Kilt outfit accessories & how to wear them – A master guide
Wearing a kilt outfit is something we recommend everyone ticks off their bucket list and for most Scots a kilt outfit will be a go to wardrobe staple for special occasions. Highland wear is all about the details and is something we don’t skip out on at Houston kiltmakers.
Many people new to highland wear don’t realise all the accessories and details that really bring your outfit together and that can be overwhelming for some, well not to worry this guide covers all things kilt outfit accessories.
This guide will focus purely on accessories and any guidance on putting on your kilt outfit and accessories , please see our How to wear a kilt blog.
So how do we pick the accessories? –
The kilt –
The kilt is the heart of your outfit pulling focus and the most important aspect to build the outfit around. Its best to style your accessories to match and tie the outfit together and accessories really do make an impact to your outfit.
Things to keep in mind, with your kilt has a centreline and that should be used to ensure your kilt is sitting properly and centred. When wrapping your kilt you want the inside apron to sit buckled on the inside with the pleats wrapping round the back meeting at the front apron buckle. Your front apron should be sitting straight and centred and ensure your inside apron isn’t hanging below your front apron.
The jacket –
Jackets allow you to style your kilt up or down for any occasion, there are two main types of jacket normally opted for.
Black jackets – Most popular styles being Prince Charlie jackets and Argyll Braemar jackets with matching waistcoats. Both are ideal for formal occasions and look good with various button finishings. About half of people go for this style of jacket. These types of jackets are typically paired with batwing collar shirts for a formal event.
Day jackets – The other half tend to go for day jackets, typically tweed jackets that come in 100s of colourways and can tie a real colour story together in your outfit. Day jackets are more for semi formal / casual occasions but still look really sharp and put together in a kilt outfit. There’s multiple button options for these styles of jacket. Which are typically paired with a standard collar shirt for semi casual event.
Your sporran is one of the most important features of your outfit as it sits front and centre creating a focus on your outfit. We offer a wide array of sporrans with all kinds of furs, cantles, and details.
Types of sporran –
The dress sporran is perfect for your formal occasions as its “dressier” and more traditional to style a dress sporran for formal events such as weddings or black-tie dinner or gatherings.
A dress sporran is a full fur sporran with a metal cantle. there’s a wide array of furs and cantle customisation along with tassels but this will depend on your tartan. Your accessories and finishing touches will be typically styled for your kilt.
Semi dress sporran:
A semi dress sporran is the middle ground of the 3 sporran options and is ideal for semi formal occasions. This sporran can be styled for formal and informal events.
The semi dress sporran consists of a leather flap and trim with fur and tassels. There’s a wide range of semi dress sporrans from different furs to leather detailing and tassels.
The day sporran is ideal for informal events or casual wear. Crafted entirely from leather, there are lots of different types of day sporran from leather variations, embossing, tassels and detailing.
The day sporran is fully leather and features no fur or cantle as its more for informal occasions. Traditionally this would be for day to day wearing of a kilt, however as this is less common and most would only wear a full outfit for events it is mainly worn now for attending sporting events such as rugby or football matches.
How to wear a sporran:
The hardest part of the kilt outfit to put on is the sporran and typically requires another person to help fasten the sporran and correct its positioning. Your sporran should sit in the middle in line with the centreline of your kilt.
After putting on your shirt , kilt and socks, put your sporran on before your jacket and waistcoat to make it easier and always before your belt. Your sporran will have chain straps attached to it so while holding at the front with assistance have someone slide the chains through the belt loops at the back and fasten.
You can adjust the chain straps and positioning to ensure comfort and that your kilt is sitting centred and not too low. Positioning your chain straps to sit on top of your buckles allows more security and comfort on your sporran.
Belt and Buckle
Kilt belts are thicker and wider than an average belt. Belts come in a variety of leather options with some having additional embossing. Your buckle is interchangeable and we offer a wide array of different buckle options and finishings. Although most people wear all the accessories in their kilt outfit, a belt is buckle is only necessary if your not wearing a waistcoat.
You wear your belt by sliding it through your back belt loops and hooking at the front. All the belts are adjustable and come in a wide range of sizes. There should be approximately a thumb width between the buckle and top of the sporran to prevent them bumping together.
