Published: February 01, 2014

The Style Guy: of brown brogues and tweeds and flashing white sergeants

Hey Style Dude,

Lots of talk these days about trews. You recently commented on tartan trousers as an option for larger male pipers, but what about just wearing them any time in competition? What’s your opinion?

Sincerely,

Mr. Plaid Pants

This is indeed a topic of conversation these days, propelled by the ever-sartorially adventurous Mr. Glenn Brown, who has a bit of the dandy in him, which I like a great deal. Mr. Brown occasionally misses the mark, but in general his attire matches his playing: first-class.

Most events require “Highland dress.” Now, I don’t know about you, but true Highland dress is nothing like what most pipers and drummers wear, which is a modified version of the military daywear get up. True modern Highland dress might be a Barbour coat and welly-boots. Traditional Highland dress would be a philabeg, ratty wool socks and a scratchy burlap shirt.

Since the modern daywear thing is derived from the military, well, logic tells me that trews – tartan trousers – are just as military. I have seen army pipers on occasion compete in trews throughout the years and no one batted a lash. So, what’s all the fuss now? I say go for that look, if you like it.

But, as with the kilt, make sure that your trews are made-to-measure. No scrimping on fit or material.

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