Highland dress, as we know it today, can be worn by anyone, and is a popular alternative to the traditional suit or formal tailcoats for weddings or special events. This was not always the case though, as Highland dress originated as the traditional dress of men and boys in the Scottish Highlands in the 16th Century. The harsh weather, and the unforgiving landscape of the Scottish Highlands demanded clothing that would enable its occupant to move freely, keep warm, dry out quickly, and could double up as a blanket where necessary.
When it was first designed, the kilt was known as the Great Kilt, and consisted of a large oversized, full length woollen garment, the top half of which would be draped over the shoulder as a cloak, or over the head as a hood. As the 17th century approached, the kilt began to evolve into what we know today as the ‘small’ or ‘walking’ kilt; essentially it was the bottom half of the great kilt, and consisted of a flat fronted skirt with a pleated back that is known worldwide today as the Scottish National Dress. This ‘tailored’ kilt was adopted by the Highland regiments of the British Army and was regularly worn in battle up until the First World War, where they had a reputation as a formidable force; in particular the unit known as the Black Watch were dubbed the ‘ladies of hell’ by the Germans, due to their ferocious tactics.
At one time, the kilt was a symbol of its wearer’s wealth, but today is more famously representative of the clan or region of the person wearing it. For anyone of Scottish ancestry, the kilt is still worn with great pride, and the unique pattern and colour of the tartan, carefully designed, distinguishes between the different clans (families) or regions.
At Walters, we are proud to be suppliers of Highland Dress, available to hire for weddings and formal occasions or dinners. Due to the wide range of outfit combinations that we offer with over 20 different tartans, we invite you to have a consultation with us to discuss what best fits your requirements.
What does Highland Dress consist of?
Tweed Jackets – a popular favourite for weddings and dinners, as it combines modern with luxury and elegance. Available to hire in light grey, charcoal, navy.
Prince Charlie and / or Argyle Jacket – an elegantly cut wool jacket, with silver or dark buttons, satin lapels (on the Prince Charlie jacket), braided epaulettes and expertly crafted using 100% wool.
Meticulously crafted with 100% wool and elegantly cut, an essential addition to the outfit.
Ties / neckwear
We have a beautiful selection of ties for hire which will wonderfully compliment your choice of Highland dress.
We supply over 20 different tartan patterns, each with its own clan name.
Available in light grey, cream, charcoal, navy and black.
A pouch usually made from leather or skin, such as calfskin or deerskin, but in some instances also made from the head of certain animals, such as badger, otter or fox. It was designed to hold food, commonly oats or similar, to keep hunger at bay when on long journeys or when away.
Skean Dhu Knife
Worn tucked into the sock on the same side as the dominant hand with only the hilt of the knife showing, it was originally used for eating and preparing fruit, cutting bread and cheese etc, but also handy for cutting materials. It was also used for protection if needed.
‘Ghillie’ being derived from Gealic, referred to a man or boy who served as a hunting or fishing guide in the Scottish Highlands and were originally designed for the boggy terrain of Scotland. They are a tongueless shoe, often with ornamental perforations; a popular dress shoe, not to be confused with a brogue.
We look forward to having a consultation with you by phone or in store, to get you kitted out for whatever the occasion requires, with peace of mind that you will be combining luxury and elegance on that special day. Perhaps as you wear your Highland Dress you will consider the journey it has been on since its inception so many years ago!