1. PURPOSE: The purpose of this dress code is to establish a reasonable code of dress for the embers of the Scottish-American Military Soceity (SAMS). It is intended to be a guideline for the wearing of U.S. or foreign articles of uniform and decorations when the SAMS member is kilted, or in any way representing the Society. If you are wearing or displaying any SAMS identification, you are representing SAMS.
2. APPROPRIATE DRESS: whether daywear or eveningwear is appropriate is determined by the degree of formality of the occasions, not by the clock. Daywear is appropriate for all by formal occasions where a tuxedo or full dress civilian/military attire would be required.
3. KILT OR TREWS: A member may wear any kilt or trews of his/her clan, regiment, region of Scottish origin or appropriate “general” tartan. When a member wears his/her kilt, he/she should keep in mind the circumstances (formal, field, dance, etc.) pertaining and dress with the appropriate accessories. Members should keep in mind that the proper length of the kilt is one (1) inch above the center of the kneecap. A kilt is usually worn a bit higher at the waist than ordinary trousers.
4. FOOTGEAR: Hose of the appropriate color, pattern and material should be worn befitting the formality of the occasion. Skean Dhu and flashes are encouraged. Plain brown or black leather shoes for day or field wear and black patent leather shoes with or without a silver buckle are recommended for dress as are the traditional Ghillies. Such footgear as sneakers, sandals, running shoes and jungle or combat boots are not authorized wear except for valid medical reasons.
5. BELT: Plain brown or black leather is preferred for daywear and black leather and silver buckle for evening wear. The belt should be approximately two (2) inches wide with military, clan or other appropriate buckle. Military web belts of appropriate colors may be worn with military jacket of shirt, or as considered appropriate for the occasion.
6. SPORRAN: Plain brown or black leather in keeping with the color of the shoes and kilt belt is suggested for day wear. Fur or silver decorated black leather are recommended for evening wear. The regimental (horsehair) sporran is normally reserved for pipers, other bandsmen and those wearing full regimental dress.
7. SIDE ARMS: In keeping with both Scottish and military historical tradition, virtually any edged side arm is appropriate for wear at the waist. Replica black powder firearms, either flintlock or percussion, are authorized for wear as appropriate but flintlock weapons are more historically representative of Scottish and early American firearms than others. Firearms other than black powder type should not be worn or displayed by
members at Scottish gatherings, games or parades. The display of dirks, skean dhus, or other form of weapons, must conform with current area laws applicable to their possession and or carry.
8. SHIRT: The uniform shirt of the member’s service could be worn, either long or short sleeved by season or preference. As an alternative, a ‘police’ or ‘aviator’ type shirt may be worn (in any appropriate color). Over dress should be military in nature and appropriate to the season and such items as ‘wolly pully’, British service sweaters are suitable, ‘Ike’ jacket, British battle dress jacket are suggested. Fatigue, utility and camouflage shirts are deemed inappropriate.
9. RIBBONS AND BADGES: Authorized ribbons, medals, specialty and/or qualifications badges may be worn in accordance with the manner prescribed for the member’s branch in keeping with the formality of dress. Decorations and/or ribbons should not be worn with civilian dress. Miniature medals should be reserved for formal occasions with the tunic or Prince Charlie. In keeping with uniform regulations of all branches of the armed services, civilian badges, patches, emblems, etc., are not to be worn on items of military dress; this would include, i.e., piping/drumming awards. This rule does not apply to the use of Scottish clan or other emblems on the bonnet, belt, kilt pin, sgian dubh, etc., when worn with military dress. Members not currently on active duty or drill-status reserves should not wear grade (rank) or branch (i.e., crossed rifles) insignia. We are a ‘rank less’ society. Active duty or active reserve members may wear their shirts/jackets in accordance with their service’s regulations and in this case, worn ‘sterile’ (i.e., no SAMS patches or badges).
10. SAMS PATCH and BADGE: The SAMS patch is the official designation of active membership in the Society. As such, the patch is to be worn on uniform items of active service members in keeping with the uniform regulation so their branch of service. For non-currently serving members, it is recommended that the patch be worn centered on the left shoulder, one-half inch to one inch below the shoulder seam; the pin-badge centered on the shirt epaulets. The SAMS pin-badge, when worn on civilian attire, is worn as if it were a clan crest badge. For military attire, the pin-badge may be worn on the shoulder loops or collar points in lieu of grade or branch insignia.
11. HEADGEAR: The Balmoral, Glengarry or similar Scottish headgear is appropriate with the clan badge or the SAMS cap badge or and appropriate regimental crest if you are entitled to it. Helmet liners, current issue military caps or hats are inappropriate except where medical conditions may require shade. No member may wear one to three eagle feathers unless authorized by the Lord Lyon, King of Arms.
12. SAMS LADIES: Ladies of Scottish birth or descent who served, or are serving, in the American or Commonwealth military forces should, when applicable, follow the guidelines set forth in this dress code. Service award, decorations and clan crest and badges, along with the SAMS patch and badge are worn for recognition. As specified for male members, military decorations and badges are not to be worn on civilian attire. An exception is the wearing of miniature medals with formal Scottish evening dress. A kilted skirt in a tartan appropriate to the individual is suggested for day wear. The tartan sash is most appropriate for evening wear and is often seen worn with civilian daywear. The traditional ways a sash is worn by Ladies are as specified by the Lord Lyon, King of Arms. Clans’ women wear the sash over the right shoulder fastened with a sash brooch. This is the way the sash is most often seen worn. Ladies married out of their clan but wearing their original clan tartan were the sash over the right shoulder secured with a pin and fastened with a bow on the left hip.
13. WOMEN VETERANS and BAGPIPE BAND MEMBERS: Female veterans of the American or Commonwealth Armed Forces are authorized to wear the kilt of their clan or any national kilt. Awards and decorations are allowed as prescribed by all service component and Commonwealth dress attire for veterans and retirees. All female veterans shall follow the dress code prescribed in paragraphs 2-12 above.
14. SUMMARY: This dress code specifies the wear of military items with Scottish attire by members of this Society. In all cases, this dress code defers to current service regulations on the subject and to all rules of Lord Lyon. The basic rule is simple good taste.