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Highlandwear Jackets Tweed Jacket Weddings

Jacket Guide – Highland Wear Jackets and Tweeds

About our Jackets

All of our Houston’s Own Range Black Jackets are Super-Lightweight. Jackets, Waistcoats and Trews can all be customized with different button, pocket and fabric options.

Jackets for Kilts

Tweed Jackets are hugely popular, matching well with a Highland wear outfit while also having the flexibility to be worn separately. We supply every tweed from all Scottish & English mills.

Click on the image below to learn more about our Tweed Jacket range or learn about our wide variety of other Jackets available.

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Highlandwear How Its Made Kilt Kilts Scotland Scottish History Shoulder Plaid tartan

Tartan Shoulder Plaid – Behind the Scenes – How they are Made

A Shoulder Plaid can be worn at formal occasions when you are looking to stand out from the crowd. Often the Groom will add one to his Highland Outfit to make himself known on his special day! Plaids are also worn by Piper’s and members of Pipe bands.

Shoulder Plaid made of Tartan Wool

What is a Tartan Shoulder Plaid?

A Shoulder Plaid is a piece of cloth draped over the wearers shoulder which can add a flash of grandeur to your Highland Outfit.

The Shoulder Plaid is a modern ‘tip of the hat’ back to the traditional ‘Great Kilt’ and the ‘Féileadh Mòr’. Historically the Great Kilt was a large piece of cloth that wrapped around the whole body and draped over the shoulder of the wearer.

As the modern Kilt was developed, the cloth over the shoulder was lost. A Fly Plaid brings back this traditional look, while providing a more comfortable experience for the wearer.

Tartan Shoulder Plaids are usually made in the matching tartan to the wearers Kilt and most popular with Groom’s to make themselves stand out on their special day!

How a Shoulder Plaid is made

To start the Shoulder Plaid a piece of cloth is cut in a square or rectangle. The size and shape depends on the type of Plaid and how it will be worn.

The Cloth cut for a Tartan Shoulder Plaid
A Large Rectangle of Cloth Cut for a Tartan Shoulder Plaid to be Made

In this instance the edges of the Shoulder Plaid are fringed. By carefully pulling at the threads with a sharp object the threads are easily pulled around the edges creating a frayed effect. This is done for all four sides in this case.

The Edges of the Cloth are Frayed
The Edges of the Cloth are Carefully Frayed, Creating the Finished Edge for the Tartan Shoulder Plaid

Tartan Shoulder Plaid

The cloth is then marked out at one corner that will be stitched to create the part of the Plaid that will sit through the Epaulette when worn. This stitching is added to hold the shape of the Plaid when it is worn.

Shoulder Plaied - Stitching is added
Stitching is Added to Make sure the Shoulder Plaid Sits in the Correct Position when Worn

The finished Shoulder Plaid is given a final press and is ready to be worn!

How a Shoulder Plaid should be Worn

The Shoulder Plaid is easy to wear. The stitched edge should pass through the left shoulder epaulette of the wearers jacket. This end can be fastened to the front of the jacket with a Plaid Brooch or a Simple Pin – making sure that the Brooch only goes through the Jacket, and not the underlying waistcoat or shirt.

To wear the Shoulder Plaid Correctly, Pass it throught the Epaulette of the Jacket
The Shoulder Plaid Passes through the Epaulette on the Shoulder of your Jacket

Extra Tip: A hidden safety pin can also be used to give the Plaid a better shape by pinning some of the cloth to the back of the jacket, just below the top of the shoulder.

Plaid Brooches come in a variety of styles and designs, much like Kilt Pins. Different finishes are available to match up with the rest of the silverware of your outfit.

The Plaid can serve other functions after wearing. Once photos have been taken wearing the Plaid it can be taken off and used as a table runner, table cover etc. to add a tartan touch to your surroundings.

Houston’s offer a range of Shoulder Plaids to match with Hire outfits and also provide Made to Measure Shoulder Plaids. These can be made in any tartan of your choosing.
View our Shoulder Plaids here!

We also stock a wide range of Plaid Brooches, from Clan Crested Brooches to Solid Silver Plaid Brooches.

View our Plaid Brooches here!

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Highlandwear Jackets Scotland Tweed Jacket

Kilt Jacket Alteration Guide – Fine Tuning for Bespoke and ‘Off the Peg’ Jackets

With all Made to Measure Bespoke Items there is often need for a little fine tuning to achieve the perfect fit. A Jacket may be passed down through a family or the wearers weight may change – minor alterations can keep the Jacket fitting perfectly. If needed, these small adjustments are quick and easy to complete allowing you to look your best in our Jackets! From a Tweed Braemar to a Prince Charlie Jacket – all can be altered so you look your best!

Various Tweed Jackets
Tweed Jackets are Increasing in Popularity with Highland Wear Outfits

Who can do these Alterations?

If any minor alterations are needed to your Jacket, we recommended taking it to a local tailor, seamstress or someone with sewing experience. It would be helpful for them if you could pin the parts of the jacket you wish to have altered and mark the areas with chalk.

Sleeve Adjustments

In the case of your Jacket Sleeves being too long, our Jacket Sleeves can be easily shortened. Simply pin and chalk the area that needs shortened – buttons can be reattached in a new position if needed.

Tweed Jacket Sleeve Ready for being Shortened
Tweed Jacket Sleeve Chalked and Pinned to be Shortened

Shoulder Alterations

The Shoulders of our Jackets can also be chipped if needed, creating a chiselled fit around your shoulders. Firstly mark off what needs to be reduced and pin the fabric to the new position. The tailor will then be able to clearly see what needs to be done.

Here you can see the Shoulder of a Tweed Jacket Pinned and Chalked to be Altered

Back Seam Alterations

The centre seam down the back of your Jacket is another area that can be altered. This seam can be taken in, creating a better fit around your back if needed. Sometimes the back seam will also contain some extra cloth, allowing for the back of the jacket to be widened slightly. Again, chalk and pin the cloth to the correct fit for the tailor to see.

Here you can see the Back Seam of a Tweed Jacket Pinned and Chalked to be Taken In

Side Seam Alterations

At either side of your jackets, under the arms, are side seams. These can be taken in if there is too much space on the side of the jacket, giving a more fitted finish to the jacket. Marking out the area that needs worked on is just the same as with the back of the jacket. The stitching is simply unpicked and the cloth of the jacket folded in to the desired fit and restitched.

Pinned and Chalked Side of a Tweed Jacket Ready for Alterations
The Side Seams of a Tweed Jacket Chalked and Pinned Ready to be Altered

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We hope that this alteration guide allows you to look your best while increasing the life of your Jacket! If you need any more advice regarding Jacket alterations or anything else relating to your Highland Outfit you can contact the shop, where we will be more than happy to help!

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Sgian Dubh – History of the Sgian Dubh and How to wear it Correctly

If you have ever seen someone dressed in a Kilt or Highland Outfit you might have noticed, peeking out the top of one of the wearers hose, a hilt of a small knife. This little detail on the Highland Outfit is the topic of today’s post, the Sgian Dubh.

Where does the Sgian Dubh go?
The correct Wearing of a Sgian Dubh

History of the Sgian Dubh

There are many origin stories of the Sgian Dubh (pronounced ‘ski-en doo’), but the most common tale is that it had its beginnings as a dagger held under the armpit as a hidden blade. When entering a house a visitor would hand over his weapons and reveal any hidden blades as an act of trust. This hidden blade would be displayed at the top of the sock or stocking for the host to see. This is the position where the Sgian Dubh is worn today.

In the early days these small knives would have been used as a hunters knife to skin animals.

In the modern Highland Outfit the Sgian Dubh has taken a more aesthetic than practical role, adding some decoration to the Kilt Hose.

How to Wear a Sgian Dubh

A Sgian Dubh should be worn down the sock on the same side as your dominant hand (Left sock if left-handed, right sock if you are right-handed.) It should be positioned with only the hilt (handle) protruding from the top of your hose. (See image)

Types of Sgian Dubh

Silver Dress Sgian Dubh with Gemstone Handle
Dress Sgian Dubh with Purple Gemstone in the Hilt

In the same way that there are different types of Sporrans for different occasions, Sgian Dubh have variations for when you are wearing them. There are 2 main types of Sgian Dubh.

Day Sgian Dubh

Simlarly to the Day Sporran, these Sgian Dubhs are made for less formal events. The handles can produced in many different materials from Stag Horn to Oak and everything in between!

Dress Sgian Dubh

Again, much like the Dress Sporran, these Sgian Dubhs are suited to formal events (Weddings, Black Tie events etc.). These also come in many variations, often with the option of customization with a clan crest. They come in many different materials, usually with some metal plating. They can also be made in solid silver for those very special functions! Many variations have a decorative gemstone at the base of the hilt, which can be changed.

Safety Sgian Dubh

This replica Sgian Dubh looks just like the real thing, however the sheath does not contain a blade. This is a great safe option for kids (and adults!) to prevent themselves getting cut on the blade. A Safety Sgian Dubh can also be worn in situations where it isn’t possible to carry a blade – traveling overseas to some destinations for instance.

Safety Imitation Sgian Dubh for Kids and Adults
A Safety Imitation Sgian Dubh - Looks just like the real thing!

As you can see there are Sgian Dubh’s for every occasion. All are worn the same, but can give your outfit a different look depending on the event you are wearing your Highland Outfit too!

Houston’s offer a wide range of both Dress and Day Sgian Dubh’s, some with the option of having Clan Crests attached, customizable Gemstone colours and a variety of finishes.

You can see our range of Sgian Dubh’s here.

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Highlandwear Kilt Kilt Hire Kilt Pin Kilts tartan Weddings

Kilt Pins – How to Wear a Kilt Pin Correctly

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.

Kilt Pin Only Goes Through Outer Apron
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).

See our full range of Kilt Pins HERE.

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

Kilt Hire for Weddings Overseas

Houston Kiltmakers have the largest and best range for of Kilts for hire in the West of Scotland, with over 130 tartans, 20 styles of super lightweight jackets with three different button options and over 120 ruche tie colour. We also Hire Kilts overseas for special occasions.

(Click on the Photos to Enlarge!)

Many of our customers come to us with the problem,

”We are getting married in England/Europe/Overseas, but we still want to have the Wedding party kitted out in Kilts, can you help?’

The answer is Yes!
Houston Kiltmakers provide hires all over the world for Wedding parties and can ship full kilt hires ready for your big day abroad! Don’t worry if the full party can’t get into the shop to get measured, we have a handy Self-Measurement form that lets you know all the sizes we need and how to get the correct measurements. Once you have these sizes simply send them to us by phone or email and our experienced expert team will check and double check everything matches up!

We have some flexibility on the Length of Hires and return dates if you are taking them abroad, so relax and enjoy your special day!

Another question we are often asked is,

‘Our Wedding is going to be in a warm place with the sun shining, what weight of Kilt would you recommend as the coolest, and what about the jacket?’

In a Kilt outfit the heat is generated by the Jacket, not the weight of a Kilt. We would always recommend 16oz Heavyweight Kilts. These are not any warmer than 11oz or 13oz Kilts and the weight helps them to sit and swing better, making you look your best for your big day!

As it is the Jacket that generates the heat, all our Jackets are Super Lightweight and have been custom designed over many years to create the best fit. They are made from high quality lightweight Barathea wool, meaning they are the coolest jackets around! We are the only Hire company in Scotland that provides these Super Lightweight jackets and as you will be wearing the jacket for most of the day, you’ll want the Jacket that will keep you the coolest!

Houston’s have spent 20 years getting the cut and block of our jackets just right so they sit perfectly on the wearer. Our jackets are also Stain-Proof (and Beer-Proof!), increasing the lifespan of them dramatically!

And remember, we love to see photos from your Wedding with our Kilts on show, so if you want to email us or post on our Facebook page some snaps from your special day we’d love to have a look! You can check out pictures past customers have sent us here!

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Highlandwear Kilt Kilts Scotland Scottish Clans Scottish History tartan

History of the Kilt – Part 3 – Dress Act 1746

Kilts and tartan were not always prosperous in Scotland and sometimes their development was restricted. 1746 saw the implementation of the Dress Act 1746, which put the future of Highland wear, the Kilt and Tartan into jeopardy.

The end of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century was filled with political and religious turmoil around Scotland. Jacobitism was gaining popularity in Scotland in a stand against the Union. From 1688 to 1745 several uprisings from the Jacobite loyal against the British Government. The most famous Jacobite rising from this time are the Risings of 1715 and 1745. (The 1745 Rising was led by the ‘Young Pretender’, Bonnie Prince Charlie, who lends his name to the Prince Charlie style of jacket.)

