Highland Dance Costume Rules

Here at Fraser Highland Shoppe, we want to ensure you are dressed for competition.  For your very own copy of the SOBHD Costume regulations, please click here for the PDF version.


Type 1

Head Dress: Balmoral must be worn with appropriate crest. Feathers should not be worn.

Jacket: May be worn of velvet or cloth, in any colour and any recognized style of doublet, e.g. Prince Charlie, Montrose.

Waistcoat: May be worn with Prince Charlie jacket.

Jabot: Should be white lace worn only with Montrose Jacket.

Sleeve Ruffles: May be worn in conjunction with a lace jabot on a Montrose jacket, but must be attached to the sleeve of the jacket.

Cummerbund: Black or to match the kilt may be worn in place of a waistcoat, with a Prince Charlie doublet.

Plaid: A belted tartan plaid (the same tartan as the kilt) may be worn with jacket if desired.

Sporran: Evening pattern with plated metal top or leather to be worn.

Waist Belt: Leather with plated metal buckle may be worn with Montrose or Prince Charlie jacket, but should not be worn in conjunction with a waistcoat or cummerbund.

Shirt: A white shirt and bow tie should be worn with the Prince Charlie jacket.

Kilt: Any Clan, Family or District Tartan is acceptable. The length of the kilt is to the top of the knee.  A kilt pin may be worn.

Trews: Tartan Trews may be worn for the Sean Triubhas as an alternative to the kilt.

Underwear: Dark or toning with the kilt should be worn, but not white.  

Hose: Full clan tartan hose or military diced hose to match the kilt e.g. Blue/White etc.

Garter Flashes: To tone with the kilt.  Optional.

Sgian Dubh: Should not be worn whilst dancing.

Footwear: Black highland dancing pumps.

NOTE: The above dress excludes competitors from HM Forces provided they are wearing regulation military dress.


Type 2

May be worn by Pre-Premier dancers only:

Head Dress: Optional or as Type 1.

Jacket and/or Waistcoat: Day wear style, in lovat cloth or other types of tweed or same as Type 1. 

Sporran: Same as Type 1. 

Shirt and tie: A white shirt and tie may be worn without the jackets and/or waistcoat.

Kilt: As Type 1.

Hose: Self-coloured to tone with kilt, or natural colour, or same as Type 1.

Footwear: Black highland dancing pumps.

Underwear: Same as Type 1. 



Type 1 

Jacket: Black or colored velvet.  Close fitting at the waist and hips, fastened down the front with hooks and eyes.  The basque is shaped, having two points in front and one at back.  The sides are slightly curved into the points.  The jacket is trimmed round the edge with a single row of 1/2-inch silver or gold braid. The length depends on the physique of the dancer, but should sit just on the hips.  The front edges of the jacket are boned.  Elastic loops are fitted to the inside of the jacket, allowind it to be fastened to the top of the kilt, thus preventing the jacket from rising when the arms are raised.  The facings have a single row of not more than five ornamental Scottish embossed buttons on each side.  The lace trim at back of neck is optional. The full-length sleeves may have a single row of not more than five silver or gold buttons at the vent.  If desired, ruffles (not more than 1 inch in depth) may be worn at the wrist, but they must be fastened to the sleeve.  A sleeveless blouse with lace front or a lace insert should be worn.  The lace frills should be visible.  

Waistcoat: Similar to the jacket as described above but without sleeves.  There should be no braid around the armholes.

White Blouse:  To be worn with the waistcoat.  Full sleeves to the elbow with a lace-ornamented front.  An upright stiff half-inch lace trim may be attached to the back of the neck of the blouse.

Kilt: Any Clan, Family or District tartan is acceptable. It should reach to the top of the knee.

Underwear: Dark or toning with the kilt should be worn but not white.

Hose: Full clan tartan hose to match the kilt.

Footwear: Black Highland dancing pumps.  

Hair: No visible hair adornments.

The following should not be worn:   Underskirt, sporran, garter flashes, plaid, waistbelt, Sgian Dhub, kilt pin or other ornaments of any description.  

Type 2

May be worn by Pre-Premier dancers only:

White Blouse: As described in type 1 or plain white shirt worn with or without a tie.

Kilt: As type 1.

Underwear:  Same as type 1.

Hose: As described in type 1 or white knee high length.  

Footwear:  Black Highland dancing pumps.




Male dancers may wear tartan trews instead of kilt for National dances.   Otherwise, dress is as described for highland dances.


Type 1  

Bodice: Velvet, waist length, laced up the front and scalloped or petal design all the way around the bottom.  Ornamental buttons may be worn on the front and narrow braid may be used to trim the scallops.

Plaid: Square or rectangular pleated, fastened to the right shoulder with a Scottish brooch. The plaid should be attached to the waist at the back.

White Blouse: Full sleeves to the elbow with no frillsNo more than four very small tartan bows, on each sleeve may be worn.  The location of the bows are optional.  Frills on front of blouse are not acceptable.

Skirt: To be a tartan or similar design in cloth, not necessarily worsted and should be gathered not circular.  Length should be to the knee. Taffeta, satin and lurex are not acceptable.

Underskirt: White cotton with no adornments.  A lace edging is acceptable provided it is cotton.

Underwear: White.  

Socks: White without frill, ankle or knee high or natural tights may be worn.

Footwear:  Black Highland dancing pumps.

Hairstyle: No visible hair adornments.


Type 2

A white dress with a tartan as in type 1.  The skirt should be worn to the top of the knee and may be circular.  



Cap: Regulation white with circular crown. The cap should not have a name band.

Jumper: To be made of navy blue material (serge or twill) or white drill, shaped to the body and with set in sleeves.  V-neck front opening with double thickness collar attached. The bottom of the jumper should be in line with the top of the thigh and the sleeves to extend to the wrist bone.  The sleeves may be buttoned but stripes are not acceptable.

Collar: Navy or blue denim with three white stripes.  Should be worn with either navy or white jumper.  Black ribbon, tied in a bow, may be worn at the base of the v-neck.

Vest: To be white drill with square neck and bound with navy binding.

Trousers: To be made of the same material and to be the same colour as the jumper.  Bell-bottomed style, the circumference of the trouser bottoms to be two or three inches wider than the circumference of the knee. Trouser bottoms to be plain.

Socks: Plain white or navy.  

Footwear:  Black Highland dancing pumps.

Hair:  No visible hair adornments.


DRESS FOR IRISH JIG (Scottish Version)


Paddy Hat: A traditional country Irish hat.

Tail Coat: In red or green.

Waistcoat: In red or green in opposite colour to that of the coat.

Muffler: Red or green neckerchief.

Trousers: Knee breeches preferably in brown or khaki, corduroy or whipcord.

Socks: Long red or green.

Footwear: Black, red or green Irish Jig shoes.

Shillelagh: Weight 3-4 lbs.



Dress: White, red or green. White dress to be worn with waistcoat type bodice.

Bodice: Same shape as for Nationals, either red or green.

White Blouse: To be worn if dress is sleeveless.

Skirt: Red or green to be worn with white blouse and waistcoat type bodice also in red or green. The length same as for Nationals.   Skirt may also be worn with a blouse and cummerbund.  The length of the skirt or dress should be one to two inches above the knee for juveniles.  Adult dancers may prefer a longer skirt.

Cummerbund: Red or green may be worn with red or green dress or skirt.

Apron: A small white apron is worn with any of the options described above. A small shamrock will be permitted.

Underskirt: White only and preferably of cotton. These are not lifted during the dance and all ‘flouncing’ movements are done with the skirt of the dress.

Underwear: White.

Socks: Plain white or natural colored tights may be worn.

Footwear: Black, red or green Irish Jig shoes.

Hair: A plain ribbon may be worn.

Note: The dress is usually made of cotton or similar material.  Lurex fabrics should not be used nor should sequins or similar ornamentation.  These are not acceptable.