Ask A Wench: Of Kilts & Dirks & Highland Kit

Kilt_kidsIt’s Ask-A-Wench Day! And Ingrid recently asked:

I'm a great fan of historical romance set in Scotland and my questions for the Wenches are: #1) When did Highland men change from wearing braies to kilts and did all Scottish men change over to kilts at the same time? and #2) How was the dirk worn inside their knee high sox kept in place so that it didn't fall out and/or slip down the stocking?  

Thanks, Ingrid – glad you’re a fan of Scottish historicals! Here’s an overview of kilts and plaids (with emphasis on overview!):  

#1) When did Highland men change from wearing braies to kilts and did all Scottish men change over to kilts at the same time? And #2) How was the dirk worn inside their knee high sox kept in place so that it didn't fall out and/or slip down the stocking? 

Maciejowski msBraies are loose shorts or trousers common throughout the medieval era. Worn long, they were like loose trousers, worn short and under shirts or tunics, they were basically medieval underwear. Braies were perhaps worn in the Celtic cultures too, but not as commonly.

Raeburn_sir john sinclairIn later centuries, Lowland and Highland men sometimes wore trews, which were like long braies, cut snug to the leg and loose in the crotch (you could dance some good hip-hop in a pair of braies or trews today). A rather fancy pair of Highland tartan trews with matching jacket and cape, worn by an 18th c. gentleman, can be seen in the National Museum of Scotland, and in this painting of Sir John Sinclair by Henry Raeburn.

But by far the most famous garment for the self-respecting Highland man Sir david wilkie highlanderwas the wrapped or belted plaid, in the Gaelic breacan-an-fheilidh or feileadh-bhreacain (a wrapped tartan) or the feileadh-mor (great wrap). This was a considerable length of tartan fabric, wool woven of many colors and then folded, wrapped, belted at the waist with the long end piece tossed over the shoulder and pinned, all in a particular method. It was handy for bedding, for rain gear, camouflage, etc. Here's a gorgeous charcoal sketch by David Wilkie of a Highlander.

The wrapped plaid was typically worn without braies –- although Highlanders might have worn braies or trews beneath in very cold weather. They sometimes wrapped the long tails of their linen shirts (leine in Gaelic) and tucked the cloth inside the belt, diaper-like, so contrary to myth, they did actually wear underwear sometimes!

FeilidhmorThere’s some dispute among historians about when Highland Scots actually began wearing the wrapped plaid. Some maintain that it was not worn until the 16th century because there is no truly specific description of a belted plaid until then – but a dated written description may simply be the first extant reference to the plaid rather than a datable marker for the wearing of the plaid.

My own sense is that the Highland plaid garment evolved much earlier and endured through the centuries. The Romans, trying their best to get into the Highlands (they didn’t get very far, and finally built a wall to confine the Pictish Scots in the north) referred to the wrapped garments of many colors worn by Scots: “They all wrap themselves in a cloak that is fastened with a clasp,” says one Roman, while another writes “though they are fair of face and of comely bearing, they are much disfigured by their peculiar dress.” Odds are these early Scottish garments were precursors of the wrapped plaid of later Highlanders. Had the Romans seen Scots in tunics, they might have found the garments more familiar and less remarkable.

Raeburn_macdonell of glengarryThe kilt, or the lower skirted part of the wrapped plaid, was an 18th century development that came about when tailors created a more streamlined version of the traditional feilaidh-mor for clan chiefs and others who had no need for the multi-purpose yardage of the older style breacan, yet they wanted to wear the great plaid of their ancestors. After Culloden, tartans were proscribed and forbidden, but once the restrictions were lifted, the walking kilt ("kilt" originates from a Norse word, kjalta or pleated garment) came into greater use, and city tailors began to cut tartan cloth, pleating it neatly into belted knee-length skirts with detachable tartan sashes.