Bonnie Prince Charlie
Bonnie Prince Charlie

After the failed 1745 uprising support for Jacobitism began to decline. They drew a large amount of their support from the Highland Clans, and in 1746 the government brought in the Dress Act to dampen their support.

The Battle of Culloden
The Battle of Culloden, where the 1745 Jacobite Uprising came to an end.

The Dress Act 1746 restricted the wearing of Highland Dress, Kilts and Tartan. It states:

‘…no man or boy within that part of Britain called Scotland, other than such as shall be employed as Officers and Soldiers in His Majesty’s Forces, shall, on any pretext whatever, wear or put on the clothes commonly called Highland clothes (that is to say) the Plaid, Philabeg, or little Kilt, Trowse, Shoulder-belts, or any part whatever of what peculiarly belongs to the Highland Garb; and that no tartan or party-coloured plaid of stuff shall be used for Great Coats or upper coats…’

This Act several restricted the wearing of Kilts and Tartan outfits. The banning of Tartan cut off a way in which communities and families associated themselves with each other and the banning of Kilts suppressed the dress associated with the Jacobite Uprisings.

King George IV
King George IV's Visit to Scotland in Highland Dress

The ban would stay in place for almost 40 years, finally being repelled in 1782. The Kilt and Tartan had fallen on hard times, but its popularity would return in the 1800’s through King George IV’s visit to Scotland and Queen Victoria’s efforts to revive the Scottish Icons. Find Part 4 of this series HERE!

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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!

Categories
Highlandwear Kilt Kilts Scotland Scottish Clans Scottish History tartan traditions traditions

Real Men Wear Kilts!

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!

REAL MEN WEAR KILTS!

Article sourced from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/29/w earing-a-kilt-to-prom-il_n_1389612.html

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Houston Kiltmakers Official Kilt Ettiquette Guide 2013 ©

KILT ETIQUETTE GUIDE
Midnight Bute Tartan

Kilts can be a tricky business, especially if you have never worn Highland wear before! There are various styles of Highland wear which can be worn for dress, day or casual wear. To make sure you get everything just right read our kilt ettiquette guide for information on tartans as well as advice on what to wear and how to wear it.

Who is entitled to wear a kilt?

Ancient Bute Heather Tartan

 

One question we constantly get asked is: who is entitled to wear a kilt? Is it only for Scots or people with Scottish ancestors?

Answer: Anybody can wear a kilt!

Almost every country in the world has got some sort of tartan link. In England you have Cornish, Northumberland and Manx (Isle of Man) tartans. The Irish tartans consist of county tartans such as Ulster, Co. Mayo, Galway and Kildare and the Irish national tartan. We also have lots of Welsh tartans.

Over the past 400 years Scots have travelled the world reaching every corner of the globe. They have fulfilled a rich diversity of trades and professions including traders, missionaries, engineers, doctors, teachers, naturalists and inventors to name only a few. Within Europe many French, Spanish, Italian and German families have Celtic roots and are often of Scottish decent; whilst further afield there is a strong Scottish connection within America, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Russia. We export to every country in the world from the United States to the Falkland Isles.

 

Tartan

What Tartan can I wear?

Most customers will choose a clan tartan based on a family name. This could be either a person’s own surname or that of a parent or grandparent. However; you can wear any tartan for any occasion. Traditionally hunting, ancient and weathered tartans were worn with tweeds and day jackets for outdoor functions, hunting and highland games. Dress and modern tartans were worn with formal functions and black tie dinners. Nowadays people tend to choose tartan for its aesthetic value, a family or clan connection; or to coordinate with wedding colours.

 

Modern Bute HeatherMidnight Bute Tartan

 

If you do not have family or clan tartan to choose from you can choose a tartan that anyone can wear. You can choose from a range of national tartan such as Scottish National or American National. Often over the years one has heard people explaining they have the right or that they are entitled to wear this or that tartan…. in fact no such right, in any legal sense, exists for them or anyone else ….the only considerations which govern the wearing of a particular set are usage and good taste (quote from Scottish Tartans Authority director Brian Wilton). Nowadays people tend to choose a tartan to coordinate with wedding or colours or purely for its aesthetic value. Greys in particular are currently in vogue and very popular amongst kilt buyers. Pictured above are examples of Houston’s own Bute Heather Tartan Designs which are predominantly woven in greys, purples and blues. There are only a few hundred tartans that are privately owned and require permission to be worn.

