Choosing a tartan can be a difficult task for many, simply because there are so many different tartans available. You may have decided on your own clan tartan, but even then, there will be different versions of a clan tartan such as Hunting and Dress. Alternatively, you may want to select a design that looks good on you as an individual, as not every tartan is directly associated with a clan or location. We think you should wear any tartan that you like! With this in mind, we thought we’d answer our most common questions that we get from our customers.
Choosing a Tartan – FAQ
What Tartan Should I Get?
By far and away the most common question we receive is this. The simple answer to this question is that you can wear any tartan that you see fit. You don’t have to worry about insulting anyone if you wear a particular tartan. We are a laid back race us Scots!
There is only one tartan that you should stay clear of, and that is the Balmoral Tartan, which should only be worn by the British Royal Family. Regardless of whether you have any Scottish heritage or not, we believe there will be a tartan that you will love!
How to Find a Particular Tartan?
When you click on a particular product, such as the 8 Yard Kilt or the Custom Woven Tartan Kilt, there will be an option to select your tartan from the database for that particular product. It is important to note that some products will have some tartans that another product might not have available, so make sure you go to the product page and view the tartan database for that product.
For further information, you may wish to browse the Tartans Authority to find a tartan that you have a personal connection with. It is recommended that you check different variations of your name. For example, if you want the McPherson tartan, search for Macpherson.
What is the Difference Between Ancient, Modern, Weathered, Dress and Hunting Tartans?
You will quickly realize that there are different variations of each clan tartan. Below we go through the details of each version.
Ancient tartans tend to be a lot lighter and softer than more modern tartans. For example, an orange on a modern tartan would look more red on an Ancient tartan. Similarly, the greens and blues of a modern tartan wouldn’t be as vibrant and colorful on the Ancient tartan. The lighter coloring of the Ancient tartan makes the pattern easier to be seen.
A common misconception is that an Ancient tartan is a lot older in terms of date than a Modern tartan. In fact, the “ancient” derives from the lighter coloring of the tartan compared to a Modern Tartan, so it is made to look like it was made by natural dyes, which our ancestors used to use. Below is the Gallagher Ancient Tartan.
You will notice straight away that Modern tartans are much bolder and stronger than the Ancient tartans. It is common for the Modern tartan to share a sett with the Ancient tartan, but with darker and more powerful coloring. Most Modern tartans will have navy, instead of blue, and the reds especially will be a lot deeper on the eye. This results in the pattern of a Modern Tartan often being a lot more difficult to pick out. The naming of the “Modern” tartan is not because it was created recently, it is because these tartans look darker due to the advent of dyes and chemical dyes in the late 19th century.
Weathered tartans are so called because they are made to look like they have been exposed to the elements. Back when the kilt was originally worn, kilt wearers used to wear the garment for many months, and in that time, the coloring of the tartan became faded due to the wind and rain, as well as the sun. This is a great look if you are going for authenticity, or even a more rustic look. Below is the Bute Heather Weathered Tartan.
Dress tartans are commonly worn by Highland Dancers, but they were originally inspired by the earasaids worn by Scottish women in the latest 17th and early 18th centuries. Nowadays, the dress tartans are worn by both male and females for all occasions, so don’t be worried by choosing a tartan such as this. Below is the Akins Dress Tartan.
Hunting tartans take inspiration from nature. The tartans were created so the kilt wearer could blend into the surrounding environment. For example, if the hunter roamed the forests, there would be a lot of greens and browns. You will notice that clans who already have lots of greens and browns in their other versions of tartan will not have a Hunting tartan. If you want to wear a Hunting tartan kilt, we would recommend you wear a Tweed Jacket with it for a truly unique look. Below is a Hunting tartan for MacGregor.
I have chosen my favorite tartan, how do I select a cloth?
Once you’ve selected a tartan from the database for your chosen product, there will be an option to select the weight. The weight varies depending on the thickness of the cloth for the kilt you select. Our standard kilts usually make use of 13oz of material, but if you are looking for a ligther kilt, 11oz of material should be your chosen weight. If you are looking for a particularly heavy kilt, then you may wish to go for a 16oz kilt.
We hope you have found our “Choosing a Tartan” guide useful in your search for the perfect tartan. Should you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us and we can recommend the perfect tartan for you.