Thus began the ceremonial dress kilt for special occasions, as well as the Prince-charlies-farewellevolution of the walking or everyday kilt for hunting on Scottish estates, as the kilt was practical and comfortable. It has become quintessentially Scottish — and is still worn by Scots today for both formal occasions and on the streets of Edinburgh, for example. Historically, the kilt quickly overtook the wrapped plaid in the 19th century, although some native Highlanders in remote areas continued to wear the traditional wrapped style throughout the Clearances. 

and #2) How was the dirk worn inside their knee high sox kept in place so that it didn't fall out and/or slip down the stocking?

The dirk in a stocking is usually the small dirk, sgian-dubh (or skean dhu) that's worn ceremonially or for tradition, and it's not much use or threat to anyone in the form worn the last couple hundred years – you might cut soft fruit with it but that's about it. The sgian-dubh is sheathed inside the sock. Historically these were small knives, sgian=hidden, dubh=black, often with a dark handle Skeanand concealed (hence "hidden" in the sock). Weapons were typically left at the door of a great hall, so little knives were not very useful except for cutting one's food. Women sometimes also carried small knives. A guest wielding a weapon inside a Highland hall was a very bad guest indeed, and even the worst of enemies respected the trust of the host's hall. Well, most of the time. A larger dirk was a serious weapon, razor-sharp and long enough to do real damage, and too big and dangerous to wear inside a stocking. That sort of dirk would be sheathed on the belt, under the drape of the wrapped plaid, and it was a badass blade indeed.  

LOTW_originalAs for the bonny, sexy kilted Highland hero — he is alive and well on historical The_Lady_and_the_Laird_mystery_coverromance covers. His costume has evolved too — and while cover art may not be the most accurate, it definitely has its finer points!  Here's one of my kilted heroes, and one of Nicola's too. 

I hope this helps answer your questions, Ingrid. As a thank-you for sending a question to the Wenches for our Ask A Wench features, you win an autographed copy of one of my Highland romances!

Kilt&Sporran

Question for readers: What is it about a guy in a skirt? Do you prefer the bulky wrapped plaid of the sexy Highlanders of the 16th century – or the neat pleats of the modern kilt and ceremonial stockings worn with tux shirt and formal jacket, or with a denim jacket and Doc Martens?

Susan 

60 thoughts on “Ask A Wench: Of Kilts & Dirks & Highland Kit”

  1. What a great question and answer. My preference is for the medieval wrapped tartan/great wrap. Of course, I have a few more questions. I have read that Scots wore a broad sword on their backs; is that true and if so, how did such warrior avoid the sword getting caught in the folds when they drew it? Also in the medieval era, dyes were not color-fast; did the tartan/plaid become faded?

    Reply
  2. What a great question and answer. My preference is for the medieval wrapped tartan/great wrap. Of course, I have a few more questions. I have read that Scots wore a broad sword on their backs; is that true and if so, how did such warrior avoid the sword getting caught in the folds when they drew it? Also in the medieval era, dyes were not color-fast; did the tartan/plaid become faded?

    Reply
  3. What a great question and answer. My preference is for the medieval wrapped tartan/great wrap. Of course, I have a few more questions. I have read that Scots wore a broad sword on their backs; is that true and if so, how did such warrior avoid the sword getting caught in the folds when they drew it? Also in the medieval era, dyes were not color-fast; did the tartan/plaid become faded?

    Reply
  4. What a great question and answer. My preference is for the medieval wrapped tartan/great wrap. Of course, I have a few more questions. I have read that Scots wore a broad sword on their backs; is that true and if so, how did such warrior avoid the sword getting caught in the folds when they drew it? Also in the medieval era, dyes were not color-fast; did the tartan/plaid become faded?

    Reply
  5. What a great question and answer. My preference is for the medieval wrapped tartan/great wrap. Of course, I have a few more questions. I have read that Scots wore a broad sword on their backs; is that true and if so, how did such warrior avoid the sword getting caught in the folds when they drew it? Also in the medieval era, dyes were not color-fast; did the tartan/plaid become faded?

