What the heck is that Scottish thing?!?

A few of you Hive members have been asking for a breakdown of all the different pieces and accoutrement of the Scottish kilt, and I’m here now to present my limited knowledge on the subject based on, well, Google and not much more.  Mr. Sword is new to the world of kilts (although he can pronounce all of the different pieces perfectly), and I’m new to any place outside of the Midwest (and I can pronounce accoutrement).  Clearly, that makes me an expert.

If you’d like a quick reminder of Mr. Sword’s awesome wedding garb, check this out! Otherwise, here are all the different parts of traditional Highland dress, listed in the order of how you should put them on:

1. Shirt.  It should be plain, white, and as simple as possible.  Either button or cuff-link sleeves will do, but nothing too fancy.  It is usually worn with a simple black bow-tie.

2. Kilt Hose and Flashes.  These are the long socks that come up to just under the man’s knee, and the short strips of fabric that are hanging from the garter.  The hose are folded over once right before the knee and the flashes are usually made of the same fabric as the kilt or at least something complimentary.  I guess it’s uncommon to wear white kilt hose, but cream (which is what Mr. Sword’s are although the color is labeled as arran) is perfectly acceptable.

3. Sgian Dhubh (which sounds like “skiii in dooo” when Mr. Sword says it).  This is the small knife that is usually worn on the right leg.  It means “black knife” and is purposely concealed in the kilt hose so that it is accessible in case one needs to defend themselves from an attacker.  In recent years, it has proven difficult for men to travel overseas with their sgian dhubh’s because of weapon laws.

image via Wikipedia

4. Brogues.  The low-heeled shoe or boot is the next piece to put on while getting dressed.  Any formal style shoe will do and most are complimented by the popular ghillie brogues or long laces that tie around the ankle.  Mr. Sword WILL be wearing the laces on our wedding day but has yet to try them out at this point.

5.  Kilt.  This is the meat of the outfit, and while some may call it a skirt, it’s actually a very masculine (and sexy) article of clothing.  It is secured at the waist with straps and buckles and usually has pleating at the back.  It should fall right to the knee and expose the knee slightly.

6. Sporran Strap and Sporran.  The sporran strap is put through the loops on the back of the kilt and the sporran attaches to the chain rings at the front.  Sporran is Gaelic for “purse” so obviously you’d expect to find some cash, chap stick, mints, a brush, and at least one tampon!  Not likely.  All jokes aside, I’m quite curious what Mr. Sword will put in his sporran on the day of the wedding!

7. Vest and Coatee.  The vest is usually pretty standard, but the jacket or coatee can be one of many different styles.  Prince Charlie and Argyll are the most common, but there are also Tweed jackets, doublets, and other more causal looks that don’t require a coatee at all!  Mr. Sword will be sporting the Argyll jacket.

Finally, the BIG question!  The one that gets asked very frequently and never ceases to make people giggle.  DO THE SCOTS REALLY GO WITHOUT UNDERWEAR WHILE WEARING A KILT?!?!  Yes, in fact, they do go commando.  Apparently, you’re not a real Scot unless you do.  So far Mr. Sword is saying he’ll be going fully Scottish on the day of the wedding, leaving his boxers at home, but I have my doubts that he’ll go through with it since they’ll be a lot of dancing and drinking at the wedding.  But who knows?  He might surprise me.  I guess you’ll find out in the recaps!  You know I won’t keep that nugget a secret.  🙂

Special thanks to Wikipedia and Scottish Tartans Authority for their helpful information!  I’m sure I’ve missed something along the way, and it’s likely that there might be conflicting info on the web, but I hope you’ve learned a little something! I know I did.

Who else is embracing another culture because of their future spouse?  Do you like learning about it as much as I do?  Anyone else think Mr. Sword is going to take just as long as me to get ready on the BIG DAY?  🙂

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