on the wearing of silk shirts, etc., by Highland Dancers, circa 1966



“FORMAL WEAR FOR SCOTTISH COUNTRY DANCERS (continued from the last issue) The other day we received a letter from Miss Jean Milligan, in which she requested that we explain more fully the proper wearing of white silk shirts while engaged in country dancing. Miss Milligan felt that the article, in the January Newsletter, left the impression that the silk shirt may be worn at all times – regardless of climate or temperature. Such is not her feeling in this matter. It may be worn, “as a hot climate alternative, not as a de rigueur costume. ” We have also received the following letter from Society member J. C. Thompson: “Sir: I welcome Miss Milligan’s fashion note which approves Highland Dancing in the white shirt for gentle- . men. Anyone of my size and weight has “swat sair” many a time dancing in a heavy jacket. Furthermore, as the leading light of the Scottish Highland Dancing Society, her word on proper costume for dancing should be taken as final. Her other fashion notes, however, fa1 l in the class of obiter dicta. There is wide discussion on all of them, and I quote my own favorite authority, who happens to disagree on all three points. The citations are from TARTANS AND HIGHLAND DRESS by C. R. MacKinnon of Dunakin. On the dirk belt “a wide belt in black. . . leather, with an ornamented silver buckle,” he says “The dirk belt has come into its own again and is being worn all over Scotland with ordinary day dress. This is a good sign,. . .” As for tartan ties, he starts out “In recent times there has been criticism of the use of striped ties with the ki It, since, it is suggested, tartan ties are more correct.” He concludes “Many Highlanders today regard the tartan tie as a souvenir for tourists, and would not dream of owning one, but the wearer’s taste is the only guide in this matter.” On ladies’ sashes, he makes no mention of skirt length but talks of sashes under the heading of “evening wear.” His illustrations, however, show sashes with evening dresses that I am assured are currently called “ballerina length. ”

  • from the Newsletter of The Saint Andrew’s Society (Washington D.C. Chapter, 1966)

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