    Reply
  6. Woo, hoo, Susan, what a FINE way to start the day! THose devils in skirts, as Napoleon (I think!) said. The great plaid is one of the original multipurpose tools–as a designer, I approve.
    And I looooooove the pictures you found, even if realistically, no smart highlander is going to go around bare-chested all day. *G*

    Reply
  7. Woo, hoo, Susan, what a FINE way to start the day! THose devils in skirts, as Napoleon (I think!) said. The great plaid is one of the original multipurpose tools–as a designer, I approve.
    And I looooooove the pictures you found, even if realistically, no smart highlander is going to go around bare-chested all day. *G*

    Reply
  8. Woo, hoo, Susan, what a FINE way to start the day! THose devils in skirts, as Napoleon (I think!) said. The great plaid is one of the original multipurpose tools–as a designer, I approve.
    And I looooooove the pictures you found, even if realistically, no smart highlander is going to go around bare-chested all day. *G*

    Reply
  9. Woo, hoo, Susan, what a FINE way to start the day! THose devils in skirts, as Napoleon (I think!) said. The great plaid is one of the original multipurpose tools–as a designer, I approve.
    And I looooooove the pictures you found, even if realistically, no smart highlander is going to go around bare-chested all day. *G*

    Reply
  10. Woo, hoo, Susan, what a FINE way to start the day! THose devils in skirts, as Napoleon (I think!) said. The great plaid is one of the original multipurpose tools–as a designer, I approve.
    And I looooooove the pictures you found, even if realistically, no smart highlander is going to go around bare-chested all day. *G*

    Reply
  11. Shannon, thanks – it’s possible to carry a short sword strapped to the back, but the claymore, the long sword that many Scots warriors carried, was simply too long for that. I imagine that the leather strap holding the sheath at the back would go on last, over the bulk of the plaid, for a shorter or broadsword. A lot to tote around!
    Vegetable dyes aren’t stable unless they are fixed, and Highland women, like women in other cultures, fixed the dyes – usually with urine. Even then the tartans would probably have faded in the sun and weather over years. There are ancient tartan patterns that have more muted colors, and that may reflect veggie dyes and weathering more accurately.

    Reply
  12. Shannon, thanks – it’s possible to carry a short sword strapped to the back, but the claymore, the long sword that many Scots warriors carried, was simply too long for that. I imagine that the leather strap holding the sheath at the back would go on last, over the bulk of the plaid, for a shorter or broadsword. A lot to tote around!
    Vegetable dyes aren’t stable unless they are fixed, and Highland women, like women in other cultures, fixed the dyes – usually with urine. Even then the tartans would probably have faded in the sun and weather over years. There are ancient tartan patterns that have more muted colors, and that may reflect veggie dyes and weathering more accurately.

    Reply
  13. Shannon, thanks – it’s possible to carry a short sword strapped to the back, but the claymore, the long sword that many Scots warriors carried, was simply too long for that. I imagine that the leather strap holding the sheath at the back would go on last, over the bulk of the plaid, for a shorter or broadsword. A lot to tote around!
    Vegetable dyes aren’t stable unless they are fixed, and Highland women, like women in other cultures, fixed the dyes – usually with urine. Even then the tartans would probably have faded in the sun and weather over years. There are ancient tartan patterns that have more muted colors, and that may reflect veggie dyes and weathering more accurately.

    Reply
  14. Shannon, thanks – it’s possible to carry a short sword strapped to the back, but the claymore, the long sword that many Scots warriors carried, was simply too long for that. I imagine that the leather strap holding the sheath at the back would go on last, over the bulk of the plaid, for a shorter or broadsword. A lot to tote around!
    Vegetable dyes aren’t stable unless they are fixed, and Highland women, like women in other cultures, fixed the dyes – usually with urine. Even then the tartans would probably have faded in the sun and weather over years. There are ancient tartan patterns that have more muted colors, and that may reflect veggie dyes and weathering more accurately.

    Reply
  15. Shannon, thanks – it’s possible to carry a short sword strapped to the back, but the claymore, the long sword that many Scots warriors carried, was simply too long for that. I imagine that the leather strap holding the sheath at the back would go on last, over the bulk of the plaid, for a shorter or broadsword. A lot to tote around!
    Vegetable dyes aren’t stable unless they are fixed, and Highland women, like women in other cultures, fixed the dyes – usually with urine. Even then the tartans would probably have faded in the sun and weather over years. There are ancient tartan patterns that have more muted colors, and that may reflect veggie dyes and weathering more accurately.

