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Tartan Variations – Ancient, Modern, Hunting, Dress or Weathered?

If you use our Tartan Finder to search for your family Tartan, you might notice that your name returns several Tartans, each with a slightly different range of colours used in the design. There are a selection of colour variations used in the Tartan industry, and this article will explain the differences between each one.Tartan Kilts on Display

The 5 main variations in Tartan styles are Ancient, Modern, Hunting, Dress and Weathered (sometimes referred to as Withered or Muted). Within these groups you can also have a mixing of some of the style, for example a Ancient Hunting Robertson Tartan, or a Modern Dress Gordon Tartan. (Though you can’t get an Ancient-Modern Tartan combination!)

Ancient Tartan

Tartan’s with the prefix ‘Ancient’ are not necessarily older than other Tartans, it simply refers to the colour palette used in the design. The colours are often softer and lighter to what you would see in a ‘Modern’ Tartan design. These colours are choosen to have a closer link to the historical colours of Tartans in years gone by – produced with the natural dyes available. The colours are pastel-like, creating a softer feel, and giving the look of material that is worn beyond its years.

Modern Lamont with Ancient Lamont Tartan Comparison
Here you can see the Ancient and Modern Lamont Tartans. Note that the Sett of the Tartan is the Same, but the colours used in the Ancient Version are lighter/pastel.

Modern Tartan

As with ‘Ancient’ Tartan’s, the name ‘Modern’ relates to the colours used in the Tartan, not the date of the design. Ancient and Modern design’s tend to share the same sett, the change is in the colour palette used. While ‘Ancient’ Tartan use lighter softer colours, ‘Modern’ Tartans use stronger, darker colours.

Hunting Tartan

Hunting Tartans traditionally were worn when the wearer was on a hunt. To tie in with this, the colours usual are suited to match with the woodland background linked with a hunt – Greens and browns being the strongest colour here.

MacPhail, MacRae, MacGregor and MacFarlane Hunting Tartans
Hunting Tartans - MacFarlane Hunting Modern, MacGregor Hunting Ancient, MacPhail Hunting Ancient and MacRae Hunting Modern Tartans

Dress Tartan

It is often easy to identify Dress Tartan’s with the abundance of white thread used to make up the design (An exception to this is the Dress MacLeod Tartan, which uses yellow thread instead of the normal white). These designs are most popular with Highland Dancing Kilts, though they can also been worn to give a brighter looking Tartan Kilt. Dress Gordon is perhaps the most recongizable Tartan in this range as it has been incorporated into many popular fashion items such as scarves and jacket linings.

Dress Gordon, MacDonald, Gillies and MacLeod Tartans
Modern Dress MacDonald, Ancient Dress Gillies, Modern Dress Gordon and Ancient Dress MacLeod Tartans. Note that the MacLeod Dress Tartan Uses Yellow instead of White

Weathered Tartan

Tartans of the Weathered Styling use a colour palette to reflect the name – tones that are faded, giving a look of the Kilt being aged by exposure to inclement weather. In years gone by the Great Kilt worn by the Scots would have endured the harsh Scottish Weather and terrain. The Great Kilt would be used to protect the wearer from the elements, and would gain a worn and aged look from this. (Weather Tartans are also sometimes referred to as ‘Withered’ or ‘Muted’, depending on what Mill that Cloth is produced from.)

Watson, Sutherland, Murray of Atholl and MacLaren
A range of Weathered (Withered) Tartan - Watson, Sutherland, Murray of Atholl and MacLaren. You can see the Browns and Weather-Beaten Colours used here.

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While there are many different varieties of Tartan to choose from, at the end of the day it is down to preference what Tartan you decide upon. There is no right or wrong Tartan for any occasion – as long as the wearer likes it! Search now for all your families Tartans with our Tartan Finder!

 

 

 

 

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Highlandwear Kilt Kilt Hire Kilts Kilts for Sale Sporran tartan

Sporrans – How to Wear Correctly and What are Sporrans for?

Traditional Leather Pouch Sporrans
Leather Sporrans in Old Traditional Styles, Note the Pouch like Shapes

Sporrans come in many different styles and designs, varied for every occasion. This weeks post will cover a history of the Sporran, why it is worn, the different types of Sporrans and look at the range that Houston Kiltmakers stock, from Plain Leather Day Sporrans to Clan Crested Specialist Dress Sporrans.

