Scottish Kilts: Accesories--Shoulder Sashes

Figure 1.--This CDV portrair shows ab unidentified boy wearing a Highland kilt outfit. Notice huis voluminous shoulder sash and broach oin on his shoulder. The studio was Alexander Brothers in Glasgow. The portrait is undated. We are unsure, but would guess it was taken in the 1870s or 80s. The boy looks to be about 6 years old. He wears an Eton collar, black military jacket, plain knee socks, and low-cut shoes.

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.


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Created: 11:13 PM 6/21/2010
Last updated: 11:13 PM 6/21/2010