Scottish Kilts: Gender

Figure 1.--This cabinent card shows two unidentifid Scottish children and the family pooch. The portrait is undated, but the mount suggests it was taken about 1920. The boy wears a Highland kilt outfit with a Glengary cap, Eton collar, and jacket with military trim. The boy looks to be about 10 years old. His teenage suster wears what looks to us like a plaid skirt, but not a kilt. The studio is F.J. Arnott in Lymington.

The kilt was historically a male garment in Scotland. And continues to be so in modern Scotland. We only see boys wearing Highland kilt outfits. Wehave seen occasional images of siblings all dressed alike, but this was unusual. For the most part we only see boys weaing kilts. Our Scottish archive is not huge, but it is large enough to allow us to state fairly definitively that this was the case. We are less sure about more informal kilt outfits, but even here we see few girls wearing kilt outfits, although we do not have sufficent images here tonmake any definitive assessments. We note that girls perforing in Scottish dancing often wear white dresses with Scottish trim rather than kilts, except when dancing male parts. Scottish Boy Scouts wear kilts, but not the Girl Guides. In the 20th century we begin to see plaid skirts bcoming popular for schoowear in England and America. we are not sure about Scotland. The kilt cintinues to be an exclusively male garment. We see a few family portraits in which the biy wears a kilt and his sister a plaid skirt. This does not appear very common, but we have seen a few examples.


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Created: 1:45 PM 3/17/2017
Last updated: 1:45 PM 3/17/2017