Trews
Overview
 
Trews are men's clothing
Clothing
Clothing refers to any covering for the human body that is worn. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and is a feature of nearly all human societies...

 for the legs and lower abdomen, a traditional form of tartan trousers
Trousers
Trousers are an item of clothing worn on the lower part of the body from the waist to the ankles, covering both legs separately...

 from Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 apparel
Scottish apparel
The term Highland dress describes the traditional dress of Scotland. It is often characterised by tartan patterns in some form....

. Trews could be trimmed with leather, usually buckskin
Buckskin (leather)
Buckskin is the soft, pliable, porous preserved hide of an animal, usually deer, moose or elk or even cowhide tanned to order, but potentially any animal's hide,. Modern leather labeled "buckskin" may be made of sheepskin tanned with modern chromate tanning chemicals and dyed to resemble real...

, especially on the inner leg to prevent wear from riding on horseback.

Tartan
Tartan
Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns...

 trews shared the fate of other items of Highland dress, including proscription under the Dress Act of 1746 that banned Highlanders from wearing the truis ("Trowse"), and resurrection during the Romantic Revival.
The tartan truis or trousers date back to 1538 as a medieval style of woven tartan
Tartan
Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns...

 cloth trousers as a garment preferably used during the Highland winter where the kilt would be impractical in such cold weather.
Encyclopedia
Trews are men's clothing
Clothing
Clothing refers to any covering for the human body that is worn. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and is a feature of nearly all human societies...

 for the legs and lower abdomen, a traditional form of tartan trousers
Trousers
Trousers are an item of clothing worn on the lower part of the body from the waist to the ankles, covering both legs separately...

 from Scottish
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 apparel
Scottish apparel
The term Highland dress describes the traditional dress of Scotland. It is often characterised by tartan patterns in some form....

. Trews could be trimmed with leather, usually buckskin
Buckskin (leather)
Buckskin is the soft, pliable, porous preserved hide of an animal, usually deer, moose or elk or even cowhide tanned to order, but potentially any animal's hide,. Modern leather labeled "buckskin" may be made of sheepskin tanned with modern chromate tanning chemicals and dyed to resemble real...

, especially on the inner leg to prevent wear from riding on horseback.

Tartan
Tartan
Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns...

 trews shared the fate of other items of Highland dress, including proscription under the Dress Act of 1746 that banned Highlanders from wearing the truis ("Trowse"), and resurrection during the Romantic Revival.

Origins

The tartan truis or trousers date back to 1538 as a medieval style of woven tartan
Tartan
Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns...

 cloth trousers as a garment preferably used during the Highland winter where the kilt would be impractical in such cold weather. The word is triubhas in Scottish Gaelic. Truis or trews are anglicised spellings meaning trousers.

Traditional trews

Traditional trews were form-fitting garments, similar to the footed hose
Hose (clothing)
Hose are any of various styles of men's clothing for the legs and lower body, worn from the Middle Ages through the 17th century, when the term fell out of use in favor of breeches and stockings. The old plural form of "hose" was hosen...

 of the Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

, from which they probably evolved. They could be cut as Knee-breeches or full length.

These trews were cut on the cross-grain (US bias
Bias (textile)
The bias or cross-grain direction of a piece of woven fabric, usually referred to simply as "the bias" or "the cross-grain", is at 45 degrees to its warp and weft threads. Every piece of woven fabric has two biases, perpendicular to each other...

), which allowed the fabric to stretch sufficiently to mould to the body, and placed the tartan
Tartan
Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns...

 "sett" on the diagonal.

Traditional trews are actually long hose. These hose came all the way up to the waist and were attached to a linen cloth (NB: These were not trousers). They were fastened at the lower leg, below the knee, by a garter
Garter (stockings)
Garters are articles of clothing: narrow bands of fabric fastened about the leg, used to keep up stockings, and sometimes socks. Normally just a few inches in width, they are usually made of leather or heavy cloth, and adorned with small bells and/or ribbons...

 (the precursor to the flashes of the Highland Dress) as can be seen in the painting by David Morier of the Battle of Culloden
Battle of Culloden
The Battle of Culloden was the final confrontation of the 1745 Jacobite Rising. Taking place on 16 April 1746, the battle pitted the Jacobite forces of Charles Edward Stuart against an army commanded by William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, loyal to the British government...

