The piper’s “No.1 Full Highland Dress” was originally worn by pipers of the historic Highland regiments. “No.1s” were then adopted first by the Govan Police, and when pipe bands took off in the early 20th century, by numerous other police, colliery and civilian pipe bands. Indeed, the No.1 Full Highland Dress was worn by virtually all Scottish pipers and pipe bands until the 1980s when the Strathclyde Police Pipe Band adopted “Day Dress” as their bagpiper uniform due to the No.1 dress being so heavy, impractical, and not to mention very expensive to purchase and maintain. However, as practical as Day Dress is, it provides nowhere near the visual spectacle as a piper dressed smartly in No.1 Full Highland Dress. This is why bagpipers wearing No.1 dress are highly sought after to play at prestigious events.
I wear three No.1 Dress uniforms – My mother’s tartan, Ancient Mackay, the Mackenzie of Seaforth as worn by the Seaforth Highlanders and Highland Light Infantry regiments, and the Cameron of Loch Erracht originally worn by the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders.
My bagpiper uniform is the Full No.1 Highland Dress when playing at weddings and most other events. I do wear Day Dress when playing as a funeral piper, where I feel it’s approriate to be a bit more understated. If you have a preference for a particular tartan, please do let me know.