The Scotswoman

arasaidMuch is written and documented about the clothing worn by men in the Highlands but what about the women?
Most likely they wore the same styles as their sisters in Ireland. The main difference would be the wearing of the arasaid or belted plaid.

“The dress of the women seems to require some little notice. Till marriage, or till they arrived at a certain age, they went with the head bare, the hair being tied with bandages or some slight ornament, after which they wore a head-dress, called the curch, made of linen, which was tied under the chin; but when a woman lost her virtue and character she was obliged to wear a cap, and never afterwards to appear bare-headed. Martin’s observations on the dress of the females of the western islands may be taken as giving a pretty correct idea of that worn by those of the Highlands. ‘The women wore sleeves of scarlet cloth, closed at the end as men’s vests, with gold lace round them, having plate buttons set with fine stones. The head-dress was a fine kerchief of linen, start about the head. The plaid was tied before on the breast, with a buckle of silver or brass, according to the quality of the person. I have seen some of the former of one hundred merks value; the whole curiously engraved with various animals. There was a lesser buckle which was worn in the middle of the larger. It had in the centre a large piece of crystal. or some finer stone, of a lesser size.’ The plaid, which, with the exception of a few stripes of red, black or blue, was white, reached from the neck almost to the feet; it was plaited, and was tied round the waist by a belt of leather, studded with small pieces of silver.”
Social History of the Highlands, electricscotland.com

Today many women are wearing historically correct clothing to their local highland games. These articles focus on different topics of ladies highland fashion from ancient times to the proper way to wear the traditional sash.