    Reply
  16. Devils in skirts or ladies from hell, as the Black Watch were called by European troops! And yes, it’s a fair bet the bare-chested Highlander is mostly a fantasy within the art depts. of major publishers. 😉
    Although in some battles, the Scots were known to take off their shirts – and plaids – and fight in the bare buff. One famous instance of this was at Blar-na-Leine, when the Frasers met the MacDonalds on a hot summer day in the 16th century. I based a novel on it (Raven’s Wish) – but carefully avoided describing the crazed nekkid Highlanders! Not sexy, somehow . . .

    Reply
  17. Devils in skirts or ladies from hell, as the Black Watch were called by European troops! And yes, it’s a fair bet the bare-chested Highlander is mostly a fantasy within the art depts. of major publishers. 😉
    Although in some battles, the Scots were known to take off their shirts – and plaids – and fight in the bare buff. One famous instance of this was at Blar-na-Leine, when the Frasers met the MacDonalds on a hot summer day in the 16th century. I based a novel on it (Raven’s Wish) – but carefully avoided describing the crazed nekkid Highlanders! Not sexy, somehow . . .

    Reply
  18. Devils in skirts or ladies from hell, as the Black Watch were called by European troops! And yes, it’s a fair bet the bare-chested Highlander is mostly a fantasy within the art depts. of major publishers. 😉
    Although in some battles, the Scots were known to take off their shirts – and plaids – and fight in the bare buff. One famous instance of this was at Blar-na-Leine, when the Frasers met the MacDonalds on a hot summer day in the 16th century. I based a novel on it (Raven’s Wish) – but carefully avoided describing the crazed nekkid Highlanders! Not sexy, somehow . . .

    Reply
  19. Devils in skirts or ladies from hell, as the Black Watch were called by European troops! And yes, it’s a fair bet the bare-chested Highlander is mostly a fantasy within the art depts. of major publishers. 😉
    Although in some battles, the Scots were known to take off their shirts – and plaids – and fight in the bare buff. One famous instance of this was at Blar-na-Leine, when the Frasers met the MacDonalds on a hot summer day in the 16th century. I based a novel on it (Raven’s Wish) – but carefully avoided describing the crazed nekkid Highlanders! Not sexy, somehow . . .

    Reply
  20. Devils in skirts or ladies from hell, as the Black Watch were called by European troops! And yes, it’s a fair bet the bare-chested Highlander is mostly a fantasy within the art depts. of major publishers. 😉
    Although in some battles, the Scots were known to take off their shirts – and plaids – and fight in the bare buff. One famous instance of this was at Blar-na-Leine, when the Frasers met the MacDonalds on a hot summer day in the 16th century. I based a novel on it (Raven’s Wish) – but carefully avoided describing the crazed nekkid Highlanders! Not sexy, somehow . . .

    Reply
  21. I prefer men with their shirts on. I like the look of real men in kilts but dislike most covers featuring them and usually avoid those books- a time when I do judge a book by its cover.
    Weren’t the plaid wearers mostly men in the highlands? It still seems odd to me that men who lived in a cold climate with brambles and thickets around as well as other rough vegetation should wear a garment that eaves so much bare. I wuld have thought they would have been the ones to wear multiple layers of clothes and cover themselves from neck to toes

    Reply
  22. I prefer men with their shirts on. I like the look of real men in kilts but dislike most covers featuring them and usually avoid those books- a time when I do judge a book by its cover.
    Weren’t the plaid wearers mostly men in the highlands? It still seems odd to me that men who lived in a cold climate with brambles and thickets around as well as other rough vegetation should wear a garment that eaves so much bare. I wuld have thought they would have been the ones to wear multiple layers of clothes and cover themselves from neck to toes

