November 14, 2019
This week I will be explaining the components of children’s Highland dress.
Highland babies wore a tiny tunic and bonnet, as shown below. In colder weather they would be wrapped in a wool blanket or their mother’s arisaids. When they began to walk, girls would wear a short dress and boys would wear the kilt or plaid.
Highland lassies generally wore dresses similar to their mothers. When they reached the age of fourteen or fifteen, they began to wear the stays (an early form of the corset) and an arisaid or tonnag, as explained in this blog post here. Their hair was bound in a snood, a long piece of ribbon which is passed under a girl’s hair at the back of her head, then tied in a bow on top or the other way round until they were married.
Highland laddies wore the kilt or the plaid from the time they could walk. There is an interesting protocol with wearing a kilt:
If the kilt is above the knee, you are a boy.
If the kilt is at the knee, you are a man.
If the kilt is below the knee, you are a liar.
The kilt would be immediately be made longer at a man’s coming of age, usually 17 in the ancient Highland tradition.
I wrote a detailed description of men’s highland dress in this blog post here.
I hope you have enjoyed this mini-series on Highland dress!
Arundel Castle, former home of Adeliza of Louvain, the fair maid of Brabant
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