We spent some time in our In-Store workshop, watching many items being created by our wonderful seamstress Beth. In this series of articles we will take a closer look at a few of the Tartan accessories she has been crafting! This week we take a closer look at the Ruche Tie.
What is a Ruche Tie?
A Ruche Tie is alternative neckwear to the standard tie and bow tie. In terms of looks it is halfway between a standard tie and a cravat. Ruche Ties are wider than a standard necktie with an extravagant knot. They make for the perfect neckwear for your Highland Outfit, providing extra prestige to your formal attire.
Ruche Ties come in both plain colour, or in a tartan to match your Kilt. If you are having a Kilt made, please enquire about having matching neckwear crafted to match. Tartan Ruche Ties are a popular option with Kilt Hires and are available in boys sizes too!
How a Ruche Tie is Made
Our seamstress has been making Ruche Ties for many years, and has perfected her own take on this neckwear.
(Click Photos to Enlarge!)
To start, the material needed is cut from templates. Cloth for the two tie sleeves, neck knot and neck loop are carefully cut out. If tartan is being used, extra care is taken to keep the design symmetrical and to incorporate as much of the tartan pattern into the tie.
From here the cloth templates are stitched to create the shape of the knot, the two tie sleeves (one larger than the other) and the neck loop (like a tube of cloth now).
The edges are then pressed to give them their final shape. The pressing ensures that they keep their shape and there aren’t any unwanted bulges.
The next step is to hand stitch the knot on to the top of the two tie pieces – this holds the whole tie together. The Ruche Tie is starting to take shape! Finally, metal hook are attached to the neck loop, and this in turn is attached to the knot. The tie is complete!
Our Ruche Ties come in both Men’s and Boy’s sizes and can be made in over 130 colours to match your outfit, or in the Tartan of your choice! To find out more please contact us at Houston Kiltmakers!
We spent some time in our In-Store workshop watching many items being created by our wonderful seamstress Beth. In this series of articles we will take a closer look at a few of the Tartan accessories she has been crafting!
What are Tartan Flashes?
Historically, Tartan Flashes (also know as Garter Flashes) were simple ties worn around the upper calf and they served two purposes. Firstly they helped to hold up your Kilt Hose. It has also been said in folklore that they were used to make people aware of your marital status – if your Flashes were showing then you were single and available, while hidden Flashes meant that you were a taken man!
Modern Tartan Flashes add a little flair to your Kilt Socks, as well at securing your Kilt Socks in place, ensuring they don’t slide down your leg.
Flashes are usually either a Solid Colour or a Tartan Matching your Kilt’s design – though can also be made in contrasting tartans, or a tartan of the same family (e.g. Hunting Robertson Flashes with a Red Robertson Kilt.)
Flashes normally consist of two coloured pieces of cloth attached to an elasticated fabric strap, which can be tightened and loosened as needed. Their ends are usually fringed to add a flash of style to your socks but can also be made with V-cut edges!
How it’s Made – Tartan Flashes
To begin creating the Tartan Flashes lengths of Tartan cloth are measured and cut to leave you with 2 strips. Our seamstress Beth always endeavors to capture as many colours from the Tartan as possible in the material that is cut. Trying to incorporate the Tartan pattern in a small, thin strip is challenging, but Beth’s experience means that the results are always great to look at!
These will create the section of the Flashes that are visible while wearing. These strips are then folded in half and stitched closed, creating two tubes. These are then turned inside out to conceal the stitch work, leaving a clean, tidy seam.
From here the tubes are pressed to create the flat recognizable rectangular shapes of the Flashes. To create the fringing the threads are carefully hand pulled out of the open end of the tube. This creates the frayed effect, adding to the overall look of the Flashes.
The last stage is to attach the two tartan cloth strips to the elasticated strap. This will make sure the flashes stay secured to your leg and also they will provide support for your Kilt Hose. These parts are machine stitched together to create a strong bond between the Flashes and Strap, ensuring that they last you for years to come!
Constantly increasing in popularity, Tweed Jackets are now the go to choice for an all round jacket. Tweed jackets can be wore with a variety of outfits, giving you a range of different looks. We stock several hundred Tweeds to chose from and are the only place in the world where you can see swatches of all Scottish and English mills Tweeds in-store!
