Well lets start at the top and work our way down , first up you need knitted bonnet in dark blue or lovat blue that is then felted and this is worn flat on the head pulled towards the front and if you claim to be a loyal Jacobite you need to fix a white cockade to the side of the bonnet near the front. The bonnet I have was knitted and felted by an old Scottish lady in New Zealand and it fits perfectly and keeps my noggan nice and warm over winter but it's probably a bit hot for the Japanese summer
Pictured above is a nice knitted and felted bonnet made by historical caps in the UK
Moving on down you will need a shirt it should be made of a natural colored linen but no laces with eyelets and would only button down to the chest , it needs to be almost as long as your kilt to keep you warm and should have large puff selves. These shirts can be bought online from various vendors or you can hunt a pattern and make your own shirt. I'm very lucky that just down the street is a fantastic French antique shop which sells NOS French linen work shirts which work very well and look the part.
Over top of your linen long shirt you need to wear a neck stock which can be either white or black and then you need a waistcoat. It should be made of wool in plain colors such as tan, grey or green , navy blue or in a period correct tartan made of wool of course , Harris tweed makes some fantastic period correct tartans which are perfect for constructing either kilts, waistcoats or jackets. You can buy ready made plain colour waistcoats online but do not buy the revolution war waistcoats as the bottom cut is wrong , you would be better off purchasing a French & Indian war period waistcoat that is longer and has a flat edge at the bottom rather than the tapered cut of the Rev war waistcoat. If the waist coat is made of tartan is can be matched with a jacket , but this is a matter of personal taste , it should also be noted that if using tartans do not use your clan tartan as they were not invented in the 1700s , just find a nice tartan in period colors that you like instead. As for buttons they can either be made of pewter or covered in the same fabric as the garment itself.
Over top of your waist coat you will need a highland short jacket these are very hard to find and like a hand made tartan wool waist coat are not cheap to purchase . These items are sometimes made by historical tailors and are period correct. Do not expect to buy a ready made one as you will need to supply the tailor with your measurements , pay a deposit and then wait about 4 months before you finally receive it. For anyone serious about getting a period correct waistcoat or jacket please contact me and I will forward some info on where to get one made. Just like the waistcoat the buttons can either be in pewter or the same fabric as the jacket itself , plus there are various cuff styles available to choose from as well.
The kilt comes next but in fact the correct name for it back in the 1700s was the Feileadh Mor which is often referred to as the plaid or in modern English as the Great Kilt . This is a long double width piece of tartan in wool ( check out the Harris Tweed tartans that are available ) that is wrapped around the body forming the pleats by hand first, it can also have a drawstring and belt loops / keepers sewn into the waist on the inside to make it easier to put on each time and to keep the pleats in place. It has been recently proven that the drawstring plaid did exist and both of my historically correct kilts that I have made myself have belt loops and a drawstring fitted inside at the waist. Of course you will still need a sturdy leather kilt belt to hold it in place as well. Pictured below is my Feileadh Mor that I made
So as you can see from above the Feileadh Mor is a rather large garment and can be worn in various different styles , I was also able to prove that it's also a fantastic item of clothing to wear in winter as it can be pulled up over your shoulders or head in extreme weather to keep you warm. As it's un tailored it can also be used as a blanket to sleep in as well.
Next up is the other kilt option which is called the Feileadh Beag ( little wrap ) which according to historical accounts was invented in 1720 , this is basically the Feileadh Mor which the top section cut off which makes it far easier to wear when working in indoors , this is my favorite type of kilt to wear on a daily basis as it's also un tailored and very easy to construct . Just find a suitable length of tartan add some belt loops and a drawstring and hold it up with a nice leather belt. Pictured below are a few photos of my Feileadh Beag showing the belt loops and drawstring.
Of course the next question is what is worn under the kilt ? - Shoes and socks is the correct answer of course , but these are not normal shoes or socks that you can find at your nearest dept store. Let's start with the shoes , they need to be straight lasted and made of leather with the rough side out and can have either 2 holes for leather laces or they need latchets and brass buckles , laces are more suitable for a common impression but I decided to go with the 1758 pattern shoe from the following online historical shoe maker in the USA called Fugawee which sells a fantastic range of shoes that also come in wide sizes such as EE , EEE great for people with wider feet . You might think that wearing a pair of straight lasted shoes is not so comfortable but once you have fitted a modern innersole in them and broken them in they are very comfortable for daily wear . As they are totally made of leather you will need to waterproof them in you live in an area that has a lot of rain and you might want to get some rubber put on the soles if they are for everyday wear ( this should not be done though if you participate in historical reenactment events as it would be incorrect ) .
Lastly you need to make some bag hose which is basically a tartan sock cut so that the tartan is on an angle providing some stretch to make them easier to put on. Various tartans can be used and once you have made a pair you will then have a pattern in which to make more. Another option which is not historically correct is footless hose which are worn over the top of stand kilt socks , both types can be tied up with the woolen ties / garters to stop them slipping down when walking
So that covers the basic items you need, many of the items can be hand made or purchased online and it will take some time to put together a period Jacobite kit , but well worth the effort when finished. Thanks for reading and if you have any questions just get in touch with me. The next blog post with be on period accessories .