The History of Leith

September 14, 2004

16th & 17th Century quotes concerning Scottish Men’s and Women’s Attire

-Illustrating the change from Scots wearing the “Irish dress” to the great-kilt, or belted plaid.

-Illustrating the change from Scots wearing the “Irish dress” to the great-kilt, or belted plaid.
Highlanders wearing “Dyed shirts” and a “light wrap of wool of different colours.” – Jean de Beaugue’, 1540’s.

“Several wild Scots followed them (the Scottish Army) and they were naked except for stained shirts, and a certain light covering made of various colours”.-Monsieur Jean de Beayque, 1549.

“Their clothing was made for use (being chiefly suited for war) and not for ornament. All, both nobles and common people, wore mantles of one sort (excert that the nobles preferred those of several colours). These were long and flowing, but capable of being neatly gathered up at pleasure into folds. I am inclined to believe that they were the same as this to which the ancients gave the name of brachae. Wrapped up in these for their only covering, they would sleep comfortably.

They had also shaggy rugs, such as the Irish use at the present day, some fitted for a journey, others to be placed on a bed. The rest of their garments consisted of a short wollen jacket, with sleeves open below for the convenience of throwing darts, and a covering for the thighs of the simplest kind, more for decency than for show, or defence against cold.They also made of linen very full tunics with many folds and wide sleeves, flowing loose to their knees. The wealthy dyed these with saffron, and others oiled them, to keep them longer clean among the exertion and exercise of a camp… In making these, grace and ornament were not lacking, and the different pieces were seemed together with silk, commonly green, or red.”-Bishop Lesley, 1578

“The Scots today do not differ in manners and customs from the Irish, from whom they originated, as we have said above: for when the sky is clear one can see Ireland from Scotland. Further, their language, their customs and their dress are alike. . . They are dressed in such a manner and in such shirts dyed with saffron as the Irish and go with bare legs to the knee.” -1575, Sebastian Munster, Cosmographia.

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