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What are Ghillie Shirts?

If you’ve ever attended a traditional Scottish celebration such as a ceilidh, you may have seen gentlemen wearing loose fitting cotton shirts with a leather laced opening around the throat. These shirts are known as Ghillie or Jacobean shirts, and are a big part of traditional Scottish clothing.

They are the more informal accompaniment to the kilt, and were originally designed to be comfortable for dancing or other physical activities. Many kilt wearers prefer them to the more restrictive and formal waist coat and shirt combination that is also worn with a kilt.

One main feature of the ghillie shirt is the leather lacing starting from the middle of the shirt and running up to the throat. This sets it apart from other loose cotton shirts. Although the ghillie shirt is most commonly known as an accompaniment to a kilt, it predates the kilt and has many other modern uses. These shirts are popular among many history fans and historical reenacters, including Renaissance fair performers.

Of course, a ghillie shirt can worn many other times as well. It is particularly suited for a semi formal occasion, such as a first date. It has a certain charm that other long sleeved cotton shirts lack, and can look especially dashing on men with a more rugged style and features. It’s also great under a suit coat, or for even formal occasions such as a wedding, as long as the rest of the outfit is more conservative. The ghillie shirt is a versatile piece of clothing, with a deep history and the style to continue to be popular.