The Uniform


The uniform of the Northwest Territorial Pipe Band is typical of pipe bands.  In the past it was much more elaborate with spats, flying plaids, doublets and feathered bonnets.  Some pipe bands still dress in this manner but as the Northwest Territorial Pipe Band is a volunteer society, there is no need for this type of expense.  The band uniform order of dress is as follows:

  • Glengarry hat - always with a red pompom.  For pipers the band is black.  For drummers the band is chequered red and white.  Member must purchase.
  • Cap Badge - the Northwest Territorial Pipe Band crest - a narwhal with a compass rose inside a garter.  Member must purchase from Band.
  • Band Tie - a simple black tie with the Northwest Territorial Pipe Band crest on it.  Should be tied with a neat half Windsor knot.  Member must purchase from Band.
  • Argyle Jacket - the Band has some of these in smaller sizes.  Member may purchase or may borrow one of the Band's jackets.
  • Commissioner's Pin - may be worn on left lapel if awarded to member by the Commissioner.  Other pins may be worn if approved of by the Band.
  • Medals - if one has these, they may be worn in accordance with standards set out by Rideau Hall.  Only worn at very formal parades or formal evening events.
  • Shirts
    • White, Long Sleeve - Should be clean and pressed.  Member must purchase.
    • White, Short Sleeve - Should be clean and pressed.  Member must purchase.
    • Black, Long Sleeve - Should be clean and pressed.  Member must purchase.
    • Golf Shirt - Navy blue with crest on chest.  Should be clean and pressed.  Member must purchase.
    • Relaxed, Long Sleeve - Black with fancy logo on back.  Should be clean and pressed.  Member must purchase.
  • Pull-over - Dark blue with crest on chest.  Member must purchase.  
  • Kilt - Northwest Territorial Tartan.  Member may borrow from Band or purchase own.
  • Kilt Pin - with the Northwest Territorial Pipe Band crest and sword.  Used to hold the flap of the kilt down.  
  • Belt - Black, leather.  Member may borrow from Band or purchase own.
  • Sporran and Chain - Black, leather, cow hide.  This is a "purse" that hangs in the front of the kilt.  Member may borrow from Band.
  • Hose - White, piper's hose.  Should extend to mid-calf.  Should be clean.  Member must purchase.
  • Garters/Flashes - Red flashes suspended mid-calf and partially hidden by hose.  Should have a V cut out (burgee).  Member may borrow from band, purchase or fabricate own.  
  • Gillie Brogues - Any brogues will do.  Must be black and polished.  Gillie brogues are traditional.  Member must purchase.
  • Sgian-dubh (dagger) - Worn in the left hose with or with a stone in the handle.  Could be functional.  Recommend dull blade for safety.  Member must purchase.
  • Raincoat - a plastic raincoat is useful if playing in the rain.  This is optional.  Member must purchase.

Obtaining the Band Uniform

There are several options for obtaining the Pipe Band uniform:

  • You may go to highland pipe band outfitters.  There are many of these around including Tartantown, Island Bagpipe and so forth.  If you order with the Band, you might be able to make use of the Band discount.
  • You may obtain bits and pieces from other stores, including charity shops.  If you can get your hands on ex-Navy dress shirts, these can be used as part of the Pipe Band uniform (less any insignia).  
  • You can make your own items.  Generally this is difficult but in the case of garters/flashes, this is fairly easy to do.
  • You may borrow the Band's items.  Subject to availability, you may be able to borrow items from the Band.  You will be responsible to the Band for maintaining these items in good condition and are responsible for their replacement if lost or damaged.  Items returned need to be dry cleaned.  A deposit may be required, particularly in respect of a kilt or jacket, because of their replacement value.

Wearing the Band Uniform

The Scottish Tartan Authority has a guide to wearing modern highland dress: .  Highland outfitters also have online guides, such as: .  

Maintenance of the Band Uniform

When in the Band uniform, try to make sure that the uniform is clean, in good repair and neatly pressed.  All members should be dressed the same with minimal variation.  Although we are not military or para-military, presentation is a major part of performance - and it is assessed at piping competitions.  Looking the part is a major part of playing the part.  Many in the Band have prior military experience and can show members how to maintain their uniforms.