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Kilt

The kilt is an item of traditional Highland dress. Nowadays most Scotsmen see it as formal dress. It is generally worn only at weddings or other formal occasions although there are still a few people who wear it daily.

Belted plaid ~1670
Originally a length of woollen tartan[?] cloth 1.5 m in width and up to 5 m in length. Worn with a wide belt and over the left shoulder this was the 'great kilt' or the Breacan, the Feileadh Bhreacain or the Feileadh Mor. The kilt was an untailored draped garment made of cloth gathered up into pleats by hand and secured by the belt. The age of the great kilt is hotly debated but it certainly existed at the beginning of the 17th century.

The current garment is more similar to the Leine Croich, a knee-length skirt of leather, linen or canvas, heavily pleated and quilted as protection. The modern kilt is called the Feileadh Beag, or little kilt, designed for military wear and so made of tartan or tweed[?], box-pleated or knife-pleated (with pleats sewn in to speed the donning of the kilt) with the lower edges reaching not lower than the centre of the knee-cap. It dates from around the mid-18th Century, replacing the simpler belted plaid. The kilt is traditionally for men only, although in the modern era, long women's dresses patterned after kilts do exist, and women pipers frequently wear kilts. Kilten skirts for girls are also worn.

The Dress Act of 1747 made it illegal to wear the Kilt in Scotland; the law was repealed in 1783. An exception was made in the years following 1747 to allow the kilt to be worn in the military -- made to try to increase recruitment into the army and placate the Highlanders at a time when the British government could ill afford another civil war with the Highlands of Scotland.

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