What Scots used to wear Before Kilts?

I have shared a guide where I will discuss that what scots used to wear before kilts.

We all have seen highlanders and traditional Scottish people wearing kilts. However, there is always a curiosity to know that what Scots used to wear before men’s kilts. In order to address this query and confusion. We have seen the references to kilts or belted plait from the 1500s which means there was something else before kilts.

Therefore, history tells us that Braveheart of Scottish warriors used to wear something else before kilts. I can assure you that it wasn’t a kilt; but still it is interesting.

Scottish Clothing History – Era before Kilts

Let’s talk about the Scottish clothing history and discuss about the apparel that Scottish used to wear before wearing kilts.

If you are kind of a guy, who loves to wear the modern kilts then I think you are going to love our Utility kilts that we have designed for you. You can browse through our collection and enjoy it. 

Whats with Yellow Dye?

You might have seen Scottish wearing clothing made up of a number of yellow shirts and you might be wondering why yellow shirts?

Actually, In the earlier days, Horse Urine was a common dye for medieval Scots. Usually, shirts or tunics where were dyed yellow used to dominate the landscape in any battle or large gatherings.

If you are feeling ‘eww’ then you will be pleased to know that it was not the only dye that was used. They also used to dye Saffron to their shirts; however, it was a pricey color which is why only wealthy Scots used to get it. Moreover, the less wealthy Scots used to dye their cloth in grease.

The tunics were called leine croich and the wearer used to wear a belt over them. It was also complemented with a close-fitting leather jacket which was called jerkin, it was an occasional accessory to the yellow tunic. The Leine Croich was popular till medieval times into the 16th century, it is when kilts popularity started to rise. One of the oldest style of kilt is our Great Kilt, you are going to love it. 

Painted the Body

Earlier Scotts not only used to dye their cloths, but also their bodies. According to the Roman accounts of fighting early celts said there were some Celts who were blue. The blue paint was made from a plant called woad.

Romans used to call the blue Celtic people to their north, a nickname which was derived from the Latin “pingere, ‘to paint.”

There was a coalition of indigenous northern celtric tribes which resisted the Roman rule, they were called Picts. Although Picts from distinct from Scots, they also lived in the north of Hadrian’s wall. They were contemporaries of the Scots and they united with Scots in the 9th century CE, where they have to defend themselves from viking raids.

Modern Scots can easily trace their lineage to both ancient Scottish people and also to Pictish.

Checkout: How do women wear tartan?

What accessories they used to wear?

The old ancestors of Scots, which are also called The Celts had some great taste in accessories. Men used to wear belts with their tunics and Women wore dresses that were fastened with brooches.

Torcs were worn by the high-status of the tribe. A torc is a semi-circular ring that was worn as a necklace and it was highly-decorated and made of gold, silver, or iron.


A tam o’shanter was considered the most iconic Scottish headgear. However, ornate bronze helmets were also worn by the ancient Celtic warriors. The helmets did have some decorative features such as horns or various other animals.

When celts used to fight the battles, they wore their hair in white spikes where they used lime in order to shape their hairs into these spikes.

18th Century Highland Dress

The highland dress which was originated in the 18th Century, Outlander, depicts the right kind and type of dress. You can rely on the accuracy and authenticity of this movie. However, there are many more series and movies that are based on fiction despite of depicting the Scottish history.

Checkout: How to wear tartan when you are not Scottish?

What are not Traditional Scottish Garments?

There are many Scottish dresses that are presented as the traditional dresses are actually modern-day inventions.

You might have seen clan chiefs wearing feathers in their hats or headdress. There are some people who believed that Scots adopted this tradition in Victorian times from getting inspired from American Indian Headdresses.

You may also have heard about the shorter kilt that most of the people have associated with highland dress. However, it is development of Thomas Rawlinson, and it is a contemporary style.

These are the few facts that you should be aware of.

So, What Scots used to wear before kilts?

Not much really!

The yellow tunics or leines were worn by both men and women. However, kilts has always been the most powerful symbol that depicts the Scttoish heritage.

We would recommend you to celebrate the people who are wearing kilts as they are simply proud of Scottish culture and heritage. Don’t forget to share this with other folks! In case you want to enjoy the modern style kilt then I would recommend you to go with our Tactical Kilt, you are going to love it. 

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