Many of our customers on Kilts.com are new to wearing Scotland’s National Dress. This is why we have decided to write an article about how to wear a kilt to explain the basics. It can be quite confusing and daunting to really get your head around what to buy and how to wear it. Even us Scots get confused sometimes!
Don’t worry, our support staff are on hand to answer any questions you may have. For additional help, read our guide below as we explain how you can rock your look.
How to Wear a Kilt – The Ultimate Guide
Let’s start first with the kilt. If you decide to buy a 5 Yard Kilt, or an 8 Yard, all you need to do is wrap the kilt around your waist, making sure that the pleats are towards the back and the aprons of the garment neatly overlap in front of you. You will know you have fitted your kilt correctly if you notice that the fringes have fallen to the right. You should wear your kilt above your navel, which is slightly higher on the waist. You should notice that it should come down to the middle of your knee.
Shirt & Tie
There are different shirts and ties that you can wear. This of course depends on your style, and maybe even your tartan that you choose, as well as the occasion. The Highland shirt (also known as a Ghillie Shirt) is a loose-fitting shirt, which is normally worn during casual occasions. We would not recommend this shirt for a formal occasion. If you decide you’d like a traditional look, a standard wing collar shirt would be advisable. Central to the success of pulling off a standard wing collar shirt is to wear a bow tie. Although, it has become quite fashionable these days to wear a ruche tie.
Whatever shirt you decide to choose, make sure you tuck it in! We would be neglecting our how to wear a kilt guide if we didn’t include this advice.
Jacket & Vest
For the traditional look, we would highly recommend investing in the Prince Charlie Jacket and Vest. It is important your choice of jacket and vest matches the tartan of your kilt. For example, if you decide to buy a tweed kilt, you will most likely need to buy a Tweed Jacket and Vest.
Choosing the Kilt Accessories
Our “How to Wear a Kilt” guide wouldn’t be complete without taking a look at the accessories that you should wear. So without further ado, lets take a look at these in greater detail.
Belt and Buckle
Kilt belts and buckles are bigger and heavier in size that a belt you are probably used to. They are also a little wider. It is not possible to hold a kilt up with a normal belt that you wear with your jeans. To wear the belt properly, you will need to insert it through the loops on the waistband and fasten at the front, making sure you do so above the sporran.
Depending on your occasion, you will need to select a sporran. We have different types of sporrans, namely:
- Day Sporrans (for casual occasions)
- Semi Dress Sporrans (can be used both for informal and formal occasions)
- Dress Sporrans (ideal for formal occasions such as weddings)
- Hunting Sporrans (tend to be used by bands who wear the kilt)
- Horsehair Sporrans (tend to be used by the military)
To wear the sporran, simply use a sporran chain and wrap it around your waist. It should hang loosely around your mid rift.
This tends to be an “extra” purchase, and is used only for formal occasions. It will certainly make you stand our from other kilt wearers. It is important to match the tartan to your fly plaid tartan for a uniform look. To wear it, simply wear it over your left shoulder and secure with a brooch. Make sure your brooch is a fly plaid brooch.
The kilt pin is a great way to complete your look, and is generally used for decorative purposes and to add style to your overall outfit. It is possible to wear a kilt without a pin, but most people decide to wear the pin. Although, it does have a functional use as it prevents the kilt from blowing open, which is essential for a true Scotsman!
It is important however not to use your pin to keep your kilt closed, as this will alter the way the kilt hangs and damage it irreparably.
Flashes are worn with your kilt hose, and are used to prevent your socks from falling down. When wearing the flashes, make sure you hide the garter using the top of your hose. These are great for an authentic look. It is advisable to select tartan flashes which match your tartan. Alternatively, you can elect to buy standard flashes, which are solid in color. If your tartan is predominantly red, you should select red solid colored flashes.
It is important to select kilt hose that broadly matches the color of your tartan and accompanying jacket. To wear your hose correctly, you should wear them so they come up to just below the knee, with the top of the hose folded downwards. We have colored kilt hose and embroided kilt hose available.
The “Sgian Dubh“, pronounced “Skee n Doo”, is the most worn accessory after the sporran. The kilt knife should be tucked into your kilt hose, at the side of your calf. You can wear it on the left or on the right. When you wear your Sgian Dubh, the handle should be showing.
Lastly, we have our brogues. The footwear you choose will depend on your style. Endrick Ghillie Brogues are quite popular, as well as Culloden Ghillie Brogues. When you wear your brogues, it is important to tie the laces tight, as they will slip off if you don’t! Our top tip is to tie the laces in an over and under fashion (half-hitch knot) then twist the laces between 3 and 4 times, and carefully wrap the laces around your lower leg (around the calf area) twice before tying the laces to prevent movement.
If you have any questions that have arisen as a result of reading our “How to Wear a Kilt” guide, be sure to let us know!