The Basics for Wearing a Kilt

So gentlemen, ever wondered what you absolutely need to be able to wear a kilt vs. what elements are just nice add-ons?

Well, we’ve created some handy GIFs and lists to help!  This week, we’ll cover the basics and next week provide a list of the pieces that can enhance your attire.

GIF showing attire worn with a kilt

The “Basics” List

1. Dress shirt – Make sure the colour doesn’t clash with your kilt. Depending on where you’re going, a t-shirt would be okay too.

2. Kilt – It doesn’t have to be in your family’s tartan but it’s always nice as people will ask what tartan you’re wearing and the significance of it. If you’re looking to purchase a kilt, we recommend that you go for one that’s at least a medium-weight wool tartan as it will hold the pleats well and not get too wrinkled.

3. Hose (aka socks) – Hose are thick knitted socks that fold down at the top to end about 1.5″ below the bottom of your knee. The colour you pick should compliment the colour of your kilt and shirt.

Tip – if your shoes allow, wear athletic socks under your hose to avoid poking a hole in the toe. This tends to happen given the looseness of the knitted yarn.

Man's leg in kilt hose with Sgian Dubh

4. Flashes – These are what hold the hose up. Each flash consists of an elastic band with two pieces of ribbon hanging down. The ribbon can be one solid colour, complimenting your kilt, or the tartan itself (like shown above).

The flashes sit on top of your hose, just below the knee and Velcro around your leg. The top of the hose then folds over, hiding the elastic and leaving only the ribbon exposed.

5. Sporran – The Scottish man purse, a necessity since you don’t have any pant or jacket pockets. Fastened around the waist with a chain belt, a sporran is meant to sit a hand’s width below your belly button.

Tip – Sporrans are available at a variety of price points. The most budget friendly are the all leather “day sporrans”.

Belt, Sporran and Kilt Upclose

6. Belt – This is not the kind of belt you wear with pants. The buckle and belt are much wider, at least 2″ wide. Not all kilts are made with belt loops, but if yours is, it will only have two or three along the back. The top of the belt should run along the top of your kilt.

Tip – If you add a vest or waistcoat to your attire, you do not wear a belt.

7. Tie – This item is simple. Pick one that compliments the colour of your kilt and shirt. If you’re feeling fancy, a bowtie would work too.

8. Dress shoes –  Wear the dress shoes you have, as long as they match the rest of your attire. If you’re going to buy a pair, make sure to leave a bit of wiggle room to account for the thickness of your hose.

Now, all put together it looks like…

Man modeling kilt

Happy kilt wearing! Tune in next week as we add embellishments to really spiff things up.

— Emily and Andrew

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