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  Scottish Dress - overview

Scottish Dress is nowadays often thought of as the modern kilt, and the various accessories required for practicality such as the sporran. The Scots, in their history, show a steady development of this dress style, starting in ancient times when warriors wore very little clothing at all.

Léine and Brat - All over Scotland and Ireland in ancient times people relied on a simple shirt over which they would wear a blanket for outdoor activities in cold weather. The shirt was a 'Léine' in Gaelic, or 'Sark' in Lallans. The blanket (or 'Brat') could be used also as a cover against the elements if sleeping outdoors, or while taking shelter from a storm. The weather-keeping qualities of wool are still known in modern Scottish knitwear.

Great Kilt or Belted Plaid - As weaving progressed, people could manufacture larger pieces of cloth, as well as stitch pieces together. Fastenings such as belts and buckles, together with more complicated plaid patterns, allowed development of dress. The belted plaid, or great kilt, worked as an all purpose cloth with many uses. The soldier seen here in 1744 wears a great kilt, and the plaid is used to keep the flint-lock of his musket dry.

Small Kilt or Philabeg - As modernity approached, new forms of work in weaving rooms or in early manufacturing meant that a great kilt was not practical, so a shorter form was developed (the 'Small Kilt' or 'Walking Kilt').

The modern kilt is derived from this history of dress, and uses various accessories, each with a unique history. The links in the above text, and on the left, provide more detailed accounts of the history of Scottish dress.