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Women's Modern National Highland Dress

After about 1746, the English ruled Scotland and wanted to strip the Scots of their nationality by making ‘all things Scottish’, illegal. This included their dress, bagpipes, etc. When the English relaxed their rules in about 1780, the Scottish dress morphed to a different style for both men and women from the ancient. The men began wearing the little kilt or philabeg, which is a kilt as most wear today of sewn down pleats from waist to hip and from the hip to the knee, the pleats hang free and sways with the proud saunter of the man. The women’s wear became the modern style called the Highland National Dress. To wear this style, wear the GOWN (see same Gown Pattern)with puffed sleeve caps and knee length, a knee length skirt on a waist band (see the Highland National Wear Booklet for directions and history of the skirt and plaide), a separate plaide (tucked into the back of the skirt) and a dark velvet, laced VEST (see our Vest Pattern).

See also our HIGHLAND NATIONAL WEAR BOOKLET for more information as well as the slide show demonstration on the right.

Wear your modern tartan that you are affiliated with or one that anyone can wear such as a district tartan such as the Jacobite, Caledonian (Roman name for Scotland), your state tartan or if an American, the American Bicentennial tartan. Pick a lighter weight wool than for a man's kilt.

Other than changes in the GOWN pattern pertaining to the longer length for the ancient wear and the puffed sleeves of the modern dress, the two time periods of ancient and the national highland wear should never be mixed.


National Highland Dress
Women's Modern National Highland Dress


Women's Ancient Wear


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