Prince Charlie Coatee And Vest This is one of the most formal jackets in the highland-wear armoury. It consists of a jacket and vest (waistcoat) which are usually made from Barathea, a woollen cloth. The jacket is most commonly black but there are several other colours now on the market including purple, blue, mulberry and green. The jacket is cut to just below the "natural waist" at the front and has a flap at the back which extends down to around the top of the buttocks. The vest is also made of Barathea and is often cut with a lapel instead of a straight edge.
The jacket and waistcoat are adorned with silver buttons with there being up to 20 buttons on the jacket and three on the vest. The jackets lapels are often made in a satin finish. There are various theories where this garment came from but there is no doubt that Bonnie Prince Charlie would never have worn one. It would be prudent to believe there was some military background to it.
Winged Collared Shirt With this formal wear it is traditional to wear a winged-collared shirt. Some people nowadays do wear an ordinary shirt but for the sake of looking better a winged collared shirt is better. Bow-Tie It is most common for a black bow-tie to be worn although it is becoming more common for the groom to wear a bow-tie made form the same tartan that his kilt is. Plaid There is sometimes a lot of confusion with this garment. The dictionary definitions give it as "fabric woven in a pattern or tartan design". It is very commonly used in North America as another word for tartan.
The definition of the garment is from the Gaelic word "plaide" meaning "blanket". This is the piece of cloth that you can see hanging over the left shoulder in the picture on the right. In my opinion this is a must as it sets the groom apart from the rest of the male wedding party. The plaid that you can see is called a fly plaid and generally hangs from around the chest area to just below the kilt. It is a piece of cloth that is generally around 12" x 55" (depending on kilt-maker).
You can wear larger plaid (like I did), for instance the pipers plaid (like I did) but this is not recommended personally on a hot July day !!! Plaid Brooch This is the metal (usually pewter) brooch that attaches the plaid to the jacket. They come in many shapes and sizes from the very simple to the very ornate with gems, sometimes actual Cairngorms, in the centre. Heather Button Hole The groom often wears a heather button hole which is usually placed just to the side of the plaid brooch. Kilt Belt & Buckle Traditionally when wearing the Prince Charlie jacket and vest there is no belt and buckle worn as they really can't be seen.
The jacket and vest come lower than the natural waist and therefore cover the belt which is worn at the natural waist. The natural waist is best described as a line through the belly button. In more modern times people are tending to wear a belt and buckle with the Prince Charlie. My personal opinion for this is so that the jacket and vest can be removed later in the proceedings after all the official ceremony is finished. Sporran This comes from the Gaelic word "sporran" meaning "purse". There are several types of sporran, dress, semi-dress and day/leather sporran.
In this case the groom would wear the most formal, that being dress. These are more widely varied than tartans themselves. They are made from an animal skin front (most commonly sealskin) which have ornamental tassels hanging from it. They have a metal top (cantle) designed to tie in with any belt worn. The sporran is hung around the natural waist by means of a metal chain and leather straps with the chain passing through the belt loops at the back of the kilt.
The Kilt Arguably the most important garment of them all. The kilt is traditionally made of about 8 yards of tartan cloth that why they are so expensive. When you consider that there is only about two yards that actually wrap around you then there is about 6 yards of the cloth that is used fro the pleating at the back. The kilt is worn around the "natural" waist. This is not where you would wear a pair of trousers (on top of the hips). This is around the belly button, about 2 to three inches higher up than normal trousers.
It is worn about ¼" below the top of the knee. A standard kilt from a good kilt-maker will have belt loops at the back, and come with three straps an buckles which are the means that it is put on. They also come in different weights of cloth. I would tend to choose the heavier ones as they are better wearing but for those in hotter climates the lighter weight may be better. There are many kilts on the market today with some kilts, commonly known a casual kilts, made from much less cloth.
These do not have the same amount or depth of pleats at the back so you do not get the "swing" that the traditional kilts get. There are many kilts that are now made in the Far East. I will keep my opinions to myself but the old adage stands firm. You get what you pay for beware!! Remember also the tartan you wear may show your allegiances!!!! Kilt Pin This is a small pin that is worn on the bottom right of the kilt.
It is usually worn about 2 to 3 inches in from the fringe and about 5 inches up from the bottom of the kilt. There are a huge amount of designs available but my personal favourite is the ones in the shape of a sword (claymore) which was derived from the Gaelic word meaning "great sword". These also have a clan crest on them.
Kilt Hose These are the long socks that are worn up to the bottom of the knee. They again come in many designs from plain to very ornate. They are generally made from wool so beware when washing although there are now kilt hose that are made from wool blends that do not shrink. Kilt Hose Flashes These are the garters that hold up the kilt hose and are worn below the turn up of the sock. They have a piece of cloth sewn on them which protrude out of the turn up on the sock.
This cloth can be of the same tartan as the kilt or they can be self coloured as long as they compliment the tartan of the kilt. Sgian Dubh The Scotmans' dirk. This comes from the Gaelic "black knife" and is worn in the right sock.
Again ornamentally they come in many many styles with jewelled tops, with stag antler handles and many more. Please check the law of the country that you are wearing it in. In Scotland the carrying of knives for no lawful purpose is illegal but gives an exemption for "ceremonial" knives. Ghillie Brogues These are the shoes with the long laces.
The laces are crossed once over the foot, intertwined three times in front of the leg and tied in a bow over the shin. Undergarments The answer to the age old question, "What's under a Scotsman's kilt?" Well I guess you'll have to ask the next Scotsman you see wearing a kilt !! Well that about does it for a highland formal wedding outfit. Don't hesitate to contact the author if there is anything that he could help with.
At any rate have a wonderful day at your ceremony!!!.
Scottish Kilts from The Tartan Box