History of the Sporran

The word Sporran is the Scottish Gaelic word for purse. Most Kilts did not (and still don’t) have pockets cut into the material. This left the wearer with no place to store small items they were carrying – this could have been money, lead musket shot in times of war or perhaps even small quantities of food. The Sporran became a handy pouch that could be worn with a Kilt to give the wearer somewhere to store these items. In modern times these pouches store items such as mobile phones, wallets – even a small hip flask can be concealed inside!

Types of Sporrans

Traditional Sporrans were usually no more than a simple leather pouch. Modern Sporrans come in many different varieties. There are 3 main Sporran Types: Day, Dress and Semi-Dress.

Day Sporrans most resemble traditional Sporrans and are used at less formal event (the name suggests it is for day to day wear). They are often made of all leather with no metal cantle.

Clan Crest Engraved on Leather Day Sporran
A Leather Day Sporran with a Clan Crest Engraved

Dress Sporrans are the most formal style of Sporrans, worn at events such as Weddings and other events where you will be looking your best. Usually made in a wide range of Animal Furs, Dress Sporrans usually can be customized with different cantle style and a choice of a Shiny or Antique finish.

Dress Sporran with Antique Cantle in Light Racoon Fur
A Light Brown Racoon Dress Sporran with Antique Cantle

Semi-Dress Sporrans combine elements from both the Dress and Day Sporrans, often animal fur for the body and leather for the Sporran flap. These are sporrans that can be worn for all occasions when you want to look that little bit sharp. Think of it as a smart but casual sporran!

Black Rabbit Sporran, Semi Dress with Clan Crest
A Clan Crested Black Rabbit Semi Dress Sporran

In addition to these variations of Sporrans there are also Specialist Sporrans, which come in many styles and can often be customized with different cantles, clan crests etc. Horse Hair Sporrans are most commonly associated with Pipe Bands and have long strands of horse hair hanging down from the front.

Pipers Horse Hair Sporran
A Horse Hair Sporran, typically worn by a Piper

How to wear your Sporran Correctly

The Sporran, after the Kilt, is one of the most important pieces of your Highland Outfit, so making sure that it is worn correctly is vital. You should be able to draw a straight line down the front of your outfit and your waistcoat buttons, tie, sporran, buckle and Kilt centre line. (See Picture Below) The only exception to this is when dancing with a partner, the Sporran can be moved to the side in this case to prevent damaging the ladies dress.

Sporran should be approx. 3 finger widths below Belt Buckle
Your Kilt Outfit should all be Worn Inline, with the Sporran Hanging Approx. 3 Finger Widths Below

The top of the sporran should hang down approximately 4 or 5 inches from the top of the Kilt – around 3 finger widths below the top of the Belt Buckle (See Above).

 

Follow this link to see the full range of Houston’s Sporrans, many of which can be customized with different Cantles, Furs and some can be engraved with Clan Crests!

 

 

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Highlandwear Kilt Kilt Hire Kilts for Sale Scotland tartan traditions traditions Wedding Kilts Wedding Proposal

Wedding Checklist!

Modern Bute heather tartan

Your wedding day is thought to be the biggest day of your life and we understand that can be a very daunting process! With weddings now costing an average of £20,000 in the UK there is a lot to think about when planning the big day! GASP! Not to fear Houston’s are here and we have comprised a wedding checklist with useful hints and tips to keep on top of your plans and stress free!

An easy way to incorporate all plans for a wedding is think of the 5 F’s! Family, Friends, Food, Fashion and most importantly FUNDING!

Family and Friends

 

Announcing to your family and friends that you are getting married is some of the most exciting news you can deliver so lap it up and enjoy every second of it! Family and friends are also guaranteed to be the most honest so they are often a good lot to take along when it comes to picking the brides dress, colour schemes, tartan if the groom is wearing a kilt on top of many other considerations. Siblings, parents and pals are bound to be the most reliable candidates in an event this big so don’t be afraid to ask for help leading up to and on the big day. We’re sure they would be delighted to play a part in the wedding!

One of the biggest responsibilities you can bestow upon friends is family is picking the best man maid of honour and bridesmaids!

The role of best man is a great honour, and you will forever be remembered as a part of the biggest day in the grooms life; no pressure there then! Many men playing the role of best man don’t know exactly what the job entails. That’s where we come in! Of course every wedding is different and the role of best man may be more prominent in some weddings than others but you want to pick someone who is reliable, who is guaranteed to keep the groom calm on the big day and of course he has to produce a killer best man speech! Oh and not forgetting his involvement with the stag do but we’ll get back to that… lets not stress the bride out too much just yet!

