QUOTES CONCERNING SCOTTISH MEN'S ATTIRE
The Wild Scots' Are clothed after the
Irish fashion, in striped mantles, with their hair long
-1607, Camden, in his Britannia.
Lady Montgomery, wife of Sir Hugh Montgomery, 'set up and
and woollen manufactory (in Ulster), which soon brought
down the prices of the breakens (tartans) and narrow cloths
of both sorts.' The beginning of such (manu-)factories might
be part of the reason woollens were replacing the linen
shirts, brats and animal skins around the turn of the century.
It appears that the desire for uniformity
in the colours of tartan used by a clan was beginning in
the early 1600's: "remove the red and white lines from
the plaides of his men so as to bring their dress into harmony
with that of other septs.
-1618, Letter from Sir Rbt. Gordon of Gordonstoun to Murray
"Many Highlanders were observed
in this town (Leith), in their plaids, many without doublets,
and those who have doublets have a kind of loose flap garment
about their breech, their knees bare. The inure themselves
to cold, hardship, and will not diswont themselves. Proper
personable well-completed men, and of able men: the very
gentlemen in their blue caps and plaids."
- 1635, Sir William Brereton.
The husbandmen in Scotland, the servants,
and almost all in the country did wear coarse cloth made
at home, of grey or sky-colour, and flat blue caps, very
broad. The merchants in cities were attired in English or
French cloth, of pale colour, or mingled black and blue.
The gentlemen did wear English cloth, or silk, or light
stuffs, little or nothing adorned with silk lace, much less
with lace of silver or gold, and all followed at this time
the French fashion, especially at court. -Englishman Fynes
Morison, visiting Scotland 1598 (Whalebone sleeves: sleeves
stretched on whalebone hoops. Falling bands: A deep linen
collar, turned down.)
CONTEMPORARY QUOTES CONCERNING SCOTTISH WOMEN'S ATTIRE
Women's Highland Dress
"The dress of the women among
them is most becoming, for over a gown reaching the feet,
and very richly adorned by the Phrygian art (embroidery),
they wear very full cloaks, of several colours, such as
I have described - loose and flowing, yet gracefully drawn
into folds, as they will. With their arms tastefully adorned
with bracelets, and their throats with necklaces they have
great grace and beauty."
-Bishop Lesley, 1570's. The original is in Latin, and uses
the word tunica, for gown, which may suggest a straight-hanging
fullness of more Medieval style, in contrast to the more
Women's Fashions, Edinburgh
The original paragraph has been broken up by social class
to help make the descriptions distinct from each other.
"The women here wear and use upon
festival days six or seven several habits and fashions,
some for distinction of widows, wives and maids, others
apparelled according to their own humour and fantasy. Many
wear (especially the meaner sort) plaids, which is a garment
of the same woollen stuff whereof saddle cloths in England
are made (A close felt-like cloth the would keep out rain),
which is cast over their heads and covers their faces on
both sides, and would reach almost to the ground, but that
they pluck them up and wear them cast under their arms."
Some ancient women and citizens wear satin straight-bodied
gowns, short little cloaks with great capes, and a broad
bonegrace coming over their brows and going out with a corner
behind their heads: and this bonegrace is as it were lined
with a white starched cambric suitable thereto." (Bonegrace:
a silk, or cloth hood over a starched under-coif projecting
around the face like the headgear of some religious orders?)
"Young maids not married all are bare-headed, some
with broad thin shag ruffs, which lie flat to their shoulders,
and others with half bands, with wide necks, either much
stiffened or set with wire, which come only behind: and
these shag ruffs, some are more broad and thick than others."
- 1635, Sir William Brereton.
Bands with wide necks seem to be the
broad lawn collars on each side of a square décolletage,
as in the paintings of Van Dyck. These seem to have reached
Scotland sooner than England. Van Dyck's portrait of Mevrouw
Leerse shows this collar, with the tilted back cut separate,
and edged in lace. It
is shown with deep cuffs to match on a black satin dress.
His portrait of Marie-Louise de Tassis has another, with
the back part pleated. Later the stiffening went, and it
lay flat. The "shag ruff" is a puzzlement. According
to the Oxford Dictionary, shag was cloth of wool or silk,
with a velvet nap
similar to a modern velour. The true ruff was of linen,
perhaps with lace, and did not lie flat. The author may
be describing a pleated tippet, worn for warmth above the
low-cut dress of the day.
The original paragraph has been broken
up by social class to help make the descriptions distinct
from each other.
Gentlewomen married, did wear close
upper bodies, after the German manner, with large whalebone
sleeves, after the French manner, short cloaks like the
Germans, French hoods, and large soft falling bands about
their necks. The unmarried of all sorts did go bareheaded
and wear short cloaks with most
close linen sleeves upon their arms, like the virgins of
Germany. The inferior sort of citizen's wives and the women
of the country did wear cloaks made of coarse stuff, of
two or three colours of checker-work, vulgarly called ploddan.
To conclude, in general they would not at this time be attired
after the English fashion in any sort, but the men, especially
at court, followed the French fashion, and the women, both
in court and city, as well as in cloaks as naked heads and
close sleeves on the arms and all other garments follow
the fashion of the women of Germany.
-Englishman Fynes Morison, visiting Scotland 1598 (Whalebone
sleeves: sleeves stretched on whalebone hoops. Falling bands:
A deep linen collar, turned down.)
The Scottish Pageant 1513 - 1625. MacKenzie, Agnes Mure.
Oliver and Boyd:
Edinburgh & London, 1948.
The Scottish Pageant 1525 -
1707. MacKenzie, Agnes Mure. Oliver and Boyd:
Edinburgh & London, 1949.
A Short History of the Scottish Dress.Grange, R.M.D. Burke's
Limited: London, 1966.