If you are looking for a kilt, then you’ve come to the right place. Kilts.com is the “home of the kilt” online, and we’re ready to advise you on what kilts to buy.
So let’s get started!
If you don’t know much about kilts, selecting a kilt can be quite a daunting process. With so many tartans available, aswell as styles of kilt, there are a multitude of options to consider. But don’t worry, the process is much easier than you will have probably expected! Especially with Kilts.com, as we have many years experience in the kilt industry to our name.
Simply follow these steps:
- Choose a style of kilt
- Choose a tartan (plaid)
- Choose the material you’d like your kilt to be made of
- Send us your measurements
- Choose some accessories
Before you go right ahead and look at the kilts for sale, lets learn a little bit about the origins of Scotland’s national dress. Kilts will forever be associated with Scotland, with the origins of this timeless, yet fashionable traditional dress going back many hundreds of years. So, what style of kilt should you choose?
Step 1 – Choose a kilt style – The “Great Kilt” or the “Modern Kilt”?
One kilt to consider is the “Great Kilt”. This is possibly the most authentic Scottish kilt you can buy. This was the original kilt that Scottish people wore when kilts were first used. In order to wear this kilt, it had to be laid out on the floor and rolled. As such, it is “untailored”, where more modern kilts that are now for sale are tailored to your own measurements. While the “Great Kilt” is not as popular to wear in recent times, this is how the kilt was originally worn.
More modern kilts tend to cover the lower part of the body, from the waist to just below the knees. These modern kilts have a couple of advantages compared to the “Great Kilt”, namely:
- Modern Kilts use less fabric – normally 4 yards of fabric, but this can vary.
- Because there is less fabric, the modern kilt is a lot easier to put on and take off compared to the “Great Kilt”.
- Modern Kilts use a waistband, which makes the kilt easier to fit, and is therefore a lot more comfortable.
At Kilts.com, we are able to offer both the “Great Kilt” and the “Modern Kilt”. It’s really up to you which style you prefer. Both styles are authentic and commonly used in Scotland.
There are also many casual kilts that have become available, which are more suited for everyday use. The “Great Kilt” and the “Modern Kilt” are more suited for formal occasions, such as a wedding for example. It is tradition for a Scottish man to be married in a kilt, normally wearing the tartan associated with their clan (family).
Step 2 – Choosing a Tartan – What Tartan should you select?
Once you have looked at the different styles of kilts that are available, and selected the style you like, you should then choose the tartan (plaid) that you’d like the kilt to have.
Tartan can be best described as the criss-cross pattern made up of different colors. Each unique pattern is then assigned a name, with many tartan designs being attributed to a family name (clan), such as McDonald or McPherson for example.
Back when kilts were first coming into prominence, each clan had a weaver that would make the kilts and these weavers governed how the kilt would look. These weavers drew inspiration from the local environment, often using the dyes of plants found in their area. Because of Scotland’s diverse fauna, and since the weavers had access to different plants compared to other communities, many different types of tartans were produced in order to reflect their area. As time went on, and dyes became more advanced, the tartan designs started to become more extravagant, which resulted in the colorful designs that we see today.
If you have searched for your family name and don’t like the tartan that your name is associated with, then don’t worry! There will also be many of you who will not have a tartan associated with your family name. Therefore, it might be a good idea to choose a neutral tartan that is representative of Scotland, such as the Blackwatch tartan, which is synonymous of the Scottish Kilt. Or, if you are from the USA, there are many tartans associated with the name of each state. Irish kilts are also another type of kilt to consider. We’re sure you’ll be able to find a tartan that you will love and that has special meaning to you.
Step 3 – Choosing the material of the kilt – Wool Kilts are Best
Traditional kilts are made of woven wool. This is often the most hard wearing material for a kilt, but is often the most expensive. If you are looking for an authentic kilt, then it is important for the kilt to be made of woven wool.
If you don’t have the budget for a traditional woven wool kilt, then there are other materials that a kilt could be made of, including polyviscose and acrylic based fabrics.
Step 4 – How to Measure Up for a Kilt
Often the most challenging procedure in the kilt buying process is getting measured up. Kilts that are made to measure will be a lot more comfortable for the wearer, and probably most importantly, will also look better aswell.
What you need to measure is:
- Waist – Measure the diameter of your waist at your bellybutton and record the measurement. This means putting a tape measure at the start point (the belly button) and wrap it round your waist until the tape measure comes back to the bellybutton.
- Hip – Take your waist measurement and add roughly 5 inches, and this will be your hip measurement. For example, if you have a 34” waist, then your hip measurement will be 39” (34+5=39)
- Length – Measure the length between your bellybutton and the middle of your knees.
While these kilt measurements are more applicable to males, women can and do wear kilts aswell. Some women prefer to wear a kilted skirt, which looks as equally as stylish and fashionable as the kilt. When a female is measuring for a kilt or kilted skirt, the only really notable difference will be the length of the garment, aswell as where it is placed on the waist. Kilted skirts, for example, measurements tend to be taken from the bottom part of the waist, rather than the bellybutton when males are being measured for a kilt.
Step 5 – Choose the Accessories for your Kilt
Once you have decided on the style, tartan, material of the kilt, and noted down your measurements, you are now in a position to think about accessories for your kilt.
Many people who wear a kilt often choose to wear something called a “Fly Plaid”. For those of you who don’t know what this accessory is, it is basically an elongated piece of fabric, almost like a scarf, which has the same tartan as your kilt. These “fly plaids” first came into prominence in the 18th century. This was also the time where “Modern Kilts” tended to become more popular than “Great Kilts”.
The Fly Plaid is worn by pinning the fabric to the chest of the kilt wearer, normally held in place with a brooch of some kind, and then draped over the wearers shoulder.
The next accessory to consider is the sporran. If you are going to wear an accessory, the sporran is possibly the most important to complete the look. A little known fact (even to Scottish people) is that the sporran is Gaelic for “purse”. This is traditionally where the wearers effects are stored, such as money, wallets and hip flasks. Sporrans are quite essential, as kilts are normally pocketless.
More modern sporrans are made of leather, but traditional sporrans were made out of animal fur. Sporrans are typically worn around the waist, and tend to drop a little so that they are hanging below the waist.
There are many more accessories to choose from aswell, such as sgian dhus.
We hope this guide has been helpful. Feel free to email us with any questions you may have.