Bodice Highland Kilts

Figure 2.--These Scottish cubs in a picture taken during the 1950s are wearing bodice kilts. Scottish Cubs now do not commonly wear kilts.

The Highland kilt is a basically a tartan skirt with specialized styling covering the lower half of the body. Many of the kilts shown here worn by younger boys were bodice kilts, at least in the 19th and early-20th century. Younger boys wearing Highland kilts might wear bodice kilts rather than a regular kilt. The greatest advantage was that very young boys do not have a sharply enough defined waist to hold up a proper buckle kilt, in Scottish they say nae bum).We know such bodice kilts were made. The The bodice kilt also had the advantage that it could also be let out in length (indeed most came with a bit that you could let down) and because it fastened loosely at the front it was easy to accommodate changes in growth. Because any kind of kilts were (and still are) expensive, the more years wear that could be got out of a garment the better. Also kilts don't really wear out no matter what hard wear the boy gives it. So the only reason for replacement is only size. For this reason, boys kilts were often passed around families so that many could wear the same kilt. We do not know how common they were. At one time we think that most of the kilts worn by younger boys were mostly bodice kilts--especially proper kilts made by a reputable kilt maker. These were generally considered more practical as attaching the kilt to a bodice mean that suspenders or other way of holding the kilt were not necessary. Boys at many Scottish schools, mistly private schools, wear kilts on formal occassions. Currently I don't think the boys even at the prep level wear bodice kilts, but am unsure if this always was the case. Scottish Cubs and Scouts often wear kilts on dress occasions. Currently it is primarily the Scottish scouts who wear kilts and the Cubs wear either short or long grey trousers. Cubs used to wear kilts. We think that some Scottish Cubs wearing kilts may have worn boddice kilts. Younger boys wearing kilts for formal weddings may have worn boddice kilts. I think they may be less common than they once ewere, but have few details at this time.


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Created: 12:15 AM 8/9/2007
Last updated: 12:15 AM 8/9/2007