Regimental Style: No. 1 Dress

This dress hearkens back to the days when Scottish pipers were mostly found in the Highland Regiments. As such, this is a military style uniform. Many elements are similar to what the rank and file soldiers of the Napoleonic era would have worn. Unique items for the regimental style include:

  • Doublet (stylized military jacket)

  • Piper's Plaid (fabric draped across the chest and over the left shoulder)

  • Cross Belt (leather belt worn diagonally across the chest)

  • Horse Hair Sporran

  • Diced Hose

  • Spats (white covers over the shoes)

Note: Headgear is always worn with the regimental style, lest the Sergeant Majors of yore rise from their graves to curse at the listless soldier who forgot his cover!

Regimental Style: No. 2 Dress

A less formal regimental style of dress, the No. 2 shares many common elements with the No.1 (see above) but without the cross belt or the piper's plaid. The No. 2 gives a martial look without the strict formality of the No. 1 dress.

A glengarry (pictured) or balmoral style cover (hat) is always worn, both indoors and outdoors, with the No. 2 dress.

Formal: Black Tie

When the need arises for a piper to perform at a formal event, the black tie option is often chosen. In this case, the piper will wear a ruffled shirt and bow tie (not always black in color, despite the name). The jacket may be either the Prince Charlie jacket with matching vest (not pictured) or Argyle jacket with cummerbund (pictured).

In this particular picture, where the lighting was not cooperating, I have a black bow tie and cummerbund. I have accessorized with white kilt hose and chosen to wear my dress sporran with dress sporran chain.

Headgear is never worn with this style.

Formal: Argyle Jacket

The Argyle jacket is a piper's standard uniform for any occasion which would warrant a suit and tie. They come in many colors, but black is most common.

In this particular picture, I am also wearing the 5 button vest under the jacket (purely optional).

I have accessorized with blue kilt hose and chosen to wear my dress sporran with dress sporran chain. While headgear is optional, I chose to wear the glengarry.

Semi-Formal: Vest & Tie

The semi-formal dress using the vest and tie is the preferred uniform of most pipers for events that require a modicum of formality without subjecting the piper to the heat of the woolen Argyle jacket. Depending on the event a dress or semi-dress sporran can be worn. For this event I wore my dress sporran. Sleeve length is also event dependent.

Pub: Casual Tartan Wear

Casual wear, often called pub wear, is a style that is meant to place the wearer at ease with his or her surrounding. Nothing fancy here. The shirt can be any style (t-shirt, polo, jersey etc...). Here I chose to wear a rugby shirt. The sporran should be of the daywear variety (hunting style pictured). Hose and gillies are often worn, but may be traded for any footwear desired.

Modern: No Limits

For the modern kilt wearer the only limits are those of good taste...and sometimes not even that! Pictured here is a casual ensemble of a tan canvas kilt, a daywear sporran, a shirt that is arguably louder than my bagpipes, sneakers, and my favorite fedora. This was for a Mardi Gras parade, so the beads were mandatory.

Very Casual: Kilt, What Kilt?

Yes, it is in fact possible to play a bagpipe without wearing a kilt. I have only performed one event sans kilt, but will again if needed. In such a situation the available outfits range from short and t-shirts (as pictured) up to a suit and tie.