    Reply
  23. I prefer men with their shirts on. I like the look of real men in kilts but dislike most covers featuring them and usually avoid those books- a time when I do judge a book by its cover.
    Weren’t the plaid wearers mostly men in the highlands? It still seems odd to me that men who lived in a cold climate with brambles and thickets around as well as other rough vegetation should wear a garment that eaves so much bare. I wuld have thought they would have been the ones to wear multiple layers of clothes and cover themselves from neck to toes

    Reply
  24. I prefer men with their shirts on. I like the look of real men in kilts but dislike most covers featuring them and usually avoid those books- a time when I do judge a book by its cover.
    Weren’t the plaid wearers mostly men in the highlands? It still seems odd to me that men who lived in a cold climate with brambles and thickets around as well as other rough vegetation should wear a garment that eaves so much bare. I wuld have thought they would have been the ones to wear multiple layers of clothes and cover themselves from neck to toes

    Reply
  25. I prefer men with their shirts on. I like the look of real men in kilts but dislike most covers featuring them and usually avoid those books- a time when I do judge a book by its cover.
    Weren’t the plaid wearers mostly men in the highlands? It still seems odd to me that men who lived in a cold climate with brambles and thickets around as well as other rough vegetation should wear a garment that eaves so much bare. I wuld have thought they would have been the ones to wear multiple layers of clothes and cover themselves from neck to toes

    Reply
  26. I think there are times when it’s important to go with your gut on certain things. After all, you don’t know how you know something, just that it’s true. Tweeted and shared on FB.

    Reply
  27. I think there are times when it’s important to go with your gut on certain things. After all, you don’t know how you know something, just that it’s true. Tweeted and shared on FB.

    Reply
  28. I think there are times when it’s important to go with your gut on certain things. After all, you don’t know how you know something, just that it’s true. Tweeted and shared on FB.

    Reply
  29. I think there are times when it’s important to go with your gut on certain things. After all, you don’t know how you know something, just that it’s true. Tweeted and shared on FB.

    Reply
  30. I think there are times when it’s important to go with your gut on certain things. After all, you don’t know how you know something, just that it’s true. Tweeted and shared on FB.

    Reply
  31. I have Scottish ancestors, and I like both the kilt and the longer plaids. Personally, I think both kilts and the plaids evolved for Scots because they are such independent people. Thank you for all the information and Ingrid, thanks for the questions.

    Reply
  32. I have Scottish ancestors, and I like both the kilt and the longer plaids. Personally, I think both kilts and the plaids evolved for Scots because they are such independent people. Thank you for all the information and Ingrid, thanks for the questions.

    Reply
  33. I have Scottish ancestors, and I like both the kilt and the longer plaids. Personally, I think both kilts and the plaids evolved for Scots because they are such independent people. Thank you for all the information and Ingrid, thanks for the questions.

    Reply
  34. I have Scottish ancestors, and I like both the kilt and the longer plaids. Personally, I think both kilts and the plaids evolved for Scots because they are such independent people. Thank you for all the information and Ingrid, thanks for the questions.

    Reply
  35. I have Scottish ancestors, and I like both the kilt and the longer plaids. Personally, I think both kilts and the plaids evolved for Scots because they are such independent people. Thank you for all the information and Ingrid, thanks for the questions.

    Reply
  36. Honestly, I’ll take a Scottish hunk in any kind of plaid or kilt! To me, a kilt actually makes a man look more masculine. And, yes, I know the kilted but shirtless covers are probably historically inaccurate, but I sure do love them! That’s what got me to pick up my first Susan King book after all (and same goes for other authors as well). And I still say those Highlanders were tough enough to get by in kilts/plaids that left them somewhat exposed.

    Reply
  37. Honestly, I’ll take a Scottish hunk in any kind of plaid or kilt! To me, a kilt actually makes a man look more masculine. And, yes, I know the kilted but shirtless covers are probably historically inaccurate, but I sure do love them! That’s what got me to pick up my first Susan King book after all (and same goes for other authors as well). And I still say those Highlanders were tough enough to get by in kilts/plaids that left them somewhat exposed.