The Maid of Hounour and bridesmaids will accompany the bride down the aisle. The normal selection would be siblings, family or best friends. These are the ideal candidates to bring wedding dress shopping they guaranteed to be the most honest and helpful ladies for the job! Naturally they will all be involved in the brides hen party too so have them thinking up ideas for that whilst you plan the big day!

Food

 

Image available at: http://fourdishcatering.com/special_events

Food is a memorable part of the day so you want to make sure you get something that will appeal to the masses! Scottish wedding have been known to serve some of the fanciest entrees whilst some people serve good old fish and chips from the chip shop and others have a buffet! So you will always have a variety of options to choose from. Often your venue will also cater for you so before you select your venue ask if you can see a sample of their menu, many venues will accommodate a taste session for you,  a try before you buy if you will! Another big aspect of the food is your wedding cake. Cakes are getting increasingly expensive so its always best to shop around. Is there a friend or family member on yours or the grooms side that bakes for a hobby? Its often a good idea to find someone who doesn’t bake professionally as you could potentially get a cake for a lot cheaper: now that’s food for thought!

Fashion

 

Modern Bute Tartan Wedding Dress

The bride wants the perfect dress so its advised to start looking right away give yourself an idea of different styles and of course the cost! If a lot of your dream dresses are looking too pricey you can now hire dresses from a lot of bridal boutiques for a fraction of the cost! Take friends and family with you when trying dresses to get an honest opinion it will help choosing that little bit easier when your mum insists you have to rule a few options out!

Make sure your best man is the man for the job!

As soon as the groom has bestowed the honoured title of best man upon you, you need to start thinking about a kilt to hire or buy as soon as possible. This is one of the most important best man duties! When the groom has chosen his tartan it is important that the best man organizes the hires of outfits for the groomsmen. This includes fittings, collection and return of hires, etc. Traditionally, the groomsmen will wear the same tartan as the groom.

Here at Houston’s we know that women normally take charge when it comes to wedding planning and the groom may not even have a say in the cake, flowers, table plans or the venue. In fact; one of the grooms’ only tasks may be to find his chosen tartan and arrange his kilt; if this is one of the grooms few wedding tasks he simply has to get it right! The bride will often stress so here is a top tip for scoring some best man points; ask the brides opinion on tartan! The groom may have chosen a family or clan tartan for his wedding however many grooms nowadays will pick a tartan to coordinate with wedding colours. The best man should ask the bride for a sample of fabric from the bridesmaids’ dresses so that the groom can consider every option when choosing his tartan. This is a sure fire way to keep every best man in the brides good books!

Now unlike the beautiful bride who wears her dress once then either sells it on ebay or stores it in the attic, as a Groom if you choose to buy your kilt instead of hiring you are making a lifetime purchase. Start by using the Houston Kiltmakers Tartan Finder to ensure you are wearing the right Scottish tartan kilt, we have EVERY tartan in the world on display in our showroom so are spoiled for choice! In the interest of sticking to a budget Houstons give grooms a hire and buy option that allows you to buy your kilt and receive a free hire of the rest of your kilt pack which lets you build it up over time! Alternatively, if you wish to hire we offer a hire 5 and the 6th for the groom (the most expensive outfit) goes free!

Funding

 

The best thing to do before you start making your wedding plans is figure your budget so that you don’t over spend! Make a checklist of everything you need so you can prioritize your spending.

Venue, food, cake, brides outfit (dress, shoes, veil, jewellery), rings for the bride and groom, grooms outfit (highland wear/suit), bridesmaids dresses, grooms mens outfits, flowers, cars, band/DJ, invitations and wedding favors.

Subscribe to wedding blogs to keep up to date with ideas! Do your research  and shop around for prices. Ask friends for advice and who they used for their wedding. Sign up to mailing lists to make sure you are in the loop for offers. Do this for hairdressers, florists, venues, etc. Some hotels can offer wedding packages for great prices but as an alternative option in Scotland you can get married almost anywhere such as a church, a beach or a mountain! So consider all your options!

