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Kirkintilloch Town and Parish
Dress in 1770


“From old engravings round hats appear to have been worn so early as 1770, but they were not generally adopted till twenty years later. Cocked hats and plain worsted bonnets were worn before. Wigs and hair powder went out together at the same time as the cocked hat, though here and there an old gentleman was found who so far compromised with innovations as to retain his peruke, long after he adopted the new hat. About this period (says Dr. Strang) the dress of gentlemen was generally more showy than elegant. They wore coats which were of blue, gray, or mixture cloth, invariably unbuttoned, which permitted the wearers to display in full force their rather gaudy waistcoats. Their shirts, which were also pretty conspicuous, were ornamented with a broad frill at the breast and wrists; and around the neck was tied a large, white, stuffed ned-cloth, which generally covered the whole chin. Tight buttoned drab breeches, white stockings and shoes with buckles, were the almost invariable order of the day, except in wet weather, and then a pair of black ‘ spats,’ or half boots were worn.

“The ladies were not so elegantly attired when out of doors as they are now. A long, narrow, black silk cloak, trimmed with black lace, was the common dress of the married, and a dark or coloured spencer of the young and single.

“Parasols were almost unknown; but in their stead was used a fan, sometimes two feet long when closed, and suspended from the wrist by a ribbon. In defiance of all the laws of physiology, ladies of 1 the mode' wore heavy beaver hats and calashes in the dog days, and with equal consistency, adorned themselves with a silk bonnet of the smallest size in winter.

“But it is in the garb of the common people—particularly of servant girls—that a change is observable as compared with the practice now prevailing. It was then the custom for the generality of female servants to go about without either shoes or stockings; and they were not allowed to wear a long dress, except on Sundays, and even then were limited to the commonest fabric that could be procured. In most kitchens there hung a then common article of dress, a dark brown duffle cloak, with a hood attached to it, and this was used indiscriminately by the servants in stormy weather.”

Umbrellas were first introduced to Glasgow in 1782 by Dr. Jamieson, but people were slow in adopting them—considering their use as effeminate—and trusted more to their plaids.

A minister of Dumbartonshire—who had one of the two umbrellas in his parish—was visited one evening by one of his elders, a farmer, who stayed till rather a late hour. When the guest was leaving, heavy rain was falling and the farmer was induced, much against his will to take the minister’s umbrella. On reaching home neither he nor his wife could take down the umbrella, and the house door was too narrow to allow it to enter in its expanded shape. The umbrella was consigned to the cart-shed for the night; and next day a horse and cart and two men took it home, still up, the one man driving the horse, and the other holding the umbrella, to prevent its being blown away.


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