Standards & Building Your Impression


We have tried to outline, in a concise manner, the easiest way to begin building an impression for a Scottish Highlander from 1736-1746. These standards and suggestions are drawn from years of research both in the library and in the field. This section is not intended to provide extensive documentation, but to be a resource for those unfamiliar or just beginning their journey. As we develop the site more fully, please visit our Blog and follow the links below for more in-depth discussions of some the topics addressed here.

Building a lady’s impression will be addressed in the future.

Understanding One’s Place in the World

Put simply Highlanders’ weapons and clothing reflected their station in life. “Pretty Men” were considered those who had the full compliment of weapons and were dressed in finery and colors. However, the vast majority of Highlanders in the 18th century were not so pretty, but were of “the meaner sort”. Most families were poor tenant farms and had very little disposable income to invest in weapons and fine clothes. That being said, we know that the Highlanders in Georgia were clothed and equipped in order to make them an effective military unit. In order to refelect the full range of Highlanders in society, we generally break impressions up into four basic categories:

  1. Ghillies or “Rear Rankers”;
  2. The “Middling Sort”;
  3. Lesser-Gentry; and
  4. Tacksmen.

Where do I start?

We understand, and hope that you will learn, that recreating any period of history requires an investment of time and money. As you begin the journey, our members are happy to assist you in loaning gear and providing guidance on making or obtaining your own. After attending an event or two, we will require that you furnish certain items for your impression.

One of the great benefits about representing Highlanders, as opposed to a regular military unit, is that you can start with a relatively small kit and build up as you go. Indeed, the vast majority of Highlanders would not have been blessed with all of the clothing and weapons displayed by the wealthy clan chiefs.

Required Items:


  1. Bonnet- Blue Bonnet, knitted/felted preffered, but sewn wool broadcloth is acceptable. Silk or linen cockades of white (for Jacobite impressions) or red (for Independent Co. impressions) are allowed. No pompoms, dicing, Glengarry caps, or extravagant furs and feathers.
  2. Long-sleeved basic 18th century man’s shirt- acceptable fabrics include linen, hemp, osnaburg, or wool.
  3. Great Kilt-  4-6 yards of 100% wool tartan tartan, 13 oz weight recommended. Clan Tartans did not exist in this time period, but to honor our individual ancestors, many of us have chosen to wear tartans with a familial significance. We recommend selecting “ancient”, “weathered”, or “muted” variants, if available. These bear a greater resemblance to tartans of the period.
  4. Leather Belt- should be genuine leather with period correct brass or iron buckle;
  5. Sporran- must be of period construction in leather or fur.
  6. Short Hose- Sewn Tartan hose are most correct, but some knitted hose are acceptable in specific circumstances.
  7. Shoes- Buckle shoes, Scottish Common shoes, cut American Civil War style brogans, or currans are all acceptable. Modern “Ghillie Brogues” and knee-high fantasy boots are not acceptable.


  1. Dirk, Dagger or Belt knife- must be of period correct design and materials. Dirks strongly preferred.
  2. Hide away knife- similar to modern “sgian dubh”. Must be of 18th materials and design. This knife will serve as your camp and utility knife for chores and eating.
  3. Cup- horn, wood, copper or tin suggested. Ceramic also permitted.
  4. Bowl- wood or pewter preferred.
  5. Noggin and/or Quaich- a combination bowl/cup that may be substituted for both.
  6. Spoon- wood, cast pewter, iron, or horn.
  7. Canteen- tin or copper kidney style preferred. Wooden, leather, and stainless steel are permitted (Stainless steel is anachronistic).


%d bloggers like this: