Kilt: With Napier tartan.
The WA Police Pipe Band wear the Napier as the commissioner of police at the time the band was formed was called Richard Napier. Coincidentally, the Napier tartan matches the colours that represent the police, blue and white. The kilt, now seen as the national dress of Scotland, started life confined entirely to the Scottish Highlands. Lowlanders would have nothing to do with such a barbarous form of apparel and conferred upon the Highlanders the term “Redshanks”, because of the lack of covering on their legs and because they were said to be blue with cold. The Highland Scots are said to have emigrated from Ireland, displaced the native Picts and made the Highlands their own. They brought with them their Irish dress and as late as the mid 16th century the most common dress for men was the leine – a voluminous saffron shirt comprising more than 20 metres of material. Irish and Scottish dress at that time was nearly indistinguishable.
Evolving somewhere around that time the kilt in its original form was a very basic garment measuring some 1.35 metres in width and 5.5 metres in length. It was known as the Feileadh Mor – the big kilt and was usually referred to as the belted plaid.
To wear it, the wearer would lay a broad leather belt on the ground and lay the plaid (From the Gaelic Plaide meaning blanket) lengthways on top of it. He would then pleat the lower end of the plaid in the middle and lay down so that the edge reached to the middle of his knees. He would then pull the unpleated sides of the plaid around his waist and fasten it with the belt. The spare material was then gathered and wrapped around the waist and then fastened to the left shoulder with a large brooch or pin.
The Feileadh Beg or little kilt is what is worn today and it is not thought to have existed before 1725. the indignity of this may lay in the fact that the originator of the modern kilt was an Englishman by the name of Rawlinson, the manager of an iron smelting works in Lochaber, whom it is said adapted it to allow more freedom of movement for his workers.