Figure 1.--This Scottish boy was 8 years old when he was photographed with his father. He only wore the sporran for special occasions. Note the sandals he wears.
I was wandering through the fascinating HBC site and was just coming to
terms with the fact that boys of the last century often wore skirts and dresses of
what today would be considered to be a girls style when I came across the photo of a boy of the late 20th century dressed in a rather well cut powder blue skirt/suit. More to the point he doesn't look as though he's much bothered with it! I was about to be impressed with his non-chalons when I remembered my boyhood.
I am Scottish and in my own boyhood, not so very long ago, I often wore kilts. The photo of myself dressed in a traditional Scots kilt (this made for me by my mother) who if she could
have got away with it would have loved to have me in this lads outfit!!
The kilt I wore as a boy was was a heavy tartan pleated affair that wrapped around the waist and was fastened with one then two leather straps and buckles. In the photo both
myself and dad are wearing sporrans and dress tweed jackets, this however
was not usually the case, this is a posed shot taken at a family gathering
but most of the time if not in short trousers I simply wore a kilt and
jersey. If There was any doubt about the kilt being designed for a boy then
it would have been instantly dispelled by simply putting the thing on. It
weighed as much as five girls skirts and was no mean garment. The blue kilt
suit in your photo at first glance looks to be a normal girls style skirt
Closer inspection however gives the impression that its been built from a slab of serge, his kilt appears to hold its shape in much the same way as an army great coat (Wife
thinks stiff underskirt!!!!!!) and the jacket appears every bit as heavy as
mine was. The photo doesn't show whether or not the skirt/kilt is a wrap around or a closed affair but it dose look to be a deal heavier than a girls skirt. My wife at any rate thinks, "Oh he looks beautiful I could cuddle him all day!!!!!!! If girls his own age thought the same you'd have trouble getting him out of it!!!!!!"
Mother could be rather fickle, or so it seemed to a small boy. By that I mean She would be guided by
everything from the weather to my activities for the day through to her simply wishing it that I wore one or the other, And her reasons for that were as wide ranging as she was!!! Mother wasn't a lady to be messed with!
And she didn't usually consult me on the mater, as a modern mother might. In fact the first I would
know about it was when in bed she would come in to my room and hang up whatever it was she'd decided I was wearing in the morning.
From memory, I don't remember really thinking about my clothes much. I know that is quite different today. I was usually far too occupied with play and the business growing up to think about what I was
wearing. Kids of that age even in the 60s didn't take much interest in the subject because we didn't have a say in the mater!!!
Schoolwear was usually a shirt, tie, grey or blue jersey, black blazer, grey shorts, knee socks (grey) in winter with brogue shoes or white in summer with sandals.
School dances (How I hated them) would invariably involve a protracted scrubbing of the body. Mother turned up in person for this one!!) Emphasis on the neck and ears region followed with me being riveted into the cleanest, most immaculately pressed shirt,
tie, jacket and kilt you could imagine!! The process was terrifying. I was normally a rather mucky child, despite mums efforts. I feel now that on these occasions, she'd decided that she was going to win the battle over muck, even if for only a short period!
The photo here was taken in 1968. I don't remember the reason for the get together but I do remember being hauled away from playing with a horse
(just visible in the top of the photo behind the hedge) to have my photo taken!!! and being incensed at being told to smile.
I almost always wore sandals for play or lesser social occasions in summer and even then only
when the occasion was a family one not involving weddings and the like. The usual formal footwear when I dressed up in my kilt would be a pair of heavy brogues.
Usually I wore heavy kneesocks with my kilts. These would be worn with red flashes a curious adornment
which was designed to be worn at the tops of socks they were about 5" long and were fastened to a plain elastic garter worn under the tops of turned
over socks. The exception would be at my mothers whim when occasionally I'd would be dressed in white knee socks and sandals.
Other boys also wore kilts, though more didn't than did. It was really a mothers preference
none of us really took much notice of what each other wore, or at least I didn't. The only memory I have of taking note of another boys kilt is one of a chap I didn't normally play with and this only sticks in the mind because he was so immaculate that I thought that he'd been scrubbed for a dance and I felt sorry for
him!! His kilt was a very bright red tartan
it was box pleated and had a very narrow flat panel at the front. This coupled with bright white knee socks and
black shoes made him look like "souvenir". Poor sod!!! I was scared to play with him in case he got hung
for getting dirty. I latter found out that when in a kilt he was always dressed this way !!!
I was never a cub, though I was a scout for a number of years. By this time, howevr, the standard
uniform for our troop had been standardised and long trousers, shirt and neck chief were the order of the day. Though quite often visiting scout troops would show up in kilts worn with a heavier belt than ours and sporrans. These worn with grey knee socks and flashes and brogues. We also wore a skein dubh. I'm not sure about the spelling here but it is pronounced "skein doo" It was a short knife or dagger worn down the side of the sock (only the butt or hilt showed above the sock. I don't remember which leg this was worn on but I think it was the right. I had one but my mum didn't like it and I only wore it on very formal occasions.
Anyway we're having a lot of fun raking through the historical boys clothing site you have obviously gone to a great deal of trouble and effort to produce a beautiful data bank.
Robert & Caroline
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