Sashes on Boys' Clothing: Shoulder Sashes

Figure 2.--Note the elaborate embroidery on the red shoulder sash worn by this boy participating in an Irish dance competition.

Waist sashes are the best known sashes, but there are also shoulder sashes, although we are not sure this is the best term. This is an item associated with modern Celtic clothing. HBC has noted few example of boys wearing shoulder sashes. One exception is kilt outfits. We have noted shoulder sashes are worn by boys wearing dressy Scottish and Irish kilts outfits. S These are generally associted with dancing costimes or pipe bands. ome Scouts wear sashes wear they have sewb their awards, rather than sewing them on their uniforms. The only other sash we has noted are those worn by princes in fancu military uniforms.

Scottish Kilts

The dress kilt is worn with a shoulder sash. The sash symbolizes the upper part of the kilt costume that was once worn by the Higland clasman. While not normally worn every day for school uniform and Scottish Scouts, it is worn for formal occasions, dancing competitions, and pipe bands. We also notice formal studio portraits with the boys wearing these sashes. Tartan Sashes are commonly worn draped across the front from left to right with a Sash Brooch pinned at the left shoulder. Some sources suggest girls wear the sashes over the right shoulder, but there is some disagreement about this. We are not sure how strong these conventions were in the 19th century. We see boys wearing the sashes less commonly in the 20th century, especially after World war I, even for dress occassions. And as far as we can tell there is no longer any well-observed convention. The sash is held in place by an ornamental pin. Therewere various types of pins. Presumably the shoulder sash plaid should match the kilt plaid, but this was not always the case.

Plaid Dresses

We note mothers adding shoulder sashes to boys' plaid dresses to give them a Scottish kilt look. A good example is the plaid dress worn by an American boy in the 1860s. Another example is Edwin Crawshay in 1864.

Irish Kilts

Boys wear sashes with are pinned at the front shoulder, often with a fancy Irish motif pin. They then hang down over the back of their blazer or jacket. They are usually a color contrasting with the jacket--often the same color as the kilt. Sashes vary greatly. Some are adorned with embroidery of Irish motiffs. Others are very plain with little or no embroidery. Many are fringed. Many girls also wear sashes. Almost all the other dancing costumes garments are different. Only the sash is an item commonly worn by both boys and girls. Most sashes end with a point like a tie. They usually are long engough to extend below the hem of the jacket, but not the kilt. They are usually made of the same material as the kilt.


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Created: March 30, 1999
Last updated: 7:12 AM 12/8/2017