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  1. #1
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    27th October 09
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    Dress tartan = failed concept?

    I'm curious where the idea of a "dress tartan" came from. When did they first appear?

    It seems to have been a fad that either never caught on or was very short-lived. I can't recall seeing pictures of anyone wearing a dress tartan, except possibly some Highland dancers. And it seems that when people dress formally, they always go with traditional setts and full color.

    So what's the story with dress tartans? Were they ever in vogue within traditional circles? And does anybody here actually wear a kilt in a dress tartan? I'd be curious to see pictures.
    Last edited by Tobus; 2nd February 10 at 09:50 AM.

  2. #2
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    25th January 08
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    A good question. This was recently addressed in this thread:
    http://www.xmarksthescot.com/forum/o...188/index.html
    It would seem that the extra white in a typical dress tartan is good for dancing. Otherwise, they do not seem all that popular.
    Michael the Farlander

    Loch Sloy!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    17th December 07
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    Judging by almost 50 years experience, I'd say that I've mostly seen them worn by dancers. I doubt that even 10% of those gentlemen who wear kilts wear "dress" tartans. As Farlander has said, they don't seem to be that popular.

  4. #4
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    2nd July 06
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    Madison, Wisconsin
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    I like the Gordon Dress tartan.




  5. #5
    Join Date
    29th January 06
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    Quote Originally Posted by beloitpiper View Post
    I like the Gordon Dress tartan.
    And in my admittedly limited experience, that is the only dress tartan that I see with any regularity whatsoever.
    Kilted Teacher and Wilderness Ranger and proud member of Clan Donald, USA
    Happy patron of Jack of the Wood Celtic Pub and Highland Brewery in beautiful, walkable, and very kilt-friendly Asheville, NC.
    New home of Sierra Nevada AND New Belgium breweries!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    15th June 09
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    I like a few dress tartans, though, I often feel most of them are too bright for most occasions.
    It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom -- for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    8th February 04
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    3389 Schuylkill Rd, Spring City, PA 19475
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    Dress Stewart, Dress MacDonald, Dress Campbell, Dress Gordon and Dress MacKenzie are probably the most popular 'dress' tartans that we've sold. I don't remember selling more than 1 of ANY other dress tartan.

    That being said, MacLeod of Lewis (aka Loud MacLeod) is also known as MacLeod Dress. It has no white, but is still called a 'dress' tartan by some.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    2nd April 05
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    Smyrna, Tennessee, USA
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    Dress Barclay is the more popular of the two Barclay tartans.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    6th July 07
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    The Highlands,Scotland.
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    I think the biggest drawback, until recently, has been the cost of a second kilt that would not be worn all that much. Don't forget, affording another "tank",the only choice until recently(possibly in some ways still is, in Scotland), was not an option for most.
    Last edited by Jock Scot; 2nd February 10 at 04:20 AM.

  10. #10
    M. A. C. Newsome is offline
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    Contributing Tartan Historian
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    26th January 05
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    A lot of people who are new to kilt wearing see the term "dress" in the name and think to themselves, "Well, this is just for formal occasions and I need a kilt that can be used for everyday wear," so they don't think of dress tartans as an option. But there is no rule anywhere that says dress tartans are for formal wear.

    I've seen men (outside of Highland Dancing) wearing Dress Gordon, Dress Campbell, Dress Stewart, Dress MacPherson, Dress MacDonald, and many other dress tartans. It's not common, no, but it is done.

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