See also Bobbie Suttie's Hints on making a kilt.
The Scotattire list is a place to discuss and debate the basics as well as the fine points of Scottish Highland Attire. Much of the conversation is light, but the general rule is that it all should pertain to Scottish Highland Attire, either modern or historical.
The following is an outstanding "how to" on tying ghillie brogues: http://www.bagpipejourney.com/articles/ghillie_brogues.shtml
I am an Australian porcelain doll maker, and am currently working on a beautiful doll that I would like to dress as a Scottish Country Dancer. I am having great difficulty finding pictures or a good description of the costume worn by ladies, and was wondering if you could possibly help me.
Probably the most instantly recognisable costume would be a long white dress (ankle-length, leaving the feet clear to dance), sleeveless, with a tartan sash folded in half and pinned at the shoulder with a sash brooch (large, celtic-style, ~4 inches across). The underneath half of the sash is pinned at the waist on the opposite side, the top half of the sash is left hanging loose. Which shoulder it should be pinned on depends on where you dance (and there are various stories about "the right way to do it", all of which call on various traditions which predate me, so I can't vouch for any of them), but I do know that in the Edinburgh area we pin the sashes on the right shoulder (and hence at the waist at the left), but in the north-east of England, they pin them on the left shoulder and to the right.
Well, to be more accurate, the sash is folded in half, and a rubber band put round it 6-8 inches from the fold to gather it in. It is then safety-pinned to the shoulder, to the waist (generally from the inside of the dress) and on the back where it comes over the shoulder, to keep both sides close to the neck as it comes over (and to hide the zip on the dress). The sash brooch is then pinned to the sash to hide the rubber band.
/~\ / \ _\_/_ _\ /_ /@\_/ \ / /||\ / | | \ / |//|| \ \ | | \_ _/ // || / || |\ // ||| / \ / || / \ / \ / \ / \The dress has a very full skirt to give freedom to dance (it might even be cut on a complete circle, but it's a while since my wife made one, so I can't remember).
The ensemble is finished off with ballet shoes - red ones are considered de rigeur by some and pretentious by others; black is common but some consider it common, white or cream would go with the dress.
Not sure if I have posted this before but, a while ago, I was
talking to the Highland Dance teacher at the Queen Victoria School
in Dunblane (the successor to Gillin Anderson). This is a boarding
school for the children (originally only boys) of Service personnel
including those in straitened circumstances. The school is run
very much on Army lines. Anyway, she told me that the school
follows the official British Army regulations for under-kilt wear
(or not), which are:
Underclothes will be worn when:
Whose discretion I did not ask.
The ghillies (as in hunter's helpers in the Highlands of Scotland) used to prefer shoes that were laced like today's dancing ghillies on the grounds that the water would flow out of them better when walking through the Scottish deer forest (read: peat bog). (The water would flow in better, as well, but I never quite understood that part of the reasoning.) That type of shoe, called ghillie brogue, is still popular with kilt outfits, if you want to be stylish. Apparently the inventors of the dancing ghillie felt that the type of lacing was something typically Scottish and wanted to preserve this for Scottish dancing shoes. It turns out that in the old times people would dance in their Sunday shoes if they couldn't afford specialized patent leather dance shoes, and those shoes were of course not the soft ghillies that are worn today in Highland and Scottish country dancing. The soft ghillies first appeared on the (modern) competition circuit at Highland Games some time during the second half of the last century (I don't remember exactly, but as far as I have read they were popular with professional Highland dancers around the turn of the century), and in the country dance world they didn't catch on until the establishment of the Scottish Country Dance Society in 1923, whose founders were big on (re?)introducing the balletic element to SCD (the social dancers at the time would of course wear hard shoes as above).
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This page is maintained by Ian Brockbank
Last modified 8-10-02
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