A History of the Highland Kilt

Thursday 20th April, 2017 | Posted by Marchbrae

The Scottish Highland Outfit or Kilt Outfit is one of the most recognisable and striking. It can be worn formally with a jacket or casually with a shirt (or even with a rugby top). It is said that ‘a man in a kilt is a man and a half’.

Gents Argyll Outfit- Blackwatch

Traditionally the kilt was only worn in the Scottish Highlands and consisted of a length of thick woollen cloth which was untailored known as the Feileadh Mhor or belted plaid in English. The cloth would be pleated manually and held in place at the waist with a leather belt leaving the top to be worn either across the body and held in place with a brooch, wrapped around the body or over the head as a hooded cape. This allowed the garment to be versatile allowing freedom of movement and warmth. It also doubled as a blanket to sleep under when travelling.
The kilt as we know it today is an adaption of the traditional belted plaid and is said to have been designed by an Englishman around 1725. It is said Mr Rawlinson designed the Feileadh Beg- or little kilt in English to allow freedom of movement for the workers in his iron works in Lochaber.


Isle of Skye Kilt & Sporran


In 1747 following the defeat of Bonnie Prince Charlie the British government banned the wearing of kilts as well as the use of bagpipes with the intention of suppressing highland identity. During this ban, it was only military pipers who were permitted to wear kilts and only in their military tartan. The ban was lifted 35 years later in 1783 although it is said that Queen Victoria and her adoration of all things Scottish did lead to widening appeal of kilts and tartan.


MacGregor Kilt with Wallace Kilt Pin


We source our kilts from Glenisla Kilts who have been producing quality kilts for over 30years and in doing so established themselves as the leading kiltmaker in Scotland. They also hold the contract to supply all military kilts to the MOD. Our kilts are made from 100% pure wool and include the following unique features that showcase the quality. The 8yard kilt comes with a triple fringe edge finish (as seen above), 3 leather straps to adjust the size, 100% cotton lining for comfort and belt loops that line up with the tartan to allow the wearing of a belt or for the sporran chain. We pleat to the sett maintaining the pattern of the tartan around the kilt and use the knife pleat method.


Ghillie Outfit- Granite Kilt


A full range of kilts and accessories are available online and in store. For made to measure kilts in your choice of tartan visit our store in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town on the Royal Mile.



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