Did you Know...?
... The kilt isn't the only Scottish item in the
traditional Scottish national attire? The ladies used
to wear an Arisaid over an under dress, the men a
leine and a Feileadh Mor (great kilt or belted plaid.)
Check back later, because we will be adding MORE fun facts!
Morris Gordon and Aaron Todd show off formal Highland attire for
a civilian and a military piper.

Ginny Gordan (left) is wearing a traditional arisaid over a skirt and
blouse. An arisaid is a plaid in silk or fine wool (and in the south
USA sometimes cotton) belted around the waist and then either
up over the shoulder or over the head as a veil.

Today you will find women wearing kilted skirts in tartan, pleated
or gathered skirts in tartan, plain dresses with a tartan scarf or
shawl, and even sometimes the kilt itself!

Highland dancers will wear either the kilt and waistcoat, or the
Aboyne Dress. (Right Aaron Todd pipes the dancers on stage.
Left below an example of the Aboyne Dress in Gordon Modern
tartan.) The Aboyne Dress was developed by the Aboyne Highland
Games, which is the annual Gordon Gathering,  to give the
dancers an updated shorter version of the arisaid. It is a full
gathered tartan skirt 4.5 yards around the hem, worn over a full
white petticoat. It is worn with a chemise style blouse with full
elbow sleeves tied with tartan ribbons. Over the blouse is worn a  
tight- fitting sleeveless corsage (vest), flagged round the base,
sloping well to the front and coming well down below the waist. A
plaid is 40 x 60 inches and here is the fun part! According to the
Aboyne Games Committee is worn such:

    The plaid is fringed on one of the forty-inch edges; on the
    other are sewn loops or keepers, through which is passed
    a belt of similar material, an inch wide, by which the plaid
    is fastened to the waist under the corsage. The right hand
    corner of the fringed edge is then brought up behind and
    brooched to the wearer's right shoulder so that the fringed
    edge hangs down vertically and the plaid itself hangs
    diagonally across the back. The corners of the lower edge
    should be brought round the waist as far to the front as

Kilts can be pleated to the stripe or to the sett. The military kilts are
pleated to the stripe meaning that the pleats across the back
match to the vertical lines in the tartan pattern and you see a
series of stripes.  Pleating to the sett means that the pattern of the
tartan is matched across the back when pleated so that you see
the entire pattern across the back. On the right you can see an
example of pleated to the stripe and pleated to the sett

You can find people wearing many different types of outfits at the
highland games from more formal attire including military
uniforms and kilts with jackets to the very casual jeans and clan
tee-shirt, to the historical representations, to the fantasy outfits. It
is all an expression of our pride in our genealogical, cultural, and
artistic heritage.
  • Bonnet -- this is a Glengarry,
    and usually in the USA we
    call it a cap!
  • Cap Badge -- the Chief's
    crest belted to indicate you
    are a Gordon Clansman.
  • Dress shirt and black or
    tartan bow tie
  • Waistcoat-- in America it is
    called a vest!
  • Kilt Jacket -- this is a formal
    Prince Charlie style jacket.
  • Sporran-- it is a Scottish
    pocket! (sort of)
  • Kilt -- this kilt is in Gordon
    Modern tartan.
  • Kilt Belt -- you can just see
    the buckle under the jacket,
    but it is 1.5 to 2 inches wide!
  • Kilt Pin -- well you can see it
    is a pin on the kilt!
  • Kilt Hose -- in a color that
    coordinates with the tartan of
    your kilt.
  • Flashes -- to help hold up
    the kilt hose!
  • Sgiah Dubh-- small black
    knife worn in the kilt hose.
  • Ghillie Brogues -- shoes!
  • Bonnet -- this is a Glengarry,
    the red pompom is called a
    toorie. Pipers wear a plain
    bonnet and  the rest of the
    regiment wear diced bonnet
    like Mac! Diced means the
    checker pattern trim on the
  • Cap Badge -- this one is a
    Gordon Highlander's cap
  • No 1 Dress Doublet -- this is
    a Gordon Highlander's
    Piper's No. 1 Dress Uniform
    Kilt Jacket called a Doublet
  • Kilt Belt
  • Cross Belt
  • Collar Dogs-Gordons wear
    tigers for their service in
  • Dirk -- a short sword.
  • Plaid -- sometimes called a
    fly plaid (plaid sounds like
  • Plaid Broach or Pin --keeps
    the plaid in place.
  • Sporran-- only the pipers
    wear this particular style
    cantle and bells on their
    sporran in the Gordon
    Highlanders! This sporran is
    made of horse hair.
  • Kilt -- the Gordon Regimental
    Kilt is VERY heavy!
  • Kilt Pin
  • Kilt Hose -- red & white diced
  • Flashes -- red belled flashes!
  • Sgiah Dubh-- small black
    knife worn in the kilt hose.
  • Ghillie Brogues -- shoes!
  • Spats -- white with black
    buttons-- Only the Gordon
    Highlanders wore black
  • Bagpipes -- of course!
Morris Gordon & Aaron Todd in formal Highland Dress
Did you know that the Feileadh Mor or Great
Kilt was used as a blanket as well as a
garment! And did you know that examples of
real great kilts from before the banning of the
kilt after the 1745 Rebellion have belt loops
on the INSIDE of the kilt? Yes! The inside.
That way a rope or soft cloth belt could be
threaded through the loops set at the
distance the pleats were to be. The material
was quickly gathered to the correct pleat and
tied on at the waist! None of this spreading
out material and gathering and laying down
on it and on and on! Who had time or room
for that! Especially if you were in the regiment
wrapped up in your kilt for the night and you
had to get dressed quickly because your unit
was under attack! Kilts worn today are called
the feileadh beg or small kilt.

Read more about the Great Kilt!
Jacobite Shirts are very popular today!
A good example of a Great Kilt is this painting of Sir William Gordon of Fyvie (above left) painted by Batoni in 1766. Sir
William is in full military attire in Red Gordon Tartan spledor! The portrait still hangs at Fyvie Castle.

For everyday men wore a leine under the kilt. The leine is a long saffron (yellow) shirt. Sometimes they were off white
or white too! The leine did not lace up the front, some had a plain neck opening, and some had a drawstring
opening.Today you will see men in something similar called a Jacobite shirt which does lace up the front (above right)
and they come in many colors.
Aaron Todd leads the Thistle & Shamrock Dancers on stage! See the Aboyne Dress the girls are wearing!
Site Design, Layout and Original Graphics © Copyright Lois M Todd House of Gordon, Virginia 2004, All Rights Reserved
Original photos © Copyright Lois M Todd, All rights reserved.
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Kid's Corner Fun Facts!
The Marquis of Huntly opens the Aboyne Highland Games
The Aboyne Highland Games is the annual Gordon Gathering (note the Gordon Banner!)
The tall black hats on the two drum majors (left hand side of photo) are feather bonnets.