Probably the most famous best man duty is the stag do!  This is likely to be the highlight of the groom’s entire wedding experience (apart from the actual wedding day of course!). Top Tip: If there is one thing the Hangover movies taught us it is NEVER have the stag do the night before the wedding! The last thing the bride wants is a hung over hubby! Plan ahead and give you and your friends a few weeks to recover. It is popular to go abroad but don’t forget that Scotland is full of great outdoor spots and city nightlife! Don’t forget, kilts aren’t just for weddings! Why not organize a group hire for you and your friends for the stag do?Kilts make you stand out from the crowd and are a great conversation starter, especially if you are going abroad! Us Scots manage to make friends anywhere we go!!

Ladies can also wear tartan mini kilts so keep that in mind for the hen do! Again top tips would include doing this a few weeks before the big event! Get your bridesmaids and maid of honour involved to help plan a night you will never forget!

One of the days big finales is the speeches! This is the part when the men are under the spotlight. Best man: If you are nervous keep it short and sweet but remember to say how gorgeous the bride and her bridesmaids are and try not to embarrass the groom too much!

We always love to hear how you got on with the stag, the wedding…the whole wedding experience! So be sure to post any wedding pics on our Facebook page or tweet us and if you need help on how to wear your kilt then check out our video clips

To view our full range of products see www.kiltmakers.com and for hire wear go to www.kiltsforhire.com. For helpful guides on how to wear, transporting your kilt and kilt maintenance email us at shop@kiltmakers.com

The most important thing to remember is to try and not get too stressed. Truly enjoy the happiest day of your life and all the planning that goes with it!

We hope this has been helpful! Feel free to comment with any questions!

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How to dress like a true Scotsman!

Autumn Bute Tartan

 

Highland wear can be a tricky business, especially if you are wearing a kilt for the first time! It’s a whole new experience and we have comprised some top tips to make sure you get everything just right and are dressed to perfection! Houston Kiltmakers want to assist you any way we can, so have a look below at our quick fire guide to dressing like a true Scotsman!

1. Put your socks on first; make sure ribs on socks are running vertical and not twisted. Top of socks should be parallel and same length. Put the garter flashes on socks to the outside of your leg, making sure there is a three to four inch gap between the top of the socks and bottom of the kilt. About one inch below the knee is an ideal resting point for the top of your socks.

Kilt socks and sgian dubh

2. Put your sgian dubh down the right leg of your sock. If you are left handed it can be worn down your left leg.

3. Put your ghillie brogue shoes on, twist the laces three to four times and take round back of the calf. Return them to the front of your shin about 2/3 of the way up and tie in a normal bow quite firmly and show to the front or side as preferred. If you find the laces are constantly slipping down and becoming loose then wrap them lower down your leg or round your ankle a couple of times.

4. Put on your shirt making sure any creases are ironed out, and put your cufflinks on.

 5. Make sure the kilt pin is on the front apron only, on the fringed side of your kilt about two inches from the bottom and side of the fringe.

6. Put your kilt on making sure it is a good fit and it sits well up (about one and a half inches above the hip bone). Then look at the front apron and make sure the centre line is down the middle of the kilt so it is well balanced with pleats to the back. When looking in the mirror the kilt should be in an A shape with the sides well balanced.

7. Clip the chain strap onto the sporran, then put the chain strap through the kilt belt loops and fasten your sporran at the back of the kilt. Make sure the sporran is centred to front apron as shown by the arrow positioned in the image (below), positioned about four to five inches below the top of the kilt. You can rest the chain strap on top of the kilt buckles if you wish. This will secure the sporran a bit better.

Kilt centre

8. Then put the belt and buckle on covering the chain strap. We recommend jacket wearing a belt as if you remove your jacket and waistcoat during an event the outfit will look bare, so we include a belt with all our hires. Check that the belt buckle is about one to two inches above the sporran.

9. Put on your waistcoat, then jacket. Make sure the jacket is fitting square on, with the waistcoat buttons, tie, sporran, buckle and kilt centre line all straight up and down. If driving to a venue, we advise that you hang the jacket up in the back and put it on when you get out the car. Try not to drive with your jacket on as it may crease.

 

Prince Charlie Jacket

10. If you are wearing a shoulder plaid, fasten under your left hand jacket lapel and fasten with plaid brooch onto jacket only.
 

11. Finally put on your tie, bow, ruche or standard tie.

Wing collar shirt and bow tie 

12. For further information on tartans as well as advice on what to wear and how to wear it please view our helpful video clips at www.kiltmakers.com/tv/

13. To download our brochures and view our buy range please visit www.kiltmakers.comto view our hire range go to www.kiltsforhire.com for any further information or help feel free to contact us by phone +44 141 889 4879