What To Wear at the Highland Games?

What To Wear at the Highland Games?

Posted by Tartanista on 3rd May 2024

The guest of honour at the Braemar Highland games for the last 70 years was the late Queen Elizabeth II and more recently her son King Charles III. 

The Queen always dressed formally in a bright outfit or dress in a bold colour, usually with a hat and pearls. She loved the games and always looked engaged and happy when she attended. 

Kind Charles loves his kilts and seems to wear one at every opportunity. At the games wearing his kilt is de rigueur, while Queen Camilla favours a toned-down version of the Queens look with paler colours, often tweed and has been spotted with a jaunty pheasants’ feather in her hat. 

Bearing in mind the games take place on the first Saturday of September when the weather is often quite warm, what do us mortals wear? 

There is no official dress code at the games, but many people like to show off their Scottish heritage. 

There are a sprinkling of women wearing tartan skirts and of course many men wearing a tartan kilt or a modern utility kilt

The athletes who compete and the dancers and bands performing all wear kilts and tartan kilt skirts

One of the favourite games is tossing the Caber. It is awe inspiring to see a huge muscular Scotsman in his kilt and vest, muscles bulging and covered in sweat tossing a huge pole usually weighing over a hundred pounds and sometimes up to a hundred and fifty pounds. 

The tug of war is another favourite which has two teams all wearing kilt desperate to win, being cheered on by their very vocal supporters, eyes popping and muscles straining as they struggle to drag their opponents across the line.

There are gentler competitions too, like the pipe bands competing in their traditional outfits with pipes calling and drums thundering across the grass as they march past in perfect unison. A truly inspiring spectacle. 

My favourite is Highland dancing – the traditional Scottish dance know as the Highland Fling. The lasses resplendent in their bright tartan skirts and socks and Aboyne vests. They dance to the bag pipes and make it look effortless with radiant smiles. Don’t be fooled the footwork is extremely complex and must be executed perfectly. 

Click on this highland fling link to see an example. 

And for those of us too lazy to dress up this year - a cool skirt and cotton top for the ladies and a pair of shorts, short sleeve shirt with a baseball cap for the men will have to do. 

Maybe next year we’ll all try a little harder.