It is believed that Border dancers disguise dates back to the time of "Tied workers" (the house is tied to the job) when during slack times money could be made at fairs dancing and playing music. The workers would be evicted if caught by the squire therefore they used materials close to hand - rags and coal dust to disguise themselves.
We however -just like making an exhibition of ourselves!
So we wear red and yellow to signify fire and explosions.
Our rag jackets have a black base and are decorated with long rag tatters in red, yellow, gold and other ‘fire colours’. A selection of sparkly materials in the relevant colours adds to the ‘fiery’ effect when we dance.
We disguise ourselves by wearing face paint in the colours of our rag jackets:
We wear decorated black top hats - these are stylised by the wearer with feathers, flowers, and anything else that come to hand!
And finally to finish our ensemble bell pads are worn on the legs with more tatters (in similar colours to the rag jacket).
Under all that we wear:
Black long sleeved top
Black heavy shoes or boots