 

Weight of Tartans

19 oz kilts are generally for regimental wear but are available in around six tartans.

16 oz/17oz kilts are the largest range available with a choice of around 14,000 tartans. Heavy weight kilts are the best as the kilt sits and swings better. Heavy weight tartans can also be Teflon coated making them stain proof. Contrary to popular belief, heavy weight kilts are not any warmer than medium or lightweight kilts. It is in fact the top half of your outfit such as your jacket and waistcoat that generate heat. The majority of jackets are heavy weight however; Houston’s have perfected their own super light weight jacket which has a great cut and comfortable fit.

13oz Medium weight kilts are normally produced for Irish and Welsh national tartans. Medium weight kilts come in a choice of around 1000 tartans.

11oz light weight cloth would normally be woven for ladies skirts, gents’ trousers and waistcoats, children’s kilts, children’s trousers and ties. Kilts do not have a hem around the bottom of the garment however; children’s kilts can be cut for growth. A hem of around 2 to 3 inches will be added, and can then be let down when the child grows a bit taller.

8 oz fabric is used to make coordinating ties or bow ties and also ladies dresses.

Wool, like the 11oz lightweight cloth can be used for ladies and gents’ trousers and waistcoats.

Silk is available in 80 tartans and can be used to make ties, bow ties, waistcoats and ladies dresses.

Cotton and Poly Cotton can used to make napkins and shirts.

 

Teflon Coating

Stain Proof

 

At Houston’s we were the first to Teflon coat/stain proof all our tartans, which makes our kilts and jackets fully protected from rain and stains. The fabric is even beer proof! The wool has the same handle and is fully breathable, making them safe to wear to rugby and football matches. We calculate that over the life span of your kilt you will save approximately £180 to £260, not having to get your kilt dry cleaned as often. This also helps the environment. The Teflon coating lasts a minimum of 18 dry cleans.

 

Samples and Swatches

If you would like a sample or swatch of tartan we offer these free of charge to customers. If you live locally there will be no charge for postage. If you live overseas there will be a charge of £5.00 GBP for postage as we ship thousands overseas. If you proceed to order from Houston’s this amount will be deducted from your final cost. We would also suggest that if a colour has already been chosen for the theme of a wedding e.g. if the colour pink has been chosen for the bridesmaids dresses it is helpful to bring a sample of the fabric into the store when inquiring about hiring or buying for the event. This allows Houston’s to show you the best coordinating tartans and furthermore, give you the option to have ties made to coordinate with your chosen colours.

 

The Reputable Mills

At Houston’s we tailor our kilts from pure wool tartans woven by Scotland’s top quality, reputable mills. We have all mass produced tartans by Lochcarron, House of Edgar, Strathmore, Bute Mill, Martin Mills, Batley & Dalgleish in 250 swatch book forms available to view in store.

 

Kilt Yardage

The traditional 8 yard kilt is the standard measure of gents’ kilts. The kilt sits high on the waist, a couple of inches above the hip bone. This would be worn for formal occasions, and it is recommended that the 8 yard kilt be woven in a 17oz heavy weight fabric as this sits and swings better when worn. Some men’s kilts are still woven in 6 yards of cloth however 8 yards is the standard measurement for gents. 6 yard kilts are now more commonly made for women’s kilts.

Jackets

Prince Charlie Jacket

 

Prince Charlie jackets are worn to dress occasion such as black tie dinners, balls, graduations and weddings. It is traditionally worn with a 3 button waistcoat with a black bow tie and a white standard or wing collar pleat front shirt. Alternatively it can be worn with a plain black or white front shirt, with double cuff and cufflinks.

The Prince Charlie jacket traditionally comes with shiny buttons and the silver wear to match however; antique buttons and silver wear have of late become more popular.

The jacket is more popularly worn with a spread bat wing shirt or a standard collar, plain front shirt in white or black with a plain or tartan ruche cravat. It can be worn with either a 3 or a 5 button waistcoat however; we recommend a 3 button waistcoat with tartan ruches. Prince Charlie jackets must be worn with dress sporrans and black or off white kilt hose or tartan hose. We strongly recommend you wear a belt and buckle as if you take your waist coast and jacket off for dancing you will not be properly dressed without a belt and buckle. Therefore we offer this as an option. A ruche tie should NOT be worn with a small wing collar shirt as the wings are too small. Please Note: We do have some dark navy jackets with shiny buttons that look best with modern, dark, navy tartans to be worn with navy or off white kilt hose.