. It is said in Scottish traditional folklore
Folklore
Folklore consists of legends, music, oral history, proverbs, jokes, popular beliefs, fairy tales and customs that are the traditions of a culture, subculture, or group. It is also the set of practices through which those expressive genres are shared. The study of folklore is sometimes called...

 that these triubhas were actually the common garment of the 16th to 18th Centuries in the Highlands
Scottish Highlands
The Highlands is an historic region of Scotland. The area is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish Highlands". It was culturally distinguishable from the Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands...

. It is also a fascinating note that when travelling, in order to avoid getting the trews wet when crossing streams, the Highlander
Gàidhealtachd
The Gàidhealtachd , sometimes known as A' Ghàidhealtachd , usually refers to the Scottish highlands and islands, and especially the Scottish Gaelic culture of the area. The corresponding Irish word Gaeltacht however refers strictly to an Irish speaking area...

 would wear shorter hose, ones that would only reach up to the knee, and wrap his "bed-garments" around his waist, a form of the Great Kilt
Belted plaid
The belted plaid is a large blanket-like piece of fabric which is wrapped around one's body with the material pleated or, more accurately, loosely gathered and secured at the waist by means of a belt...

.

Modern trews and military trews

Modern trews are more like trousers with the fabric cut on the straight grain but without a side seam
Seam (sewing)
In sewing, a seam is the join where two or more layers of fabric, leather, or other materials are held together with stitches. Prior to the invention of the sewing machine, all sewing was done by hand...

, and are often high-waisted, usually to be worn with a short jacket
Jacket
A jacket is a hip- or waist-length garment for the upper body. A jacket typically has sleeves, and fastens in the front. A jacket is generally lighter, tighter-fitting, and less insulating than a coat, which is outerwear...

, as an alternative to the kilt
Kilt
The kilt is a knee-length garment with pleats at the rear, originating in the traditional dress of men and boys in the Scottish Highlands of the 16th century. Since the 19th century it has become associated with the wider culture of Scotland in general, or with Celtic heritage even more broadly...

.

Colonel Sir John Sinclair of the Caithness, proved to his own satisfaction that "the truis" was an older dress than kilts.

Until the establishment of the Royal Regiment of Scotland in 2006, military trews were usually worn by members of the lowland Scottish
Scottish Lowlands
The Scottish Lowlands is a name given to the Southern half of Scotland.The area is called a' Ghalldachd in Scottish Gaelic, and the Lawlands ....

 regiments as part of their No 1, mess
Mess dress
Mess dress is the military term for the formal evening dress worn in the mess or at other formal occasions. It is also known as mess uniform and mess kit...

 and full dress uniforms. Members of highland Scottish
Scottish Highlands
The Highlands is an historic region of Scotland. The area is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish Highlands". It was culturally distinguishable from the Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands...

 regiments were usually authorized to wear kilt
Kilt
The kilt is a knee-length garment with pleats at the rear, originating in the traditional dress of men and boys in the Scottish Highlands of the 16th century. Since the 19th century it has become associated with the wider culture of Scotland in general, or with Celtic heritage even more broadly...

s with these orders of dress. However, all Highland regiments, in more recent times, wore trews with less formal orders of barracks and training dress. They were also part of the uniform of the composite regiment
Regiment
A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

 known as The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons)
The Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons)
The Highlanders, 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland is an infantry battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland.Prior to 28 March 2006, the Highlanders was an infantry regiment in its own right; The Highlanders , part of the Scottish Division...

 formed in 1994. The new Royal Regiment of Scotland comprises all the former Scottish infantry line infantry regiments and continues to wear trews in certain limited orders of dress.

Historically trews were part of the Highland cultural tradition, not Lowland. As such, when Lowland regiments became the first of the Scottish regiments to be formed in the mid-1660s to late 1680s, the Lowland soldiers wore standard British military uniform and had no desire to wear tartan items and march to the bagpipes, which they considered to be part of a foreign and savage culture. From these early beginnings up to 1881, the famous Lowland regiments (1st, 21st, 25th, 26th, 70th, 90th, 94th and 99th) wore standard English uniform.

