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So. Totally. Done. With wearing a kilt.

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  • So. Totally. Done. With wearing a kilt.

    I played at a wedding on Saturday, and since I live on the continent and it's August it meant it was about a gazillion degrees in the sun. I hate wearing a kilt outfit with a capital HATE even on the best of days, and on Saturday I decided I just wouldn't be able to hack it. I made a last minute decision to switch up for a tasteful black dress with a tartan sash and a pair of comfortable red heels. I am so glad I did. Even though I was wearing black I was still wayyyyy cooler than I would have been if I'd been wearing a kilt/hose/collared shirt/tie/bonnet. I looked good. People liked my playing. I still had great conversations about piping and Scotland and Canada. And the bride and groom were thrilled. It was also sooooo comfortable to play my pipes without having to deal with all the extra fabric and dead animal bits one normally wears.

    I've decided that from here on in if someone hires me as a piper I will happily provide music, but I'm not going to dress up as though I'm a man who belongs to a Scottish regiment. Since I'm not a huge sash fan either (I find the look a bit too grey-haired-lady-Scottish-Country-Dance-Society for my tastes), in order to still respect Scottish tradition and also dress somewhat formally, I intend to get a tartan dress in a comfortable fabric, perhaps like one of the ones below. The kilt outfit will be reserved for Remembrance Day, gigs with the band (obviously) and outdoor events where the weather requires something more robust than a dress.

    Are there any other ladies who have ditched the kilt in favour of dressing like a woman?









  • #2
    Re: So. Totally. Done. With wearing a kilt.

    And if anyone wants to ague that standard piper's dress isn't a male thing it is. I've never in my life seen a woman voluntarily wear a kilt/waistcoat/jacket/tie/hose outfit outside of playing in a piping/drumming/military setting. It's a guy thing.

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    • #3
      Re: So. Totally. Done. With wearing a kilt.

      While piping is almost traditionally considered a male activity. I've never read anywhere that it was a strictly male activity recently adopted by women. With that comment made, I can think of absolutely no reason why you should not dress as you feel is appropriate and comfortable for yourself.

      Historically the Kilt as we know it is a relatively recent adaptation of older style garments. Ad that depending upon your cultural heritage and the fact that Bagpipes are now world wide in dispersal, along with the more traditional forms piping of various cultures. All that I can say is wear what you are comfortable with.

      You don't need justification, more than that. As for current historical aspects of comfortable wear just look to the Breton Biniou players. The Kilt may have some military significance with the British Isles but aside from that, well.

      Cheers and enjoy what you do.
      Breaching the peace? What bagpipes officer?

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      • #4
        Re: So. Totally. Done. With wearing a kilt.

        That dresses look nice.

        Another option is a kilted skirt with a blouse. That might give you more possibilities as far as level of formality. I'm not that conversant with women's fashion. Might also be handy if you get two gigs close together -- easier to have two blouses than to launder a dress.

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        • #5
          Re: So. Totally. Done. With wearing a kilt.

          Wearing the kilt is, indeed, a male thing. We have seen that demonstrated over and over and over again. I dont recall seeing women in the trad kilt getup until they began piping. Granted, my research on that topic is EXTREMELY limited, but, old regimental pictures that I have seen, are all men. And, as piping and the military are closely tied together, and, at least then, the military was fairly male centric, it only stands to reason that the kilt as a traditional uniform was male.
          That being said, I am all for pipers dressing however they feel comfortable. But, and, I am sure that anyone who has ever been hired can attest: those that hire pipers have a certain picture in mind. That picture, like it or not, is usually kilted. If you disclose this before being hired, and they have no issue with it, then thats fine. But, I think it would be insincere (and I am in NO WAY stating this to ANYONE-just throwing it out there!!) if you didnt disclose that prior to being hired.
          I think we are the only musicians in the world who everyone pictures to be dressed a certain way. If I had a nickel for every time someone asked if I had to wear a kilt to play-and combined that with the money from the STB requests-I would be rich!!
          A kilt doesnt make a piper. IF it did, I would be good at it
          Scottish Proverb; 12 highlanders and a piper make a rebellion

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          • #6
            Re: So. Totally. Done. With wearing a kilt.

            Originally posted by piper Q View Post
            While piping is almost traditionally considered a male activity. I've never read anywhere that it was a strictly male activity recently adopted by women. With that comment made, I can think of absolutely no reason why you should not dress as you feel is appropriate and comfortable for yourself.

            ...

            Cheers and enjoy what you do.
            Thanks for the kind words.

            Originally posted by bob864 View Post
            Another option is a kilted skirt with a blouse. That might give you more possibilities as far as level of formality. I'm not that conversant with women's fashion. Might also be handy if you get two gigs close together -- easier to have two blouses than to launder a dress.
            A good thing to keep in mind. Thanks for the tip!

            Originally posted by oldsoldier View Post
            Wearing the kilt is, indeed, a male thing. We have seen that demonstrated over and over and over again.

