What should I wear to a Ceilidh?

Ceilidhs are an entertaining and key aspects of Scotland’s culture, celebrated all year round. Ceilidhs bring Scots and people together to celebrate, dance and unite in Scottish music and dance. Ceilidhs are a great place to embrace Scotland’s national dress by swinging your kilt on the dance floor. This blog covers what you could wear to a ceilidh.

What should I wear to a ceilidh

What actually is a Ceilidh?

If you have never been to a ceilidh your probably wondering what actually is it?, well a ceilidh is a little different from your usual party dancefloor. Ceilidhs can happen all year around or on special occasions sometimes after a dinner/ banquet.

Kilt for ceilidh

A ceilidh is essentially a dance event, sometimes following a dinner and is a type of dancing event based around Scottish music and dance. The dancing at a ceilidh can sometimes be referred to as a form of highland dancing or social dancing, and it involves a lot of partner and group dancing. Social dancing is often fast and upbeat with relatively easy to follow steps along to an energetic Scottish song, with the steps in repeated counts of 8 throughout the song.

A ceilidh is a Scottish cultural type of event and usually includes multiple aspects of Scottish culture including wearing highland clothing such as kilts, styling tartan accessories, table favours such as whisky and tablet.

A ceilidh involves a lot of dancing and as such there is multiple things you can wear, but most often opt for a kilt to allow freedom of movement.

Ceilidh attire

Traditional Ceilidh attire for men

When it comes to ceilidhs there is not actual rules, some may choose to have a dress code but depending on the occasion, most people wear what is comfortable for them.

Traditionally though, men would wear a highland wear kilt outfit as tribute to Scottish culture and identity. The majority of men will opt for a kilt to wear to a Ceilidh as of the nature of a kilt is ideal for dancing comfortably. Some men will opt for tartan trews instead of a kilt.

When opting for kilt outfit, this is typically be made up of a kilt, sporran, chain straps, kilt pin, Sgian Dubh, kilt hose, ghillie brogues, shirt, tie & jacket. If you are considering a ghillie shirt this would typically be worn without the jacket with the same outfit.

What do I wear to a ceilidh

Formal evening wear for a Ceilidh

Formal wear for a ceilidh typically entails, women wearing a gown or smart/dressy attire suitable for dancing. Men wearing kilt outfits will usually style these with a Prince Charlie jacket and bow tie for more formal occasions. Some will choose to opt for smart trousers and waistcoat together.

The essence of a ceilidh is to look smart for the occasion but still comfortable dancing and enjoy a night of Scottish music, food and culture.

Burns night ceilidh

Fashion Ceilidh clothing attire-

In all honestly there is no rules on what to wear to a ceilidh, most venues/events will clarify if they have a specific dress code but otherwise you can wear whatever your comfortable to dine and dance in. Although its expected to be dressed smart some men will just choose to wear a nice shirt / jumper with smart trousers. Some women will opt for a smart blouse with suitable trousers/skirt.

Many choose to wear what they are comfortable in alongside tartan accessories to tie into the tartan aspect.

For some women they will wear a more fashion tartan skirt or dress to tie into the occasion. these aren’t traditional but are a great way of wearing tartan in a feminine way. Women can also wear kilts to as well to a ceilidh.

Ceilidh accessories

Tartan accessories

If your considering tartan accessories there is loads of tartan accessories you can chose from to tie a little bit of tartan into your outfit in a more subtle way.

Some men will chose to wear a tartan tie for a little flash or colour or ladies may wear a tartan sash or shawl to style some tartan into their outfit.

Things to avoid

There is no rules in most Ceilidhs but its good to think ahead and be aware of somethings to avoid. For example most ceilidhs take place after a dinner so consider wearing clothing your going to be comfortable eating and bloating in to ensure your comfortable around the dinner table.

Another example would be suitable dancing clothing so consider dressing for mobility and dancing to allow you to participate while having fun and being comfortable. Ladies could consider skirt lengths and undergarments for dancing. A lot of Scottish social dance is very fast paced, and partner work.

“The right to wear a tartan”-

There is often miscommunication about who can wear a tartan or can participate in these Scottish events and the base line of it all is there is no rules no restrictions. Anyone can attend a ceilidh no matter of, age, demographics, background.

The same applies to most tartans, although there is many family tartans most of them are free to use by any one regardless of your family name.

Tartans can be split into private and free to use tartans, this means a private owned tartan requires permission from the owner to weave and wear and the other free to use tartans may be owned by someone by are open to the public to weave and wear, this is the case with most big name tartans.

What do I wear for a Ceilidh

Private tartans could be exclusive to certain families or owned exclusively to a shop like our Bute heather collection which you can only shop here at Houston kiltmakers.

But majority of the time, there are thousands of free to wear tartans available to everyone and anyone. We proudly offer the largest tartan range available in Scotland for hire & buy kilts.

If your considering a kilt outfit for your next ceilidh we would love to welcome you in store or alternatively you can reach our to us with any enquires at [email protected] or call us on 0141 889 4879

You can also browse our full range exclusively at Kiltmakers.com

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