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  1. #1
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    1850s/1860s Highland attire

    Socioeconomic issues aside, I am looking for a pattern for a waistcoat and jacket that would be appropriate for the 1850s/1860s era, or a source of some really good photos of the same. I am trying to put together a kilt outfit from this time period, nut I can't seem to find any really good documentation of these garments anywhere. Any help steering me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slag101 View Post
    Socioeconomic issues aside, I am looking for a pattern for a waistcoat and jacket that would be appropriate for the 1850s/1860s era, or a source of some really good photos of the same. I am trying to put together a kilt outfit from this time period, nut I can't seem to find any really good documentation of these garments anywhere. Any help steering me in the right direction would be greatly appreciated.
    There isn't a whole lot of difference in what a gentleman would wear from 1850-60 from evening dress today. Look at pictures of regulation style doublets mostly. Waistcoats weren't very high.

    Here is a picture of the late King Edward VII, when he was Duke of Rothesay. It shows the Prince maybe in the 1870-80 period, but there would not be much of a difference in 10 to 20 years.


    Here is another picture from the mid 19th century. This time the doublet is closed and buttoned to the neck.

  3. #3
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    I am sorry, I should have clarified? I am interested in daywear. Also, I am interested in the possible transitioning of styles from jackets meant to be worn with trousers to similar styles worn with kilts, i.e. civilian sack coats, frock coats, etc.

  4. #4
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    In addition, I am looking for period sporrans, especially of the leather variety. Any books or web sites that can be suggested would be greatly appreciated.

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    Well, Aaron, leather sporrans weren't commonly worn in that time period.

    As for daywear, I would take a look at some of the drawings by Kenneth MacLeay, found in this Forum. There are a number of good paintings of men in day dress. There are photographs to be found in the Forum, as well, in the vintage section. What was worn in the latter part of Queen Victoria's Reign would have been worn in mid-century, too.

    The cut of the jackets wasn't much different than what you would find worn today. They might have been a little longer, but not by much.

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    Here are some examples from MacLeay. One must use caution, though, when considering these images as being factual. A lot of whimsy and fantasy play into them! Our esteemed Jock Scot said it best:

    Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen, please get your heads out of the clouds! These pictures, interesting though they may be, bare no relation whatsoever to what was worn on a day to day basis. These pictures are fantasy, a dream and dare I say it, lies. Somewhere, lost I expect, there is a picture of me in my youth, sat on a horse in a damned uncomfortable uniform with sword drawn. Now if, in a hundred years time that picture resurfaces and some one looks at it and says gosh "this is the British Army going into action in 1960, this is proof of how they did it and what they wore". Wrong conclusions could be drawn, just as I fear some are doing with those kilted pictures.

    Most certainly enjoy the pictures, most certainly glean what information from the pictures that you can about aspects of clothing etc.,but please don't fall into the trap of thinking that any Scot wore that as normal dress.

    Those outfits were the very best that very few could muster, plus a large dose of artistic licence, for a very specific event. A pose. Just like the fellow on a horse in his best uniform with his sword.

  7. #7
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    Here's a less extravagant outfit from the the same set of portraits. The gent is wearing a basic, simple sack coat and waistcoat of the period, the coat slightly shortened in the Highland manner:



    Period style hair sporrans here:

    http://skyehighlandoutfitters.com/Skye_Sporrans.html
    Last edited by Woodsheal; 20th June 10 at 04:43 PM.
    Brian

    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." ~ Benjamin Franklin

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by JSFMACLJR View Post



    One must use caution, though, when considering these images as being factual. A lot of whimsy and fantasy play into them! Our esteemed Jock Scot said it best:

    Gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen, please get your heads out of the clouds! These pictures, interesting though they may be, bare no relation whatsoever to what was worn on a day to day basis. These pictures are fantasy, a dream and dare I say it, lies.

    Those outfits were the very best that very few could muster, plus a large dose of artistic licence, for a very specific event.
    The idea that McLeay's models were specially dressed for these portraits is of course true.

    The idea that McLeay used "artistic licence" and painted something other than what was in front of his eyes is demonstrably false.

    We in the 21st century, with art movements like impressionism and expressionism etc etc behind us, often have difficulty putting ourselves back into a time when these things did not exist. McLeay's eye for detail, and skill in rendering what he saw, is amazing. We're not dealing with Monet or Van Gogh or Picasso here! McLeay comes from a time when exacting detail was expected.

    I have seen period photographs of, and seen and/or handled actual examples of, nearly everything seen in the McLeay portraits and I can attest to his accuracy.

    The portrait above shows two men in the plainest possible Highland Dress of that time. (Our modern "day" sporrans did not exist then and long hair sporrans were worn in all modes of dress.) It's hard to imagine what "whimsy" and "fantasy" is on display here. These men have no metalwork whatsoever in their costume, no cap badges, no kilt pins, not even garter flashes. They are wearing plain tweed jackets, plain hose, and ordinary shoes. How could their dress be any plainer, without sticking a sporran from 50 years in the future on them?

    The argument that these paintings are false because these men would not dress like this on a daily basis is a non sequitur. The topic is Highland Dress, not what these men would wear behind a plough. It's like saying that a quite accurate 1920's portrait of a man in a suit is false because that man would not wear that suit when doing farmwork.

  9. #9
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    Thank you all for the wonderful input. Let me give you the back story on what I am trying to do here:

    I am an American Civil War re-enactor. I pride myself on the authenticity of the outfits I wear. At many a re-enactment, I have seen people wearing modern kilts and playing bag pipes, which were totally inappropriate to the situation, and time being portrayed. Despite the debate here and other places, the 79th NY has no documentation to prove they wore the kilt in battle, not to mention the myriad of random people wearing kilts and playing bag pipes without reason. I have decided to recreate an accurate civilian kilt outfit of the period, just to show that it can be done. It will get some talk stirred up, but I want to prove a point, and it is an excuse to have and wear another kilt.

    As a side note, I agree with OC Richard's statements. While the portraits may have been staged, that does not mean the attire is wrong or inaccurate. This is seen with period photography, where people wear their finest outfits, and props are placed in the background. This does not make the clothing or props inauthentic. Also, the portraits are not intended to show people at their daily trade, but to show people in their finery.

  10. #10
    highland mafia is offline Oops, it seems this member needs to update their email address
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    [QUOTE=JSFMACLJR;892436]

    I really like the cut of the waistcoat that the lunatic about to chuck the rock is wearing..Minus the fact it is made of tartan.. I wonder how difficult it would be to have a waistcoat made in that pattern?? It would look sharp beltless and in a tweed..

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