Trews and Kilts: Very Scottish trousers

Scottish pipe band wearing tartan kilts
Get the Scottish look!

Scottish patriotism doesn’t get more passionate than Burns Supper, a national day which is held on the 25th of January each year out of respect tae Scotland’s greatest son, the late, great, Robert Burns.

With the smell of roasting Haggis in the air and tartan everywhere, we’re nodding our cap north by writing a special laddie’s clothing piece inspired by bonnie Scotland.

Tartan

Tartan material with wooden Scottish sign,
Image source: drizzd
Tartan and Scotland, intrinsically linked.

When it comes tae traditional and modern Scottish attire, it’s impossible to avoid tartan. Tartan is literally part of the social fabric of Scotland. And it’s used for all manner of clothing fae kilts and men’s trousers to bags, scarves and all kinds of novelty items. As well as being pleasing on the eye and adopted by trendy designers around the world like Jean Paul Gaultier, tartan is also representative of different clans.

In fact there is some pretty technical stitching going into those tartan designs (known as setts) and it is the setts that help differentiate between anything from clans and regions to schools, universities and corporations. Even today you can buy Scottish clothing by selecting either the type of tartan or the name of the clan. You see tartan isn’t just a pattern so don’t be surprised if you get the evil eyes by a big hairy fella in a kilt.

Kilts

Red and green scottish kilt
Image source: Alexandru Nika
The stereotypical Scottish look.

The kilt is one of the most recognisable garments in the world and has stirred all manner of stories and emotions over the years. Originally worn by men and boys from the Scottish Highlands as far back at the 16th century, the kilt is now recognised as being part of the wider culture of Scotland.

Usually made from woollen cloth with a tartan pattern, many have wondered what lies beneath the very stylish kilt. Though it would take a brave-hearted goon to ask a proud Scotsman the question.

Trews

Man wearing Trews playing golf
Image source: csottomayor
If you can’t face a kilt, try a pair of trews.

Trews are basically tartan mens trousers and have been around as long as the kilt. They were originally used as a substitute to kilts and worn when the Highland winters were especially cold. Trews are usually fitted to form and are not for the fainthearted, but on the golf course they remain incredibly popular and very cool.

Sporran

A kilt and Sporran
Image source: elifranssens
The very first manbag!

Long before recent generations discovered bumbags and manbags, the Scots sported a wee furry (or leather) friend known as the sporran. Inspired by the European Medieval belt pouch the sporran hangs via a leather belt or chain over the front of the kilt. Why? Well, guess whit, the traditional kilt doesn’t have pockets. Hello! Mobile phone and car keys!

Ghillies

Couple dancing wearing Ghillies
Image source: k4dordy
Perfect for a Burns supper jive!

The distinctive ghillie brogues are thick-soled shoes with no tongues and long laces that wrap around the wearer’s ankles. They deliberately have no tongues so the wearer’s feet can dry easily in the typical wet weather of Scotland, so perfect for getting aboot back in the day.

Sgian dubh

Sgian dubh
Image source: Charlie Rapple
Perhaps skip this one!

When visiting another Highlander’s house back in the day the etiquette was tae deposit all of your weapons outside the front door prior to entry (they were mean streets/fields back then).

However the sgian dubh or ‘black knife’ was usually concealed and taken into the house as a security measure. These days the sgian dubh forms part of traditional Highland dress and is tucked into the kilt hose or socks. Just one thing to say about that: #youcannaemesswithamanwearingakilt

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