of leather, wrapped around the foot from the bottom, laced at the top, and seamed at the heel and toe. Ghillie brogues are thick-soled welted rand shoes. In both, the laces are wrapped around and tied firmly above the wearer’s ankles so that the shoes do not get pulled off in the mud. The shoes lack tongues so the wearer’s feet can dry more quickly in the typically damp Scottish weather.

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