Underneath in Scotland

Deep in the thickets of Victorian antiquarianism, Scottish menswear explained:

“The belted plaid was the original dress. It is precisely that of a savage, who, finding a web of cloth he had not skill to frame into a garment, wrapt one end round his middle, and threw the rest about his shoulders…. And it is little to the honour of Highland ingenuity, that although the chiefs wore long pantaloons called trews, the common gael never fell upon any substitute for the belted plaid, till an English officer, for the benefit of the labourers who worked under his direction on the military roads, invented the fileah beg, philabeg, or little petticoat, detached from the plaid, and fastened by a buckle round the waist.”

From Notes and Queries Vol 4 p7,91 (1851) referencing the Quarterly Review, vol. i. p. 186, courtesy of the Gutenberg Project. A critic responded thus: “I would like also to learn how much of [this] story is founded upon fact, as I confess I am very much inclined to doubt the truth of it in toto.”

About rimboval

Writer, thinker and proud grandfather
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