I'm a great fan of historical romance set in Scotland and my questions for the Wenches are: #1) When did Highland men change from wearing braies to kilts and did all Scottish men change over to kilts at the same time? and #2) How was the dirk worn inside their knee high sox kept in place so that it didn't fall out and/or slip down the stocking?
Thanks, Ingrid - glad you’re a fan of Scottish historicals! Here’s an overview of kilts and plaids (with emphasis on overview!):
#1) When did Highland men change from wearing braies to kilts and did all Scottish men change over to kilts at the same time? And #2) How was the dirk worn inside their knee high sox kept in place so that it didn't fall out and/or slip down the stocking?
Braies are loose shorts or trousers common throughout the medieval era. Worn long, they were like loose trousers, worn short and under shirts or tunics, they were basically medieval underwear. Braies were perhaps worn in the Celtic cultures too, but not as commonly.
In later centuries, Lowland and Highland men sometimes wore trews, which were like long braies, cut snug to the leg and loose in the crotch (you could dance some good hip-hop in a pair of braies or trews today). A rather fancy pair of Highland tartan trews with matching jacket and cape, worn by an 18th c. gentleman, can be seen in the National Museum of Scotland, and in this painting of Sir John Sinclair by Henry Raeburn.
But by far the most famous garment for the self-respecting Highland man was the wrapped or belted plaid, in the Gaelic breacan-an-fheilidh or feileadh-bhreacain (a wrapped tartan) or the feileadh-mor (great wrap). This was a considerable length of tartan fabric, wool woven of many colors and then folded, wrapped, belted at the waist with the long end piece tossed over the shoulder and pinned, all in a particular method. It was handy for bedding, for rain gear, camouflage, etc. Here's a gorgeous charcoal sketch by David Wilkie of a Highlander.
The wrapped plaid was typically worn without braies –- although Highlanders might have worn braies or trews beneath in very cold weather. They sometimes wrapped the long tails of their linen shirts (leine in Gaelic) and tucked the cloth inside the belt, diaper-like, so contrary to myth, they did actually wear underwear sometimes!