            ..But, and, I am sure that anyone who has ever been hired can attest: those that hire pipers have a certain picture in mind. That picture, like it or not, is usually kilted.
            Or worse. It's a man in #1 dress with a nicotine-stained mustache sporting an array of military medals who is so ancient they wax nostalgic about the days when they used to shoot elephants with a blunderbuss. I was once solicited to play a gig in a three-Michelin star restaurant for a Scottish themed night, and I proposed a trio comprising myself and two female friends (who were the only two piping friends I found who would be available, the fact we were all female was a coincidence). We would have worn our 100% coordinated very smart-looking band outfits, but were eventually denied the gig because the organizers had in mind "a more masculine image". That one kind of stung.

            If you disclose this before being hired, and they have no issue with it, then thats fine. But, I think it would be insincere (and I am in NO WAY stating this to ANYONE-just throwing it out there!!) if you didnt disclose that prior to being hired.
            I fully intend to explain my intended costume and send pics to clients to so they know what to expect. I don't actually think I'll face many problems by doing this, I think they'll understand. (Because let's face it, most people are nice.) But I agree that being transparent is very important, thanks for bringing up this point in the forum.

            A kilt doesnt make a piper. IF it did, I would be good at it
            This quote gave me a chuckle. Thanks for the laugh, and I'm sure you're a fine piper!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: So. Totally. Done. With wearing a kilt.

              Originally posted by oldsoldier View Post
              I think we are the only musicians in the world who everyone pictures to be dressed a certain way.
              Orchestral musicians (men) nearly always wear a tux. Women are usually in all black. Sometimes they have dress codes in their contracts.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: So. Totally. Done. With wearing a kilt.

                I think a woman piping in a skirt with a Scottish flavor is fine and almost preferred.

                My only bit of advice would be to educate your paying customer of your attire options. If they are expecting a piper in a #1 uniform and you show up in a ruffled white blouse and a black skirt instead, the customer might not be happy. They are paying for an experience . . . that includes music and appearance. Same goes for a string quartet at a formal wedding—flip flops and T-shirts won't go over well. There's a visual expectation. The key is communication with the client. That said, if you show up wearing some tartan somewhere, more often than not, they'll be content.

                Ultimately, my opinion is piping women shouldn't be hogtied to the male kilt/shirt/tie outfit.

                The question is wether we'll ever get to the day where women will be in tartan dresses in the competition circle. Wouldn't that be a sight?

                Andrew
                Andrew T. Lenz, Jr. • BDF Moderator
                BagpipeJourney.com - Reference for Bagpipers

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: So. Totally. Done. With wearing a kilt.

                  Lot's of dudes chiming in here, so I'll join the fray.
                  I think this...is cool.
                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd63jGY-eSU

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                  • #10
                    Re: So. Totally. Done. With wearing a kilt.

                    Originally posted by Rooklidge View Post
                    Lot's of dudes chiming in here, so I'll join the fray.
                    I think this...is cool.
                    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qd63jGY-eSU
                    I followed your link, and saw another video of this piper, wearing a kilted skirt and black sweater with a lacy white ruffle. Very nice. Good options.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: So. Totally. Done. With wearing a kilt.

                      Originally posted by Helvetica View Post

                      I fully intend to explain my intended costume and send pics to clients to so they know what to expect. I don't actually think I'll face many problems by doing this, I think they'll understand. (Because let's face it, most people are nice.) But I agree that being transparent is very important, thanks for bringing up this point in the forum.
                      I think this is a fantastic option. I would be more than happy to have that option at my wedding, for me the sound of the pipes is what I am after and not so much the look.

                      As Andrew says also, some will be after the look as much as the sound. But not everyone.

                      To stray slightly, I think it would be wonderful if pipers could separate themselves from the costume. That being said, I love the kilt, it is the shirt and tie that I don't like
                      Greg

                      “Don't tell me the sky's the limit when there are footprints on the moon.” ― Paul Brandt

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                      • #12
                        Re: So. Totally. Done. With wearing a kilt.

                        Lady pipers in dresses? Very fetching! Go for it.
                        Last edited by longwind; 08-15-2016, 02:39 PM.
                        Reedmaster

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                        • #13
                          Re: So. Totally. Done. With wearing a kilt.

                          To quote my wife when I showed her the dresses you posted "those are cute".
                          I second the sentiment that you should wear whatever you want, just make sure you have full disclosure with your clients.
                          I have seen orchestras with men in formal wear and women in black dresses, seems like a good combo to me.
                          Chris
                          Rosie O'Grady's Highlanders, Orlando, FL

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                          • #14
                            Re: So. Totally. Done. With wearing a kilt.

                            If blokes have to wear skirts, let the women wear pants!

                            (this one is a drummer, I think )

                            MacNaughton's of Pitlochry makes some tartan in lightweight cotton I believe.

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                            • #15
                              Re: So. Totally. Done. With wearing a kilt.

                              Originally posted by Leong View Post

                              If blokes have to wear skirts, let the women wear pants!
                              Ooofff!. Imagine the behind the back laughs this outfit would get; ...anywhere.

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