Where to Wear Your Tweed Jacket
The flexibility of a Tweed Jacket means that is can be worn at both day and informal occasions. You can wear a Tweed Jacket to complete a Highland Kilt outfit for day events like weddings, highland games, funerals, ceilidhs, parties, dinners etc. A Tweed Jacket without epaulettes can be worn like a sports jacket, even with jeans, chinos or trousers – giving you a 3 in 1 jacket!
A Tweed Jacket is suitable for almost any occasion, but should NOT be worn to a Black Tie event. (A dark navy or black tweed jacket may be acceptable for Black Tie events, but not recommended.)
How to Wear your Tweed Jacket
Jackets should be worn with plain, tweed or tartan ties or ruche cravats, with optional five button waistcoat.
The best choice of shirt to match with a Tweed Jacket is a standard collar shirt. For some weddings, spread bat wing shirts can be worn with a ruche cravat. We recommend you wear a semi dress, day or dress sporran depending on your shirt and tie option. When choosing your hose you must pick a colour similar to that of your jacket for example you may choose grey or black if your shirt and sporran are black. Off white hose must NEVER be worn with a tweed jacket.
Tweed Jacket Styles
On Houstons Made to Measure Tweed Jackets we offer 3 basic styles, each determined by the cuff option selected:
Note: Any cuff style can be made and designed by yourself to meet your own style and fit.
The Crail Jacket has an all round functional look with a straight cuff and a single button. This jacket can be worn to both formal and casual occasions. Ideal day wear Jacket and has the flexibility to worn casually, even suitable with jeans or chinos.
An Argyll Jacket can be recognized by the gauntlet cuff, which add a little bit of bulk to the sleeve. More formal than the Crail cuff, ideal for day wear or for a more prestigious day event.
The Braemar Jacket follows the same button style on the cuff as the Prince Charlie cuff – a series of buttons vertically on the forearm of the cuff.
Our Made to Measure Tweed Jackets are tailored for your every need, with every little styling detail adjustable to create the perfect jacket for you. We stock all Scottish, English and some Irish Tweeds with 1000s to choose from. Harris Tweed and Wool Cashmere mix are also available on request. We also offer over 100 different lining colour options to get your jacket looking perfect.
Some of the other options for customization include pocket number and position, jacket lining, epaulettes, button style and number of buttons, added buttonhole, contrast trimming & stitching and Tartan inlays.
Embroidered initials and Clan Crests are also available on the inside pockets of our Made to Measure Jackets.
Epaulettes can be added in different styles to the shoulders of your Jacket (Plain or Pleated) – Epaulettes should only be worn with a Highland Outfit (Kilt or Tartan Trews).
There are several button options for your Bespoke Tweed Jacket – we recommend Imitation or Real Stag Horn as they give the jacket the finest look. Stag Horn buttons have a great day wear look and give the jacket an authentic feel.
As you can see, Tweed Jackets are the perfect flexible choice for your Highland Outfit – a Jacket to add to your wardrobe to give your Highland Outfit an alternative to a formal Jacket.
The Kilt Pin is a small but key part of a Kilt Outfit. Often its function is misinterpreted and it is commonly used incorrectly. This short guide will tell you everything you need to know about the wearing of a Kilt Pin and some of the different styles of Pin available from Houston Kiltmakers.
Customizable Clan Crested Kilt Pins are Available!
The Kilt Pin is attached to the outer apron on the fringed side of your Kilt, around 2 inches from the bottom of the Kilt and around 1.5 inches in from the fringed edge. The Kilt Pin ONLY goes through the outer apron, it does NOT pin together the outer and inner aprons, as is often mistaken. The function of the Kilt Pin is not to attach the two Kilt aprons to one another.
The Kilt Pin only pierces outer apron, not both apron’s.
The purpose of the Kilt Pin is to weight down the outer apron of the Kilt to prevent it from blowing up in windy situations – possibly embarrassing both the wearer and passers by! For this reason the majority of Kilt Pins are made from metal to give them the weight to hold the outer Kilt apron in place.