    Reply
  38. Honestly, I’ll take a Scottish hunk in any kind of plaid or kilt! To me, a kilt actually makes a man look more masculine. And, yes, I know the kilted but shirtless covers are probably historically inaccurate, but I sure do love them! That’s what got me to pick up my first Susan King book after all (and same goes for other authors as well). And I still say those Highlanders were tough enough to get by in kilts/plaids that left them somewhat exposed.

    Reply
  39. Honestly, I’ll take a Scottish hunk in any kind of plaid or kilt! To me, a kilt actually makes a man look more masculine. And, yes, I know the kilted but shirtless covers are probably historically inaccurate, but I sure do love them! That’s what got me to pick up my first Susan King book after all (and same goes for other authors as well). And I still say those Highlanders were tough enough to get by in kilts/plaids that left them somewhat exposed.

    Reply
  40. Honestly, I’ll take a Scottish hunk in any kind of plaid or kilt! To me, a kilt actually makes a man look more masculine. And, yes, I know the kilted but shirtless covers are probably historically inaccurate, but I sure do love them! That’s what got me to pick up my first Susan King book after all (and same goes for other authors as well). And I still say those Highlanders were tough enough to get by in kilts/plaids that left them somewhat exposed.

    Reply
  41. The wrapped plaids provided plenty of protection from the elements and brambles, gorse, etc. because of the draped and layered wool – and the men also wore shirts, vests, sometimes leather hauberks (early on) as well as stockings or wrappings on the legs and boots or shoes. And the skirting gave them a lot of freedom of movement. So they were probably very comfortable!
    The covers are indeed misleading, no doubt about it. 😉

    Reply
  42. The wrapped plaids provided plenty of protection from the elements and brambles, gorse, etc. because of the draped and layered wool – and the men also wore shirts, vests, sometimes leather hauberks (early on) as well as stockings or wrappings on the legs and boots or shoes. And the skirting gave them a lot of freedom of movement. So they were probably very comfortable!
    The covers are indeed misleading, no doubt about it. 😉

    Reply
  43. The wrapped plaids provided plenty of protection from the elements and brambles, gorse, etc. because of the draped and layered wool – and the men also wore shirts, vests, sometimes leather hauberks (early on) as well as stockings or wrappings on the legs and boots or shoes. And the skirting gave them a lot of freedom of movement. So they were probably very comfortable!
    The covers are indeed misleading, no doubt about it. 😉

    Reply
  44. The wrapped plaids provided plenty of protection from the elements and brambles, gorse, etc. because of the draped and layered wool – and the men also wore shirts, vests, sometimes leather hauberks (early on) as well as stockings or wrappings on the legs and boots or shoes. And the skirting gave them a lot of freedom of movement. So they were probably very comfortable!
    The covers are indeed misleading, no doubt about it. 😉

    Reply
  45. The wrapped plaids provided plenty of protection from the elements and brambles, gorse, etc. because of the draped and layered wool – and the men also wore shirts, vests, sometimes leather hauberks (early on) as well as stockings or wrappings on the legs and boots or shoes. And the skirting gave them a lot of freedom of movement. So they were probably very comfortable!
    The covers are indeed misleading, no doubt about it. 😉

    Reply
  46. Thanks for reading the books, Karen, much appreciated. I totally agree – there’s nothing so masculine as a guy in a plaid skirt. Definitely agree that they were tough enough to carry off the look quite well. 🙂

    Reply
  47. Thanks for reading the books, Karen, much appreciated. I totally agree – there’s nothing so masculine as a guy in a plaid skirt. Definitely agree that they were tough enough to carry off the look quite well. 🙂

    Reply
  48. Thanks for reading the books, Karen, much appreciated. I totally agree – there’s nothing so masculine as a guy in a plaid skirt. Definitely agree that they were tough enough to carry off the look quite well. 🙂

    Reply
  49. Thanks for reading the books, Karen, much appreciated. I totally agree – there’s nothing so masculine as a guy in a plaid skirt. Definitely agree that they were tough enough to carry off the look quite well. 🙂

    Reply
  50. Thanks for reading the books, Karen, much appreciated. I totally agree – there’s nothing so masculine as a guy in a plaid skirt. Definitely agree that they were tough enough to carry off the look quite well. 🙂

