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Scottish Traditional Dress

What’s the first thing that you think of when you hear the word “Scotland”? The blare of bagpipes? The crumbling ruins of centuries-old castles? The crash of waves upon the craggy shore? Probably; but we’re also willing to bet that the image of rich, bright tartan patterns and of kilts rippling in the wind also feature in there.

Naturally, pretty much every nation has imagery that we associate with it specifically; but there aren’t many nations that we associate with a particular item of clothing – for the most part, clothes become attached to a regional culture, rather than any one country.

But good old kilts – those are an exception. It’s pretty much impossible not to see a fellow clad in a tartan kilt and a leather sporran and not think of the nation of Scotland. So deeply ingrained in the Highlands is the kilt, in fact, that in 1746, as part of its effort to quell the Jacobite uprisings, British parliament vainly attempted to extinguish Scottish national identity by passing the Dress Act, which forbade the wearing of tartan and kilts by anyone but official soldiery.

Occasion to wear a Kilt

Of course, anyone is free to wear a kilt these days. But for many of us, the question is: when should we do so?

For many of us, no matter where we may be in the world, wearing Scottish clothing is largely a matter of showing our appreciation for the nation’s rich history and cultural heritage. As a result, we generally feel inclined to do so as respectfully and accurately as circumstances will allow for.

But how do we do that? In modern context, we generally only see people wearing kilts these days for elaborate and official ceremonies celebrating some aspect of Scottish history. Is this the only time it is appropriate to wear a kilt? Would wearing one any other time simply be reducing it to gimmicky dress-up?

This is a tough question to answer in many ways, and of course, many folks will have differing views on the matter; but one thing that ought to be kept in mind is that, while kilts may frequently be associated with ceremonial purposes now, they weren’t invented for that purpose. In fact, they almost certainly came about for the sake of practical usage.

Tartan Kilt vs Utility Kilt

If you’ve ever actually worn a kilt, you can likely understand what we mean by that. Kilts, with their loose and open design, offer the sort of free and easy physical movement that modern getup just doesn’t permit – it can make moving around so much easier. And for the rural Scots, working and hunting and farming out on the wide-open Highlands, this sort of free movement was likely a real blessing.

And if you haven’t worn a kilt before, well, then you really ought to seek out a utility kilt. These contemporary kilts are, much like the original kilts, designed first and foremost to be used in practical environments and to endure physical motion. And while these kilts might not often be pattered as traditional tartan kilt, or made out of traditional materials, they are far closer to traditional tartan kilts in their intention and design – which, arguably, could make them more faithful to the spirit of the true Scottish kilt.

There’s perhaps no easy answer as to what the most respectful way to wear the traditional Scottish kilt and leather sporran is. Perhaps the most logical approach is to reflect upon how the kilt might be worn as both practical attire and traditional, ceremonial garb, and decide what makes the most sense to you, as an admirer of Scottish tradition and culture.
2019-04-05 14:43:26, views: 881, Comments: 0

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