Our ‘Top Tips on Wearing a Kilt’ guide offers more details on the positioning of a Kilt Pin and other useful information to make sure you look a million dollars in your Kilt outfit!
Kilt Pin’s come in a wide range of styles in both Shiny and Antique Finishes!
We offer a wide variety of Kilt Pins to suit all style and budgets ranging from palladium plated to solid silver. Different finishes are available, either Shiny or Antique. Customizable Kilt Pin’s are also available with any Clan Crest incorporated into the design. Designs for Kilt Pins vary, but the most popular style is that of a Claymore (Two Handed Sword).
Its prom season in Scotland! High school and University student are finishing their exams, completing their final submissions and counting down to party time! We are rushed off our feet with numerous prom and graduation Highland wear bookings. The majority of young men wear a kilt to the prom or grad ball. Well lets face it, a guy wearing a kilt in Scotland is hardly out of the ordinary! We were however STUNNED to hear that a young man was banned by his school board from wearing a kilt to his prom!
In an article posted online by Huffington Post, it was reported that a senior high school student in southwestern Illinois had his request to wear a traditional Scottish kilt to prom denied after the Principle supposedly said men should ‘dress like men at their senior prom’. A comment the principle later denied making.
The pupil had bought a kilt in his family clan tartan and hope to wear the outfit in honour of his Scottish and Irish roots. The student made his initial request to the principle which was denied. He then took his case forward to the school board who stated that the kilt did not comply with the district dress code.
First of all, we find it bizarre that a pupil needed to ask permission to wear a traditional form of dress, especially when that outfit consists of smart shoes, jacket, waistcoat shirt and either a tie or bow tie. The only issue appears to be with the kilt which is made of very expensive fabric. Highland wear is by no means informal. Tartan itself has consistently stayed in the height of fashion for centuries! Highland wear is of the highest quality garments in both its worth and its aesthetic value, why else would all the Scots be wearing it to weddings?!
This article was posted last year however; we wondered if this school still felt the same way. The story comes as a surprise, particularly as there are many Scottish and Irish families residing in the United States and thousands more who descend from the Scots!
All we know is we wear our kilts with pride an would urge others to do the same! If you are of Scottish descent you should count yourself lucky to have descended from such a smashing bunch of people! Some people may not like kilts and so, each to their own. However; we love our national dress and don’t agree with the idea that when requesting to wear a kilt the young man was told he must ‘dress like a man’ at his prom!
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.
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.
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
Houston Kiltmaker’s is the only shop where you can physically see every tartan available. You might not be too impressed by that but; what if we told you there are around 14,000 tartans? Ahhh… now we have your attention! What can we say we love tartan, of course we are biased being a traditional Scottish Highland outfitter! However; it seems we aren’t the only ones who love tartan.
Tartan is an ongoing celebrity trend and it’s not just men rocking kilts, ladies have also bought into the tartan trend. Although kilts and tartan are a traditional form of dress adaptations of these such as tartan shirts, skirts and dresses can be found in high street fashion stores. Modern fashion designers such as Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood have introduced tartan to the catwalks of the most high profile fashion shows giving highland wear a modern edge. Moschino is one of the latest high profile designers to introduce tartan to their line. Tartan has become a noticeable celebrity trend with various styles been worn by stars such as Kiefer Sutherland, Chris Noth, Billy Connolly, Sean Connery, Rihanna, Katherine Jenkins, Taylor Swift, Victoria Beckham, Kylie Minogue and Emma Watson to name only a few. Furthermore, tartan has recently been worn by The Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton which has given the tartan trend a regal accreditation. As well as British royalty, Pop royalty have now bought into the tartan trend! Going all out, Jermaine Jackson recently donned a full highland outfit whilst he toured in Glasgow with his brothers Jackie, Tito and Marlon.
This celebrity trend has widened the tartan appeal around the globe to a much larger and more diverse audience. So much so that global star Susan Boyle has now decided to create her own tartan! The first person to wear the tartan is none other than SuBo’s childhood heartthrob Donny Osmond! Susan performed with Donny and sister Marie at their concert in Glasgow’s SECC. She asked Donny to come on stage and presented him with a range of Scottish gifts including a tie woven in her own Boyle tartan.