    Reply
  51. Thank you, Susan. Completely fascinating. I admit I thought the kilt got a major boost from the Jacobites and hadn’t thought much about its origins. The smart black velvet jacket that men wear with a dress kilt on formal occasions – not to mention the lovely foamy lacy cravat — is actually called a Prince Chairlie.
    When I used to go to reels regularly, I couldn’t help thinking that the way the kilt swings must have been a great help in repelling the Highland Midge, the curse of the summer hills. Going shirtless would be hell.
    The swing of the kilt may also be the reason why Scotsmen are so much less self-conscious about dancing than other Brits. The 51st Highlanders, taken prisoner after Dunkirk, even created a symbolic reel in POW camp. It is one of the most popular dances today. I must say, I like a man who take his dancing seriously. Definitely hero material.

    Reply
  52. Thank you, Susan. Completely fascinating. I admit I thought the kilt got a major boost from the Jacobites and hadn’t thought much about its origins. The smart black velvet jacket that men wear with a dress kilt on formal occasions – not to mention the lovely foamy lacy cravat — is actually called a Prince Chairlie.
    When I used to go to reels regularly, I couldn’t help thinking that the way the kilt swings must have been a great help in repelling the Highland Midge, the curse of the summer hills. Going shirtless would be hell.
    The swing of the kilt may also be the reason why Scotsmen are so much less self-conscious about dancing than other Brits. The 51st Highlanders, taken prisoner after Dunkirk, even created a symbolic reel in POW camp. It is one of the most popular dances today. I must say, I like a man who take his dancing seriously. Definitely hero material.

    Reply
  53. Thank you, Susan. Completely fascinating. I admit I thought the kilt got a major boost from the Jacobites and hadn’t thought much about its origins. The smart black velvet jacket that men wear with a dress kilt on formal occasions – not to mention the lovely foamy lacy cravat — is actually called a Prince Chairlie.
    When I used to go to reels regularly, I couldn’t help thinking that the way the kilt swings must have been a great help in repelling the Highland Midge, the curse of the summer hills. Going shirtless would be hell.
    The swing of the kilt may also be the reason why Scotsmen are so much less self-conscious about dancing than other Brits. The 51st Highlanders, taken prisoner after Dunkirk, even created a symbolic reel in POW camp. It is one of the most popular dances today. I must say, I like a man who take his dancing seriously. Definitely hero material.

    Reply
  54. Thank you, Susan. Completely fascinating. I admit I thought the kilt got a major boost from the Jacobites and hadn’t thought much about its origins. The smart black velvet jacket that men wear with a dress kilt on formal occasions – not to mention the lovely foamy lacy cravat — is actually called a Prince Chairlie.
    When I used to go to reels regularly, I couldn’t help thinking that the way the kilt swings must have been a great help in repelling the Highland Midge, the curse of the summer hills. Going shirtless would be hell.
    The swing of the kilt may also be the reason why Scotsmen are so much less self-conscious about dancing than other Brits. The 51st Highlanders, taken prisoner after Dunkirk, even created a symbolic reel in POW camp. It is one of the most popular dances today. I must say, I like a man who take his dancing seriously. Definitely hero material.

    Reply
  55. Thank you, Susan. Completely fascinating. I admit I thought the kilt got a major boost from the Jacobites and hadn’t thought much about its origins. The smart black velvet jacket that men wear with a dress kilt on formal occasions – not to mention the lovely foamy lacy cravat — is actually called a Prince Chairlie.
    When I used to go to reels regularly, I couldn’t help thinking that the way the kilt swings must have been a great help in repelling the Highland Midge, the curse of the summer hills. Going shirtless would be hell.
    The swing of the kilt may also be the reason why Scotsmen are so much less self-conscious about dancing than other Brits. The 51st Highlanders, taken prisoner after Dunkirk, even created a symbolic reel in POW camp. It is one of the most popular dances today. I must say, I like a man who take his dancing seriously. Definitely hero material.

    Reply

Leave a Comment