Meanwhile, from 1739 onward, the Highland regiments which were raised insisted on the familiarity of their native dress and Great Highland war-pipes, albeit in a modified form to suit a British military identity, as part of their cultural identity. They wore the complex belted plaid and latterly, to encourage recruits unfamiliar with such garb, they adopted the simpler kilt. However, trews were increasingly worn as off-duty dress and even campaign dress from the late 18th Century. Highland regiments stationed in hot or unhealthy surroundings often took to wearing simple white cotton trousers or tartan trews. For example, the 91st Highland Regt of Foot wore trews during the Walcheren
Walcheren
thumb|right|250px|Campveer Tower in Veere, built in 1500Walcheren is a former island in the province of Zeeland in the Netherlands at the mouth of the Scheldt estuary. It lies between the Oosterschelde in the north and the Westerschelde in the south and is roughly the shape of a rhombus...

 campaign of 1809 and more famously, the 93rd Highland Regiment of Foot wore trews and round unfeathered Highland bonnets during the war of 1812–1815 against the USA, when taking part in the British campaign to capture New Orleans in January 1815 and during the disastrous Battle of Chalmette Plain itself (lithographs of the battle wrongly depict them wearing kilts).

In 1822, following King George IV's successful first visit to Scotland including a separate coronation, he ordered the resumption of Highland dress and traditions for one de-kilted regiment. The regiment chosen was the most senior of the de-kilted regiments, the 72nd. They adopted the Highland feather bonnet, the Highland version of the red coatee, but in lieu of kilts, they were ordered to wear trews for all duties. The tartan chosen was a new form of red or Royal Stewart called Prince Charles Edward Stuart, reflecting the new romantic fashion for all things Jacobite.

Due to the military use of trews by the Lowland regiments, the perception of trews as Lowland dress spilled over into civilian wear, so that for many years, trews began to be viewed as Lowland dress, rather than the Highland kilt. However, in recent years, a resurgence in Highland history and traditions has seen trews re-enter the Highland wardrobe, whilst interested Lowlanders have now encompassed these traditions within a wider Scottish template.

Highland dance

Today, the sideways kicking step of Scottish highland dancers performing the Seann Triubhas
Seann Triubhas
The Seann Triubhas is a Highland Dance that is believed to have originated from the rebellion of 1745, when England banned the Highlanders from wearing kilts. It is pronounced 'shenn troovass'....

 dance is said to symbolise the kicking off of the trews or trousers in favour of the kilt, though the trews can still be worn today during the colder months of the year, as shown in the picture below.

Considering that tartan trews were part of the Highland wardrobe for chieftains and gentlemen whilst on horseback (the large Highland ponies) from the early 17th century onward, it is more likely that the "Triubhas" in the dance represent English-style plain trousers (breeches
Breeches
Breeches are an item of clothing covering the body from the waist down, with separate coverings for each leg, usually stopping just below the knee, though in some cases reaching to the ankles...

), adopted under duress by Highlanders following the ban on their native Highland kilted dress effective from 1 August 1746 to its repeal on 1 July 1782.

Plus-fours and golf attire

Tartan
Tartan
Tartan is a pattern consisting of criss-crossed horizontal and vertical bands in multiple colours. Tartans originated in woven wool, but now they are made in many other materials. Tartan is particularly associated with Scotland. Scottish kilts almost always have tartan patterns...

 plus-fours are traditional golfing attire that are based on the traditional trews. These trousers extend 4 inches below the knee and are often worn with argyle
Argyle (pattern)
The argyle pattern is made of diamonds or lozenges. The word is sometimes used to refer to an individual diamond in the design but more commonly refers to the overall pattern. Most argyle layouts contain layers of overlapping motifs, adding a sense of three-dimensionality, movement, and texture...

 knee-socks. Plus-fours were popularized in the USA
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 by the Prince of Wales
Edward VIII of the United Kingdom
Edward VIII was King of the United Kingdom and the Dominions of the British Commonwealth, and Emperor of India, from 20 January to 11 December 1936.Before his accession to the throne, Edward was Prince of Wales and Duke of Cornwall and Rothesay...

during a 1924 visit. The full-length tartan trousers popular with many golfers are also based on trews, but are cut fuller for more freedom of movement and warmer climates.

External links

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