ARGYLL OR BRAEMARS

Braemar Jacket

 

The Argyll or Braemar are general jackets for any occasion, with shiny, antique or black button options. They are suitable for weddings, dinners, balls, graduations, christenings, burns suppers, highland games, ceildhies, garden parties, funerals and general day wear. Both can be worn with a plain tie or tartan tie (with or without a waist coat) or for evening wear with a bow tie (with or without a waist coat). With a ruche cravat a five button waist coat must be worn.

Argyll or Braemar can be worn with a black or white plain front shirt with a double cuff and cufflinks, with ruches or long ties. Bow ties must be worn with a pleat, front wing or standard collar shirt depending on the occasion. Ruche cravats worn with plain, standard or spread wing shirts must be worn with a waistcoat. Dress or semi dress sporrans can be worn or alternatively for a day event a leather sporran can be worn. Either black, off white, tartan or coordinating colour hose should be worn with your outfit.

TWEED BRAEMAR

Tweed Braemar

 

 

These jackets are for day/casual events, weddings, highland games, funerals, etc. Jackets should be worn with plain, tweed or tartan ties or ruche cravats, with optional five button waistcoat. 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.

SHERRIFMUIRS, REGULATION doublets, MONTROSE, KENMORE doublets

Sherriffmuir

 

These should be worn for the same occasions as Prince Charlie jackets and a jabot shirt and cuffs, or a tunic granddad collar shirt or alternatively a spread bat wing and ruche cravat.

JACOBITE

Jacobite

 

Jacobite jackets and waistcoats can only be worn with Jacobite shirts. These are considered to be casual outfits.

SPORRANS

Sporrans

For general dress occasions a semi dress or dress sporran should be worn for day wear either a day or semi dress sporran. Your sporran should always be centered on the front of the kilt. The only exception to this is when dancing with a partner. The sporran should then be worn to the side upon the hip so not to damage a ladies dress.

SGIAN DUBH

Sgian Dubh

 

 

Sgian dubhs are to be placed in outside of right sock, showing only one inch of the sgian dubh. When entering company, raise the sgian dubh to about two inches above the top of the sock. This is to show that you are still partly armed when everyone sees you. There after you should once again conceal your sgian dubh so only one inch is visible.

HOSE

Kilt Hose

 

When choosing hose you are best to select a colour that complements and coordinates with the tartan or jacket. Traditional colours are off white, black or navy. Grey should be worn with a grey tweed jacket.

GARTER FLASHES

Garter Flashes

Garter flashes are used to keep your socks up. However; in olden days showing your tie or flash symbolised a single status letting ladies know you were available. Flashes that were tucked away were symbolic of married men and men who were courting.

PLAIDS

Shoulder Plaids

 

Shoulder plaids can be worn with dress jackets for weddings. They can be worn for photos then removed and put on top of the top table or cake table for decoration. Piper plaids must only be worn with Montrose or piper doublets.

DRESS CODE

Midnight Bute Tartan

Suggested dress code by De Bretts should be included on the bottom of invitations, as both ladies and gentleman will want to dress in accordance with your suggested dress code. This will often be dependent on the wedding venue. It should be noted on the invitation if you wish ladies to wear a hat. Below is a description of men’s dress.

Highlandwear: either; day, day/tweed, dress, black tie/evening wear or white tie.

OR

Morning Wear: We suggest not mixing morning wear with highland wear. Therefore; if you wear morning wear you should incorporate a tartan tie, ruche or hanky to pull together your outfit and coordinate it with the other guests wearing highland wear.

OR

Lounge Suits

OR

Black Tie, is either Highland Wear or Black Evening Suits

OR

Smart Casual

BEST MAN DUTIES

Best man duties include looking after the groom before, during and after the wedding. Duties also include organizing the hires of outfits for the groomsmen. This includes fittings, collection and return of hires, etc.

FURTHER HELP AND INFO

Ken and Ewan MacDonald

Owner of Houston’s Ken MacDonald has had his own kilt for over 30 years and it is well maintained due proper care and storage. 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/