Published: February 01, 2014

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

Dear Style Guy,

I love the “hunting tweeds” look in bagpiping: brown brogues, cream socks, tweed jackets.

Would you find it striking to see a Grade 1 band play at the World’s dressed like this, or too daggy?

Cheers,

Al

Daggy, huh? Are you by any chance Australian?

I have said it a few times before: the band that takes the plunge on a well-appointed head-to-toe tweedy-brown uniform will win major points from me. Rather than looking like every other band on earth, they will stand apart as that band. And I’d imagine that they would be adventurous musically, to boot.




But it’s in fact the brown boots that prevent this. Brown brogues are still specialty items, and few bands will purchase them for members. So pipers and drummers who have to buy their own shoes will buy shoes that will have multiple purposes, that they can wear with many tartaned outfits.

I can’t recall an entire pipe band being kitted out with brown ghillie brogues. But the brownest bands that come to mind are the old Guelph Pipe Band in the 1970s that used to wear dark or

orangey shirts along with their browny tartan and grey Balmorals. They had a bit of the soloist snob factor going on. Quite striking and  memorable.

The other is the Glasgow Skye Pipe Band, which has carried off the brownie look for decades, and is today one the sharpest-looking outfits out in the world. If they were to go the whole-hog with brown brogues – maybe even brogues without the long laces – that could well set a whole new trend.

For the soloist, look no further than John Mulhearn, who might be the most hipster of top-tier pipers, rocking the browns and tweeds with a touch of the fop. Dude!

Alrighty, then! What are your questions of “Highland “dress? Confused by cuffs? Stumped by straps? Hosed by hose? Send your questions to The Style Guy, and he’ll put his impeccable taste to work for you.

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