The plaid was an essential part of Highland dress, serving as a kilt and cloak and blanket. It was made from twelve yards of double-width tartan and wound around the body to form a flexible all weather covering that kept the sword arm free.
The idea of cutting off the upper part of the belted plaid to make the “little kilt” is attributed to an Englishman, Thomas Rawlinson. The kilt reached only slightly above the waist, with the pleats stitched in the upper parts and fixed round the waist with a strap. Half a yard was left unpleated at each end. These ends crossed each other in front.
The kilt is a unique dress and, along with keeping old traditions and the pride of race alive, it is picturesque on the wearer. Its wear involves good behavior, self-respect and a determination never to disgrace it. No kilt ought ever to hang as low as the knee; however, it is better to have a kilt that is too short than to have one which is too long.
The Calgary Highlanders wear the Government tartan kilt pleated in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders pattern, so as to show the broad green stripe split by the narrow black line on each pleat. The kilt is box, not knife, pleated.