What Did Scots Wear Before Kilts

What Did Scots Wear Before Kilts

The traditional clothing of Scotland, commonly known as kilts, is an iconic symbol of the country’s heritage. However, what many people may not know is that the kilt was not always the attire of choice for Scots. In fact, long before kilts became popular in Scotland, there were other garments worn by Scots. In this article, we will explore what Scots wore before kilts and how it has evolved over the centuries.Prior to kilts, Scots wore a variety of garments. These included belted plaids, trews (a type of trousers similar to what is now known as breeches), leines (a type of shirt), and arisaids (a type of cloak). Plaids were made from large pieces of woven woolen cloth that would be draped across the body and belted at the waist. Trews were also made from woolen cloth and usually had a series of pleats in the front. Leines were loose-fitting shirts made from linen or wool fabric. Arisaids were cloaks which could be draped around the body like a shawl or fastened with a belt.

Origins of Kilt

The kilt is a traditional garment worn by men in Scotland, and is recognized around the world as an iconic symbol of Scottish culture. While kilts have been around for centuries, their exact origins remain a mystery. Some believe the kilt originated in Ireland, while others trace it back to Scotland’s ancient Celtic heritage. Whatever its true origins, the kilt has become an integral part of Scottish history and culture.

The earliest known depiction of a kilt-like garment dates back to 16th century Scotland. This early version consisted of a large piece of cloth that was pleated and draped around the waist and secured with a belt. The fabric was usually made from wool or linen and often had intricate patterns or tartans woven in. It was typically worn by Highland farmers, as it offered more freedom and comfort than traditional trousers.

By the 18th century, kilts had become more refined and were commonly worn by members of Scotland’s Highland regiments. These kilts were tailored to fit each individual wearer, with pleats sewn into the fabric to ensure they hung properly when in motion. During this time, many clans adopted specific tartans that became associated with their particular clan or region.

Today, kilts continue to be worn for formal occasions such as weddings or ceilidhs (traditional Scottish parties). They also serve as a symbol of pride for those with Scottish heritage or those who are just proud to be Scottish!

Traditional Scottish Clothing

Scotland is well known for its iconic traditional clothing, which have been worn by Scots for centuries. From the classic kilt to the Balmoral bonnet, there are many garments that make up the traditional Scottish wardrobe. The kilt is probably one of the most well known pieces of traditional Scottish clothing and dates back to at least the 16th century. The kilt is a pleated skirt made from heavy wool tartan fabric and is usually accompanied by jacket and sporran. Another popular piece of traditional clothing is the Argyll jacket, which is a formal variant of the classic tweed jacket. It was traditionally worn with a waistcoat, sporran and kilt hose.

The Balmoral bonnet is another distinctive piece of traditional Scottish clothing, which was originally worn by Highland regiments in the 19th century. It features a flat crown and ribbons that hang down at the back. This type of hat has become an iconic symbol of Scotland and can be seen being worn at many events throughout Scotland today. In addition to hats, scarves are also an important part of traditional Scottish attire. Tartan scarves are particularly popular and can be seen in many different designs and colours.

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Traditional Scottish clothing also includes various accessories such as kilts pins, sgian dubhs (small daggers) and brooches which are usually made from silver or pewter. These items were originally used as practical items but have now become fashionable accessories that can be worn with any type of attire. Finally, no outfit would be complete without some tartan trews (trousers). These trousers are usually made from thick woolen fabric in various tartan patterns and are often accompanied by a waistcoat or jacket to complete the look.

Traditional Scottish attire has evolved over time but remains an important part of Scotland’s national identity today. Whether you’re looking for something to wear to a special occasion or just want to add some classic style to your wardrobe, there are plenty of options when it comes to traditional Scottish clothing.

Plaid and Tartan Clothes

Plaid and tartan clothes are timeless wardrobe staples that have become increasingly popular in recent years. Plaid and tartan prints can be found on everything from trousers to dresses, adding a classic touch to any wardrobe. The plaid and tartan prints come in a variety of colors, patterns, and sizes, making it easy to find something that suits your style. Plaid and tartan clothes are perfect for any occasion, from casual everyday wear to formal events. They can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion, making them incredibly versatile.

Plaid and tartan clothes are also very comfortable as they are typically made from lightweight materials such as cotton or wool. This makes them perfect for layering in cooler weather or wearing on their own during the warmer months. They can be paired with almost any type of accessory such as scarves, hats, or jewelry to give an outfit an extra pop of color or texture.

Overall, plaid and tartan clothes make great additions to any wardrobe. They are timeless pieces that will never go out of style and they offer a unique way to express personal style with their variety of colors and patterns. Whether you’re looking for something comfortable and casual or something more formal, plaid and tartan clothes are sure to make a statement!

The Origin of the Great Kilt

The great kilt is a garment with an ancient history. It is believed to have originated in the highlands of Scotland, where it was worn by men and women as a form of traditional dress. The great kilt was also known as the belted plaid or feileadh mhor in Gaelic. The garment consisted of two pieces of tartan cloth, one woven to be slightly longer than the other. These two pieces were then wrapped around the body, with a belt used to secure them in place. The excess fabric was then thrown over the shoulder or pinned at the front for a more dramatic look. It was traditionally worn with a sporran, a type of pouch made from animal hide or fur, and sometimes accompanied by other items such as brooches and sashes.

Evolution of the Great Kilt

The great kilt went through many changes over the centuries, evolving from its original form to become more tailored and fashionable. During the 18th century, it began to be associated with Highland regiments and became popular among members of British aristocratic families who wanted to emulate their military style. As time went on, it took on different forms depending on regional fashion trends. For example, in Scotland it became shorter in length and more fitted around the waist; while in Ireland it was often worn with a waistcoat and breeches for formal occasions.

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Modern Day Great Kilt

Today, the great kilt is still worn by many people throughout Scotland as part of their national dress. It has also become popular among those who admire traditional Scottish culture, both at home and abroad. While some may choose to wear modern adaptations such as kilts made from synthetic materials or shorter versions known as ‘mini-kilts’, many still opt for authentic tartan plaids that are made according to centuries-old techniques. Whether they are being used for special occasions or simply for everyday wear, kilts remain a timeless symbol of Scotland’s proud heritage and culture.

Leine Croich – A Linen Shirt

Leine Croich, a linen shirt, is a traditional garment from the Shetland Islands of Scotland. The shirt is usually made of linen and has been worn in the Shetlands for centuries. It was traditionally used as an everyday clothing item by fishermen, farmers and other outdoor workers. The Leine Croich was also worn on special occasions such as weddings and funerals.

The shirt is usually made of unbleached linen, which gives it a natural white color. It features long sleeves, a button-down front closure and a wide collar. The collar can be decorated with intricate lace patterns or embroidery work to create a unique look. The shirt also has two large pockets on the front which are used to store items such as fishing tackle or tools.

The Leine Croich is highly versatile and can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. It looks great when paired with jeans for an informal look or with trousers and a blazer for more formal occasions. It can also be dressed up with accessories such as scarves, hats and jewelry to create a unique style statement.

Today, the Leine Croich is still popular in the Shetland Islands and worn by both men and women alike. It’s also becoming increasingly popular in other parts of Scotland as well as around the world due to its stylish yet comfortable design. Whether you’re looking for something classic or modern, the Leine Croich is sure to become an essential part of your wardrobe!

Breacan an Fhéilidh – A Checkered Cloth

Breacan an Fhéilidh or checkered cloth has been a part of Gaelic culture for centuries. The fabric is traditionally woven in a tartan pattern, with alternating stripes of red, black and green. It was popularly used for clothing, blankets and other items of clothing during the 18th century. Breacan an Fhéilidh was also known to be worn by warriors in battle and it was believed that the patterns had protective powers. In recent years, Breacan an Fhéilidh has become a symbol of Gaelic culture and heritage.

The tartan pattern is believed to have originated in Scotland, but Breacan an Fhéilidh is now associated with Ireland and the Irish people. The fabric is made from wool and is traditionally woven on hand looms using natural dyes. The weaving process used to create Breacan an Fhéilidh is complex and labor-intensive, but produces a durable and beautiful cloth that will last for many years.

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Today, Breacan an Fhéilidh is still widely worn by people from all walks of life who wish to show their pride in their heritage or simply just to look good. There are many modern versions of the traditional pattern that are available in shops as well as online stores. The tartan pattern can be seen on clothing such as kilts, skirts, scarves, ties, hats and even shoes. Breacan an Fheilidh can also be found on many home décor items such as blankets, curtains and cushions.

Regardless of whether you are looking for a way to express your love for your Irish heritage or simply just want to look good in a stylish tartan patterned garment – Breacan an Fheilidh provides the perfect solution!

Arisaid – A Woman’s Wrap-Around Garment

An arisaid is a traditional woman’s wrap-around garment, originating from Scotland. It is typically worn over a petticoat or shift. The arisaid was most popular in the late 18th century, and is very similar to the Irish mantle or léine. It is a long dress with pleating at the shoulder, and can be fastened in various ways. The arisaid can be worn on its own or with an underskirt for more warmth and coverage.

The arisaid was traditionally made from woolen cloth, but nowadays it can be made from other fabrics such as silk or cotton. The outer layer is usually made from tartan cloth, although it can also be plain or patterned. The length of the arisaid varies depending on the desired look and style; some are ankle length while others are floor-length. Women would usually wear an apron over their arisaid for extra protection against dirt and mud.

The wearing of an arisaid was once common among Scottish women of all classes and ages; however, by the 19th century it had become more of an upper-class garment due to its impracticality in everyday life. The arisaid was seen as a symbol of status and wealth, with wealthier women able to afford finer fabrics and intricate designs.

Today, the traditional arisaid has been replaced by modern garments such as skirts or dresses; however, many people still choose to wear them for special occasions such as weddings or Highland gatherings. The wearing of an arisaid has become something of a national tradition in Scotland, representing both heritage and pride in one’s Scottish identity.


The history of Scots clothing is varied and complex. Before the kilt became the defining article of clothing, many different garments were worn. This includes belted plaids, arisaids, caubeens, and even trews. Though the kilt is now seen as the iconic piece of Scottish dress, these other items still exist and are often seen today at Highland gatherings and in traditional settings.

In modern times, Scottish dress has become more varied with a mix of traditional and contemporary styles being seen throughout the country. From kilts to tartan accessories to modern fashion pieces incorporating tartan elements, Scots today still celebrate their unique heritage through clothing.

No matter what the style or era, Scottish dress has been an important part of their culture since ancient times. From its most humble beginnings to its most recent interpretations, it is a testament to how Scots have embraced their identity through fashion and celebrated it for generations.