The Historical Importance of Traditional Scottish Clothing
Clothing has played an important part in Scottish history. In 1746 the act of proscription sought to assimilate the Scottish highlands and eradicate any sense of national identity. One of the things it enforced was the dissimulation of the clan system.
Back then the kilt was the single most important indicator of clan kinsmanship. As a result, the authorities were quick to pass a national ban on wearing kilts.
Such was the Scots tenacity and valor that the act only lasted 40 years before it was swiftly abolished. The historical implications of the Act of proscription meant that afterwards, traditional Scottish clothing came to represent so much more than just the highland way of life. Instead, it came to be known as the national dress of Scotland and symbolised a whole nation's identity and national pride.
It's Not all about the Kilt
Traditional Scottish clothing includes much more than just the kilt. It's important to remember that the root of traditional Scottish clothing isn't all about symbolism. Its origins are wholly practical and this is still reflected in the standard accessories that most Scotsmen wear.
Whilst some forms of dress have evolved to tie in with more recent trends and fashions, many still reflect the harsh life that the highlanders had to endure. One of the clearest examples of this are "ghillie brogues". They are thick soled, black shoes which include several distinguishable features that set them apart from traditional brogue shoes.
Ghillie brogues have long laces which pass through the shoe and then continue round the ankle. This was a traditional design which served to combat the weather and prevent the shoe from falling off when walking through mud in the highlands. The ghillie brogue is also made without a tongue. This increases air flow into the shoe, enabling the shoe and foot to dry more quickly.
There is also a female version of the ghillie-brogue, which is much lighter and designed more for the purposes of dancing and indoor use. This is in contrast to the outdoor use more traditionally associated with the male version of the shoe.
It would be naive to think that the global popularity of traditional Scottish clothing is purely down to its aesthetic appeal. It is popular because in each different pattern and accessory there is a different story to be told. It is clothing with great meaning and purpose and for this reason its popularity is only likely to grow.