Fly Plaid & Brooch
A fly plaid is commonly known as a shoulder plaid and is secured with a plaid brooch. Shoulder plaids are commonly seen on grooms and for individual special occasions. Your shoulder plaid is typically in the same tartan as your kilt to match and is worn through the epaulette of your jacket and secured with the brooch. The plaid drapes, then over your shoulder and elevates your whole highland wear outfit to another level.
Shoulder plaids usually bring attention to the wearer and aren’t usually worn for semi formal, day wear or for guests unless its a special occasion for yourself i.e. being a groom , award acceptance , special dinners.
Shoulder plaid brooches come in a variety of designs, finishings, stones, and clan crest variations, perfect to tie those details within the outfit.
The kilt pin is one of the most important accessories as its got a purpose as well as being decorative. Kilt pins are made from solid metals and are pinned to only your front apron to weigh the corner down so your kilt aprons don’t fly about in the wind and maintain your modesty at your event as we all know the Scottish weather can be unpredictable.
Kilt pins come in multiple finishes and design options including clan crest items. Wearing a kilt pin styled with your other accessories ties in the details and makes the whole look more cohesive.
Where do I pin my kilt pin? –
Your kilt pin should only pass through the material of your front apron and be located on the far left bottom corner (the fringed edge) and sit approximately one inch from the hem edge and one inch in from the fringed edge.
Kilt hose refers to a special type of socks typically worn with any kilt outfit. Kilt hose are thicker than regular socks and designed to sit just below the knee with the edge folded over. There are loads of hose colours to chose from including designs but are styled to go with your chosen tartan or tweed.
You should ensure your socks are straight, not twisted and sitting no higher than the bottom of the knee.
Flashes are elasticated garter like accessories that go under the fold of your socks leaving two flashes ( tartan material ) just hanging out of the fold. Flashes come in a pair and clip on and off , with the elastic being adjustable to ensure they are comfortable and not going to fall down.
Flashes can be in plain colour or the same tartan as your kilt. Flashes should be positioned on the outer side of your calf and have the flashes sit together with a small gap.
A Sgian Dubh is a decorative accessory and a key part of the outfit as it is the small details that tie the whole outfit together. A Sgian Dubh is put down your socks about half way on the side of your calf on your dominant leg. The Sgian Dubh handle should be seen from the side and not hidden under the kilt hose.
We have a wide range of Sgian Dubhs to offer with different finishings, colourways, stones and metal detailing including clan crests.
There are two main types of Sgian Dubh :
Day Sgian Dubh –
Designed for less formal events.
Typically featuring leather blade covers with variations of handles including stag horn, oak and many more. Day Sgian Dubhs tend to have more subtle details like leather embossing.
Dress Sgian Dubh –
Dress Sgian Dubhs are more detailed and ideal for formal events.
Dress Sgian Dubhs are very variated and can be made with many materials , colours , stones, clan crest, metal tops and plating. Some designs also feature embossed designs or sculpted shapes.
Brogues are the standard footwear for highland wear outfits , brogues come in two main variations , day brogues and ghillie brogues, the main difference being brogues have normal laces and ghillie brogues are designed to be tied above the ankle and just below the caff with tassels on the laces.
Brogues can be styled for a multitude of occasions beyond just your highland wear outfit. Investing in a good pair of Brogues means they can last you a lifetime with proper care.
There are day brogues , semi formal and formal brogues but comes down to design , material and occasion. If you’re going to a casual event you could even wear boots with your kilt outfit. Brogues come in a variation of leather types, grains, finishings, and colourways.
Ghillie brogues tend to be for more formal events and the laces are tied around the ankle and lower calf to prevent them getting muddy or being tripped on. They are probably more widely worn than day brogues.
We even offer bespoke tartan brogues & ghillie brogues to tie in your kilt tartan with your shoes.
If you need any guidance on how to put on your kilt outfit accessories please see our How to wear a kilt blog or if you have any additional questions or enquires feel free to see us instore or alternatively call us at 0141 889 4879 or email us at [email protected]