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Picaros: Scottish costume

yamilah
Member
#1 · Posted: 29 Sep 2005 13:02
In the beginning of The Picaros, a fair-haired girl does a TV ad for Loch Lomond whisky.
Is her costume a Scottish girl's real one?
Does her frill match with a real Scottish girl garment?
Thanks in advance.
jock123
Moderator
#2 · Posted: 29 Sep 2005 13:34 · Edited by: jock123
The outfit she is wearing is basically a man's, rather than a woman's, one, but you might see something vaguely similar worn by girls participating in Highland Dancing (which was originally traditionally a male form of dance). Normally female formal dress would be something more like a plain dress with a sash, or a blouse with a long tartan skirt, but that would be impractical for Highland dancing.

The lace ruff is called a jabot, and is again really a sort of cravat, and a male item of dress; she seems to be wearing it over a doublet, but there isn't enough to say for certain.

It would be rare to see a woman in a hat (a "Balmoral" in this case) as a form of national dress, and I think you might have to have some status to wear it with a cockade... However, this style of hat has moved over to being a woman's style in casual dress, particularly in combination with a shawl or large scarf, after the manner of a plaid, while you wouldn't see a male wear such items in casual attire, and certainly not without a kilt!

The jabot has passed out of favour in recent years, when the dress-hire companies and suppliers started to go more for black-tie evening wear as an all day solution, although to many (myself included) this just looks odd out of the context of an evening dinner.

However the whole area of Highland dress is basically a Victorian creation, based on, but not really following, older patterns; it was popularized by Prince Albert the Prince Consort during the period of romanticism about such things fostered by Sir Walter Scott and the visit of King George IV to Edinburgh of 1822.

As mentioned above it is open to re-interpretation and fashion, so it does change, but I think the use of it here is meant to be cute, in the way that advertisers of gin might put a girl in a Yeoman Warder's uniform, or one of the petrol station chains had girls dressed as cowboys... You often see small girl-dolls dressed as pipe-majors sold as souvenirs...
yamilah
Member
#3 · Posted: 30 Sep 2005 11:14
jock123
Thanks for your response.

Between hat and jabot, which item could be said most incongruously worn by a young Scottish woman?
Thanks in advance.
jock123
Moderator
#4 · Posted: 30 Sep 2005 11:23
yamilah
Between hat and jabot, which item could be said most incongruously worn by a young Scottish woman?

There’s not really a matter of degree to it - it’s a bit like if Hergé had put her in a beret, striped top and neckerchief to make her look like a cartoon Frenchman - the effect is about the same. A girl in those clothes is in costume, playing a part, and the effect is incongruous in toto.

Putting it the other way round, a woman wearing any one of the items wouldn’t be incongruous, you’d see many women with similar, it’s the sum of the items that makes the difference.
yamilah
Member
#5 · Posted: 30 Sep 2005 12:51 · Edited by: yamilah
jock123
the effect is incongruous in toto (...) it's the sum of the items that makes the difference.

Thanks for your response.


Does the Indian-like plain white feather belong to a Scottish hat, or is it as incongruous as the jabot and the male beret she wears?

I googled 'images' to search about that, but could find nothing but a sophisticated plume...

please see http://www.houseoftartan.co.uk/scottish/itm_img/bonnetps.JPG

About Highland Dancing: at what period did Scottish girls and women start to practice these men's dances?

Thanks in advance.
jock123
Moderator
#6 · Posted: 30 Sep 2005 13:30 · Edited by: jock123
yamilah
Does the Indian-like plain white feather belong to a Scottish hat, or is it as incongruous as the jabot and the male beret she wears?

A single eagle’s feather is normally worn by the son of some clan chieftains (who might themselves have three), I think, but it is not in and of itself unusual to see a feather - often from a pheasant or grouse - or other decoration (Grants wear a sprig of Scot’s Pine, for example), behind a clan crest, regimental badge or whatever. You can see that in these pictures, and here too, and for comic effect here.

As for a girl wearing a feathered bonnet, see this illustration. I think the effect that Hergé was aiming for was along the same lines as shown here; and no, Scotland isn’t famous for its oranges, but I don’t suspect a spatio-temporal fault… ;-)

About Highland Dancing: at what period did Scottish girls and women start to practice these men's dances?
Don’t know, I’m afraid; they may always have done it in some places, but the dance is based on male display.

Update: This site doesn’t say when women first danced the Highland dances, but it does say that the first girl to dance in competition was Jenny Douglas, late in the 19th Century; so it has been over one hundred years at least…

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