Dear Style Guy:
I’m new to piping, new to kilts, new to it all, and I just don’t know how to dress. I mean, I’ve got my band’s uniform (of which I am not particularly fond), but now that I’ve got my wife’s blessing to go out and buy an outfit for formal occasions (and hopefully, one day, solo piping gigs), I’m at a loss. Any good references out there?
Bewildered in Buffalo
Unlike about 295-million other Americans, you are in luck in that you have right in your hometown your country’s foremost Highland dress retailer. The British Shop in Amherst, New York, will see you right.
It is difficult for many competing in North America, where solo and band competitions are on the same day, but I always recommend wearing a different outfit for solo work, which entails of course taking two kilts to the event. As a soloist, the last thing you want to have happen is be lost in a crowd, which is of course the first thing you want to happen with the band.
I don’t judge piping or drumming competitions, but I have been told that having five, six or more competitors from one band all wearing the same thing can make things difficult for the adjudicator. At the end of the event you want to be remembered, and if what you wear helps in that regard, then go for it, in good taste.
So, get thee to The British Shop, tell Mr. Donaldson exactly the kinds of events you aspire to wear your attire to, and get his recommendations. Take your time and spend as much as you possibly can on the kilt – made-to-measure, heavy worsted cloth, classic colours, and get ready to use it for hundreds of events for the next 20 or more years.
And, so, Dear Reader, these are my sage words of sartorial wisdom for you at this time. Be sure to forward your fashion-backward questions to me, The Style Guy, and I shall endeavour to address them.
Your humble servant,
The Style Guy