Style Guy
May 31, 2010

Phil a beggin’

Have mercy, Miss Percy! The Highland wear industry is changing so rapidly that even I, The Style Guy, am having trouble keeping up with the MacDonalds. Looks like you, too, my faithful followers, are also having difficulty knowing what to wear and how to wear it. Let’s take a look in the mailbag and see what’s up . . .

Dear Style Guy:

I recently read about those new plastic ghillie brogues that are made in Florida and cost only $50. I hear mixed reviews on them, so thought that you might be able to provide an informed opinion on these things.

They’re cheap, but will my fellow pipers ridicule me for wearing them? Will they even notice?


Plastic Oh-No Man

Dear Plastic:


I too have heard about these Ghillators and I have seen a few people wearing them. While I applaud the inventor for his ingenuity, it’s no surprise that this item is made in Florida, a place that tends to turn everything expensive and thoughtful into cheap fun that one shouldn’t think about too hard.


These plastic ghillies (I can’t call them “brogues,” because brogues imply a certain heft and quality) may actually be a good solution for young pipers and drummers with growing feet and parents who go broke keeping them in traditional leather ghillie brogues. If I ever bothered to get married and had piping sprogs, I’d have shod them in these shoes, no bother.


I would say, however, that that’s where things might end, at least for the piper or drummer who cares about his/her appearance, and, because you’re reading this, I presume you do. There’s a lot of uncomfortableness with what we have to wear. Let’s face it; we’re hauling around on our backs upwards of 20 pounds of wool and what-not, often in the heat, cold, wet and mud. We should accept certain challenges and expense in our quest to look good. It’s the cost of the hobby.


I’m sure that someone out there is planning to manufacture cotton or linen kilts because, after all, a nine-yard heavy worsted wool philabeg is, well, just a nuisance. Now, you may feel better inside wearing this thing, but you’ll look a lot worse on the outside.


So, my answer is, if you are an adult with a steady income, invest in quality. My ghillie brogues are the heaviest-weight available. I’ve had them for 20 years now. When they get wet, I allow them to dry. I have cedar shoe-trees. When the soles need replacing, I do that, and I have found that well-made thick rubber soles provide the needed moisture-control. Invest in quality.


  1. I’ve seen a leopard cover that had a wee, footlong tail sticking out behind. In its tip there was some fluff of sorts… My cats would love it.

  2. Covers in strange colors or patterns for solo pipers could turn against you. If you have a zebra, tiger or cow pattern as your cover, it should fit you and your style. The zebra cover should tell something about your way of playing. Funny, wild, crazy or artistic. If you walk into the room on a 4/4 march, play Amazing Grace and finish of with Rowan Tree, you should change to a dark blue cover, like me…… if you can realy pull a great show and still play well, keep the animal on you bag…..



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